Marc Daniels: Brady, Brees, Urban And.....Chad Henne?


Divisional Round - Tampa Bay Buccaneers v New Orleans Saints

The video says so much. By now most of you have seen it(or you can online). The video of Tom Brady talking to Drew Brees long after the Bucs beat the Saints to advance to the NFC Championship Game. The video shows two of the greatest to do what they do conversing. It shows Brady embracing Drew Brees' wife and then throwing a pass into the end zone to one of Brees' sons. We don't hear what was said but we can have a pretty good idea.

If Sunday was the final game of the career of Drew Brees, it will be a hard game to end his journey with. He threw for just 134 yards and tossed three interceptions and there were moments where even Brees would admit it looked like it should be his final game. But that moment after the game where the crowd is gone and no media can hear, two legends share a few minutes. Both know how hard it is to play at the age they play. Both know the record book is plastered with their name and likely will be for decades to come. Both know they play a violent sport where most players don't get the chance to leave on their own. 

If Brees played his final game a broadcast booth and rich contract awaits. But he also knows it will not be the same. It will not be that feeling he has every Sunday to get up and do something you love and all the benefits that come with it. In the coming days the decision will become clearer for Brees but it doesn't make Sunday any easier. Few get to end their journey the way they envision it to end....unless you are Tom Brady...

The greatest quarterback of all-time is a step closer to a seventh championship. As I wrote here last week, Brady's last act of greatness would be to beat Brees, Rodgers and perhaps Mahomes and sail into the Gulf of Mexico sunset. Brady is headed to his 14th conference title game. His 14th! He didn't throw for 400 yards against the Saints but he was efficient and let the Bucs' defense take over. And when the game ended, Tom Brady was the guy left standing and headed one step closer to leading the Bucs to a Super Bowl in their hometown. 

He is everything the Bucs wanted when they signed him. He has played better than anyone has ever played the position at the age of 43. He has been a leader in the locker room for younger players and has made the Bucs relevant after years of being off the radar. 

Now Brady will take his new team to Green Bay where Aaron Rodgers and the Packers await. It needs to be this way. It needs to be at Green Bay in the cold and it needs to be against Rodgers. If Rodgers wins, we will wonder if that is it for Brady. If Brady wins, we will knock Rodgers for a career that still has one title but we will, or at least should, marvel at what Brady is doing. The greatest quarterback ever may be performing his great act in the final scene of a career never to be matched...

Urban Meyer won the press conference Friday in Jacksonville because Urban Meyer will always win a press conference. He said all the cliches about winning, attitude, effort, passion and energy. Meyer now is in the process of hiring a staff and then will begin to build his team. He talked about why he took a job for a 1-15 team but believed he can win and win quickly. Meyer even admitted that having the number one pick in the draft was a big reason he took the step back into coaching. Then Urban dropped a little nugget by saying "whether it's Trevor(Lawrence), Justin(Fields) or Zach(Wilson) taking snaps". I guess that ends the Gardner Minshew era with the Jags. But Meyer wants to have you guessing a little about who the team will take but he also made it clear the pick is not for sale. But don't be fooled. The pick will be Trevor Lawrence.

But Meyer talked about how he has been studying the NFL and talking to people like Jimmy Johnson(who I wrote about here and talked about on the radio show how eerily similar the career paths of these two are). Meyer has watched the evolution of offense in the NFL. He has seen how Lamar Jackson, Kyler Murray and Patrick Mahomes have made teams change their playbook to use the quarterback as more than a passer. That's been Meyer's offense at the college level his entire career. It's why he sees Trevor Lawrence as the bridge from 1-15 to the playoffs quickly. 

Meyer will hire a good staff. He will convince his players they can win quickly. He will energize a fan base. But Meyer gets the keys to the Jaguars' car. Can he turn it from a broken down piece of chunk into a Jaguar that can go from 0 to 100 in seconds(see what I did there?)...

The greatest thing about sports is the element of the unknown. Hollywood writes scripts that are obvious most of the time. But sports deliver the unthinkable. And that's why Chad Henne and his role in the Chiefs win is the beauty of sports. Henne's career as a starter is 18-36. Before starting the week 17 game for Kansas City because the team had wrapped up the one seed in the AFC, the last start for Henne came in 2014. Henne lost all three starts that season. His last win as a starter was with the Jags in 2013. Heck, Henne didn't play in 2019. He appeared in two blowout wins earlier this season in mop-up roles late in the game. And even during this season, Chad Henne likely thought he would never get a chance to make a play that could impact the Chiefs chances of winning another Super Bowl. How could he think that? After all, the Chiefs have Patrick Mahomes. 

But that moment came on Sunday on a fourth-and-one that will be one of the greatest plays in franchise history if the Chiefs go on and win another title. Henne ran on third-and 14 and almost got a first down after taking a costly sack on second down. And no one, not even Tony Romo, thought the Chiefs would run a play on fourth down, let alone throw a pass. But that's sports. And it's a moment that a 35-year old journeyman will have forever...unless he has to play this week if Mahomes is not cleared. And if the Chiefs lose, Henne will be blamed for everything because....that's sports...

Final thought: Did you know NFL refs get Super Bowl rings? It's the same ring as the winning team but the league gives the entire crew a ring commemorating the game they worked. 

Photo Credit: Getty Images


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