The retired quarterbacks are at odds with their assessments of the league
While on ESPN’s Sunday NFL Countdown, the former QB, 39, respectfully disagreed with his once-NFL rival Brady, 46 — who he called “the GOAT” — before diving into his own assessment of the league.
"He played in the most uncompetitive division in NFL history,” Smith, 39, argued on ESPN’s Sunday NFL Countdown. “I mean, you come out of training camp in the biggest cupcake division, you got a ticket to the playoffs right away. Like, talk about mediocre."
Smith also pointed out that Brady “hasn’t been retired that long,” and that he essentially won a Super Bowl amid the mediocrity.
Smith, a 16-season NFL veteran, also added that he actually likes the evolution of the league.
“I know he’s talking about the rule over the middle over the field to the receiver,” Smith said about Brady. “But in my opinion, the game has gotten better."
He continued, "There’s more parity across the league. Quarterback play is at an all-time high in the league. You’ve got the best athletes playing the position. We didn’t have this 30-40 years ago. And then, also he’s referencing offensive numbers are down. To me, I think we’re in a golden age of D-linemen."
Last week, Brady shared a somewhat different take while on The Stephen A. Smith Show, where he aired his grievances about the decline in the NFL’s "quality."
"I think there's a lot of mediocrity in today's NFL," Brady said. "I don't see the excellence that I saw in the past."
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He added, "I think the coaching isn't as good as it was. I don't think the development of young players is as good as it was.”
The seven-time Super Bowl champion also pointed the finger at "the rules" for having "allowed a lot of bad habits to get into the actual performance of the game," while speaking with Smith.
"I just think the product, in my opinion, is less than what it's been," Brady said.
As the iconic former quarterback adapts to his life in retirement, his Instagram post on Sunday showed that his football days with the University of Michigan and the New England Patriots are still frequently on his mind.
“I did Michigan and Massachusetts winters for a long time,” he wrote, alongside some idyllic images from a snorkeling trip with his kids. “Let me have this 😂🦞☀️.”
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