May 22, 2020
By: Martin Fennelly
It’s a new day in Tampa Bay.
Super Bowl, here we come!
Move over, Pound the Rock! Make way for Dry the Cheeks!
We knew Tom Brady was going to change the Bucs, put them back on the road to greatness, revamping this flailing franchise from head to toe.
We just didn’t know he was going to start in the middle.
The GOAT had his little goats in the pasture early this week, working out with some of his new teammates on the field at Tampa Berkeley Prep high school. It was all copacetic, NFL wise, and social distancing was observed, seeing as Brady apparently threw very few five-foot passes.
It was a far cry from Brady’s mad-capped start here in Tampa Bay, when he was crashing closed city parks and people’s homes. This was more subdued, but just as exciting for Bucs fans – the idea of Brady, in a numberless orange jersey, tossing it around with his new teammates, including tight end Cameron Brate, as well as Mike Evans, Brady’s soon-to-be favorite-receiver not nicknamed Gronk.
But the real tipoff on what Tampa Bay and more precisely the Bucs are in for with this painstaking workaholic occurred when Brady took time, lots of time, to explain to center Ryan Jensen how to keep his butt dry, which we all know is at the heart of any great quarterback-center exchange and relationship.
Jensen, who weighs 319 pounds and reportedly began sweating profusely at birth, later took to social media to share Brady’s detailed instructions, which included a towel-folding demonstration. It went like this:
“First, you fold the towel once, then over itself again. Put it down your crack and douse in baby powder. No more ass sweat.”
Can’t you see Lombardi drawing that on the chalkboard at Packers training camp?
What we’re looking for is a seal here and a seal here …
Remember Terry Bradshaw’s exceptionally dry hands when he threw the ball that Franco Harris turned into the Immaculate Reception?
Not even Chucky Gruden thought this one up on the way to Super Bowl XXXVII.
Also, I’m telling you, if Brady doesn’t get a baby-powder commercial out of this, I’ll eat my cloth facemask.
There is a reason the greats are the greats. Who knows how many of Brady’s six Super Bowl rings are because of a dry butt? True, I wouldn’t discount Bill Belichick, Wes Welker, Julian Edelman, Randy Moss, those interchangeable running backs, the Patriots defense or, least of all, Adam Vinatieri’s right leg, but when you come right down to it, and stand behind it, and put your hands where few men dare, dry matters. Ask Cousin Tom.
Brady is already connecting with teammates, learning terminology, learning habits, learning lead times, all that stuff. And maybe they are getting to know him a little better, or in Jensen’s case, a lot better.
As we learned in his recent 10-part documentary, Michael Jordan, another GOAT, liked things just right, to the point of being a pain in the neck to teammates. If Brady sounds like a pain in the butt, well, when it comes to the details, he has earned that right. He is totally behind his centers, on every play. He just wants things right. Hey, it beats the last Bucs quarterback. Jameis Winston was finicky, too, always telling everybody where to sit in the Uber, right after I got shotgun!
Brady is just being smart. He knows his new home hasn’t even begun to heat up yet. Ryan Jensen and the butt he rode in on will be melted candle after a two-hour practice in July. And we haven’t even factored in the effects of global warming.
Nor have we factored in the arrival of Rob Gronkowski. Wait until he starts showing the boys how to fold their cocktail napkins just right. Coming off the top ring rope, no less.
Yes, the fun is just beginning for the Bucs.
Tom Brady is a headliner the likes of whom we have never seen around here. For instance, he’ll take part in a nationally televised charity golf event this weekend in Hobe Sound with Phil Mickelson against Tiger Woods and Peyton Manning at Tiger’s home club. It’s mindless fun. Woods will be grinding, deep down knowing that there will one day be another Masters. Mickelson, ever the Vegas high roller, will be looking for side skins. Manning, safely retired, will break everyone up. And Brady will tell them how to hold the flag as he tries an eight-foot putt.
Just fold it over, then hold it high.
ESPN, clearly riffing off Jordan and The Last Dance, will produce a nine-part Brady documentary next year. Freed from Planet Belichick, Brady might be ready to unwind while in Tampa Bay.
First things first.
Pass the baby powder.
Might as well fire the cannons. The championship season has begun.
Anybody who says different should kiss my butt.
Or at least dry it.