The Couch Slouch

Tale of the tape: Tom Brady vs. the Slouch

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I often daydream about Tom Brady.

Yes, I am obsessed with TB12. Why wouldn't I be? Who am I going to obsess over during this pandemic, Jay Cutler?

So The Greatest Quarterback Who Ever Lived finishes his unparalleled two decades as a New England Patriot and now decides to spend his next two NFL decades as a Tampa Bay Buccaneer. He's in Tampa for, oh, 15 minutes, and already…

-- While working out in a park, he gets ejected because he is violating its coronavirus closure, but he receives an apology from Mayor Jane Castor.

-- He tries to visit Buccaneers offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich's house and mistakenly walks into his next-door neighbor's home, then an NFL probe determines Brady did not violate the league's offseason work rules.

-- An auction to benefit coronavirus food needs nets a $800,000 bid for four tickets to Brady's first Buccaneers home game, his jersey and cleats from that game and dinner with Titanic Tom.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: Nothing bad ever happens to this guy. The sun shines on him nearly 24-7, and even when it rains, he walks between the drops.

What a 21st century for this guy – the tuck rule leads to his first Super Bowl title; he impregnates his girlfriend, a model, then before the birth of their first child, moves on to a supermodel; he has a season-ending knee injury in 2008, but hasn't been touched on or off the field since; he overcomes both Spygate and Deflategate for six championships total.

Meanwhile…

In one of the freakish oddities of my checkered life, Brady and I shared the same agent for 17 years – I am not making this up – and in that period of time, TB12 earned about $225 million in NFL contracts and I earned less than $50,000 in deals our rep brought to me. Essentially, we are a latter-day Henry and Tommie Aaron: together, the brothers combined for 768 home runs; together, TB12 and I combined for almost $225.1 million in salary.

(Column Intermission: Speaking of Jay Cutler, the longtime Chicago Bears quarterback and Kristin Cavallari are getting a divorce. I guess she finally looked at his NFL stats.)

The fact of the matter is, in just about every walk of life, Brady outdistances Couch Slouch.

He played football, basketball and football in high school. I played ping pong, pinball and hooky.

He graduated from Michigan with a general studies degree. I graduated from Maryland with an American studies degree. America is a big subject, but "general" is even bigger, no?

He was lightly regarded in his field coming out of college as a sixth-round pick. I have been lightly regarded in my field till this very day.

He has won three NFL most valuable player awards. I took first place in the 2005 U.S. Bowler Writing Competition in the "editorial" category.

He's played himself in "The Simpsons," "Family Guy" and "Entourage." I played myself in the 2005 ESPN drama "Tilt." Note: 2005 was a BIG year for me.

He advocates drinking 1/32nd of one's body weight in water each day. I buy Orange Crush by the keg.

He is friends with President Trump. I voted for Ralph Nader in 2000.

He favors Transcendental Meditation. I close my eyes when "Jimmy Kimmel Live!" comes on.

He launched his own line of vegan snacks. I eat Fritos and Bugles.

He is quarantining in Derek Jeter's 30,000-square-foot home that he's renting. I am quarantining in my 1,300-square-foot home that my bank owns.

He has had endorsement deals with Aston Martin, Beautyrest, Cadillac, Foot Locker, Glaceau Smartwater, IWC watches, Nike, Sam Adams, Tag Heuer watches, Ugg footwear, Under Armour, Upper Deck, Visa and Wheaties. I give unpaid plugs to Yuengling in this column.

His book, "The TB12 Method: How to Achieve a Lifetime of Sustained Peak Performance," reached No. 1 on the New York Times' best-seller list. My book, "Hold On, Honey, I'll Take You to the Hospital at Halftime," can occasionally be found at yard sales.

On the other hand, he's only been married once. I got him there.

Ask The Slouch

Q. Now that POTUS has suggested injections of disinfectant and UV rays, is Barry Bonds on his way to Cooperstown? (Malcolm Wilson; Kensington, Md.)

A. Pay the man, Shirley.

Q. How many episodes of "The Last Dance" do we have to wade through before they get to Ickey Woods? (Steve McClemons; Arlington, Va.)

A. Pay the man, Shirley.

Q. Under the NCAA's student-athlete rule changes, can I buy my seats directly from a player and avoid the middleman mark-up? (Steve Smith; Potomac, Md.)

A. Pay the man, Shirley.

Q. Wait, wasn't the NFL's pass interference replay review supposed to take care of "contact tracing"? (Terry Golden; Vienna, Va.)

A. Pay the man, Shirley.

Q. Would it be worth $1.25 if I nominated you for the Noble Prize in poker? (Jeff Gold; Columbia, Md.)

A. Pay the man, Shirley.

Q. The Orioles are having a better year, don't you think? (Steve Owings; Spokane, Wash.)

A. Pay the man, Shirley.

You, too, can enter the $1.25 Ask The Slouch Cash Giveaway. Just email asktheslouch@aol.com and, if your question is used, you win $1.25 in cash!


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College football needs to call a timeout on the 2020 season.

The Big Ten and Pac-12 are set to announce, maybe today, perhaps in a few weeks, whether they will play football this fall.

Already the Ivy League, Mountain West and Mid-American Conference have canceled their fall football season for health and safety reasons amid the coronavirus pandemic. The Power 5 conferences – the Big Ten, Pac-12, Atlantic Coast Conference, Big 12 and Southeastern Conference – should get onboard and put their football seasons on hold, too.

While some elected officials without medical degrees say that coronavirus amounts to little more than sniffles for young people, healthcare experts argue that college-age people, while they do recover quickly and may not exhibit symptoms, do contract and spread the virus.

There has been a 90 percent increase of young people testing positive for the virus in the past four weeks. More important, health experts say they can't measure the long-term effects of the virus, which may include brain damage, heart disease and reduced lung capacity.

There is a simple solution to play or not play college football this fall – postpone the season to next spring, when health experts will know more about the disease. There possibly could be a vaccine by then, which would allow fans back in stadiums.

Many high-profile college players and coaches weighed in on the debate Monday, almost unanimously saying that the 2020 football schedule should be played on schedule, starting in a few weeks.

Players, including Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence and Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields, adopted the hashtag #WeWantToPlay. In a tweet, Lawrence said that players would be more at risk for coronavirus if the fall season doesn't move forward. "We are more likely to get the virus in everyday life than playing football."

Lawrence added that, if the football season is canceled or postponed, players "will be sent home to their own communities where social distancing is highly unlikely."

Alabama coach Nick Saban told ESPN, "Look, players are a lot safer with us than they are running around at home."

Two points: University presidents should listen to only one group of people – healthcare professionals – when they decide whether to cancel or postpone the fall football season. Yes, players want to play during this pandemic. But players also want to play when they are injured or their brain was just scrambled by a vicious tackle. We applaud athletes who play with a broken leg. We see players with concussions plead with their coaches to put them back in the game.

As for the argument that players are more likely to catch the virus if they're sent home – who's sending them home? These are student-athletes. Students. Most college campuses will be open with students attending classes this fall. Major college programs like Clemson have 85 full scholarships designated for football. Colleges won't take away players' scholarships if the football season is canceled. Clemson's campus will open Sept. 21 for in-person classes.

ESPN college football analyst Greg McElroy also said the season should be played as scheduled: "If they're (players) OK, then I'm OK." Texas governor Greg Abbott chimed in on the players' side. He said, "It's their careers, it's their health."

What "careers" is he talking about? There are about 775 colleges that play football. Only 1.7 percent of all those players will play in the NFL or another professional league. On Sept. 3, Rice University will play Army. It is unlikely that any of those players will have a career in football. However, given the excellence of academics at those colleges, players will have career opportunities in something other than football. The average NFL career is 2-1/2 years. Rice and Army grads can top that.

The NBA is completing its season in a bubble in Orlando, with players confined to their hotels between games. Only 22 teams are in Orlando for the lockdown. The Rockets organization sent about 35 people, including coaches, players and essential personnel to Orlando.

Baseball is playing its season outside a bubble. So many players are testing positive for coronavirus that MLB commissioner Rob Manfred last week threatened to end the season if teams don't do a better job of enforcing the league's health protocol. What's left is an unbalanced season. For example, the Atlanta Braves and Seattle Mariners have played 18 games, while the St. Louis Cardinals have played only five games. The ironically first-place Miami Marlins, which had 18 players test positive, have played only 10 games.

College football can't be played in a bubble. There are too many teams, with some having more than 100 players and 20 coaches. And no sport thrives on fans' excitement and marching bands like college football. Several colleges, including the University of Texas and Texas A&M, have stadiums that hold more than 100,000 fans. Even if college football could be played in a bubble, it would require isolating players from August to January, when they're supposed to be in class. I know … supposed.

This one is easy. For the health and safety of players, play the fall 2020 season in spring 2021.

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