The Couch Slouch

When it comes to old NFL quarterbacks, one of these things is not like the other

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It is the golden age of golden oldies among NFL quarterbacks.

Week 1 saw seven starting quarterbacks aged 35 or older:

Tom Brady, 42, Patriots; Drew Brees, 40, Saints; Eli Manning, 38, Giants; Philip Rivers, 37, Chargers; Ben Roethsliberger, 37, Steelers; Aaron Rodgers, 35, Packers, and, somehow, Ryan Fitzpatrick, 36, Dolphins.

That is a lot of Super Bowl champions and future Hall of Famers, plus, somehow, Ryan Fitzpatrick.

Of the seven, five of them remarkably have played for only one team, Brees has played for two teams and, then, somehow, there is Ryan Fitzpatrick, who started for his record eighth NFL team on Sunday.

Fitzgerald's rap sheet: Two seasons in St. Louis, two in Cincinnati, four in Buffalo, one in Tennessee, one in Houston, two with the New York Jets, two in Tampa Bay and, now, his first season in Miami.

He has a U-Haul Premier Rewards Card.

As a starter, Fitzgerald is 50-75-1, with a career passer rating of 81.1.

Which came first?

He's the classic chicken-and-egg signal-caller: Did he just happen to play on a lot of bad teams, or did they become bad teams because he was their quarterback?

Okay, let's not dwell on the paranormal, let's deal with the wonder of Brady and Brees.

Brady came into the NFL in 2000, Brees in 2001; both sat on the bench their first year.

Going into this season, their individual stats are history-shattering and eerily similar.

Brady: 97.6 passer rating, 517 touchdowns, 171 interceptions, 70,514 yards, 7.5 yards per attempt, 64.0 percent completion rate, 44 game-winning drives in 267 starts.

Brees: 97.7 passer rating, 520 touchdowns, 233 interceptions, 74,437 yards, 7.6 yards per attempt, 67.3 percent completion rate, 48 game-winning drives in 263 starts.

The biggest divide – one is an all-timer, the other a mere Hall of Famer – is win-loss record. Brady, playing with better teams, is 207-60 as a starter; Brees is 155-108. In the postseason, Brady is 30-10, with six Super Bowl championships; Brees is 8-7, with one title.

Maybe those numbers will flip over the next 20 years, as both are intent on playing forever.

No stopping us now

(My sources – and, yes, I play racquetball with Gisele Bundchen every Tuesday – tell me Brady is never going to retire. He's talked about playing until he's 45, and when he reaches 45, he'll talk about playing to 50 and so on. I saw his Franklin Planner: He has a series of TB12 diets penciled in until 2044, and, in the autumn, it always lists Sunday as "game day.")

Heck, if you're the lead singer in the band, who wants to give that up? There's a reason that Jon Bon Jovi, Roger Daltrey, Mick Jagger, Axl Rose, David Lee Roth, Steven Tyler and Bruce Springsteen keep strutting across stages into their 50s, 60s and 70s. Why wouldn't 40-something phenoms like Brady and Brees keep suiting up?

Dream job

Then there's Josh McCown.

The career journeyman – 23-53 record, 79.7 passer rating – spent his first four seasons, 2002-05, with the Cardinals. Then he bounced around to nine other teams – he seldom overstayed his welcome – and even was out of the league in 2010. One of the teams he played for, the 49ers, signed him on Aug. 17, 2011 and released him on Sept 3, 2011; that's not even one laundry cycle.

McCown retired after the 2018 season and joined ESPN. But then the Eagles called him and, at age 40, McCown has un-retired to back up Carson Wentz.

And it gets better.

He has Fridays off!

The Eagles agreed to let McCown fly back to Charlotte, N.C., every weekend to help coach his two sons' high school football team.

(Two ways to look at this – 1. That's how badly the Eagles wanted McCown. 2. That's how much they don't need McCown; for all we know, they might've agreed to a contract clause that lets him take a 10-day Carnival Cruise once a month.)

Here's my dream: Later this season, with different teams than they currently play for, Josh McCown replaces Ryan Fitzpatrick.

Ask the Slouch

Q. Andrew Luck walked away from $50 million, but his body was hurting. Antonio Brown's mind must've been hurting if he walked away from $30 million, no? (Scott Parker; Houston)

A. Actually, I think Brown is smarter than he looks here, or did you never listen to Mike Mayock's NFL telecasts?

Q. My son — born and raised in Silver Spring — has just moved to Los Angeles. Is there any hope for the lad? (Ken Giglio; Silver Spring, Md.)

A. Tell him to look me up when he gets out here. Of course, I won't get back to him; this will be his first L.A. lesson.

Q. Just Fresca? What happened to Yuengling? (Levi Goldfarb; Temple Hills, Md.)

A. Just because I drink Fresca doesn't mean I no longer drink Yuengling. Similarly, just because I dislike the Patriots doesn't mean I no longer dislike the Raiders.

Q. Since so many viewers have already turned off the volume on "Sunday Night Baseball," does ESPN keep showing the announcers on camera to justify the expense? (Mike Soper; Washington, D.C.)

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!

Deshaun Watson had an up and down day. Tim Warner/Getty Images

So what does Bill O'Brien have in store for a Sunday encore in the clock management follies department? All's well that ends well for the Texans if another Billy Botch episode comes with another win. Get it and home games vs. the Panthers and Falcons make 4-1 a very legit possibility.

The Texans have a good shot to get the win in Los Angeles Sunday. They may have half the crowd rooting for them. The Chargers have the lamest homefield advantage in the NFL. L.A. has largely yawned at them since their move up the coast from San Diego. In their home opener the Chargers couldn't sell out the 27,000 seat soccer stadium serving as their temporary facility. Next season they move into the monument of wow and greed they'll share with the Rams. That place will hold about 70,000.

On the field it's a big game for the also 1-1 Chargers if they hope to hang with Kansas City in the AFC West race. The Chargers' three following games are at the joke Dolphins, then home vs. the not good Broncos and the Roethlisberger-less Steelers.

For the Texans, one major subplot is a constant. How porous will the offensive line be? Deshaun Watson has been sacked 10 times over the first two games. The Chargers have one of the NFL's better pass rushing duos in Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram. If the Texans can protect, opportunity knocks for big plays downfield with the Chargers down both of their starting safeties. Rookie All-Pro Derwin James is on injured reserve recovering from a broken foot, Adrian Phillips broke an arm last Sunday at Detroit.

Warm California sun

So if you were 300 strikeout man Gerrit Cole, what would you be thinking about re: 2020 and beyond? I mean after next month ideally helping the Astros win the World Series. And if you are the Astros what are you thinking?

In his two Astro seasons Cole has been tremendous. The ballclub is tremendous, and if Cole re-signs it that much more figures to stay tremendous for at least another couple of seasons. But Gerrit Cole is to become the most highly coveted free agent on the market. The low end of what he should be able to command is probably in the six years 150 million range. Heck, he could get seven years 250 million.

Next year the Astros payroll is set to soar into competitive balance tax territory. Meaning, in addition to the payroll itself, the Astros are looking at paying millions in penalties if they pay up to keep Cole. To counter that the Astros certainly could pivot and trade Zack Greinke. They basically will be open to giving away Josh Reddick and the 13 million he'll make in the final year of his contract.

Maybe Jim Crane and his partners say this is such a special era, we'll forego huge chunks of profits to keep this core together. That would be fantastic, but drawing a line on how far they'll go to keep Cole would not be miserly. Long term megadollar pitching contracts carry large risks. Cole turns 30 next season.

Cole grew up in Southern California. His wife too. It's where they live in the offseason. He went to high school under five miles from Angels Stadium and grew up an Angels fan. The Angels have a desperate need for starting pitching. Even with Cole though, the Angels can't essentially promise perennial contender status. But the Dodgers can, every bit as much as the Astros, and the Dodgers have much deeper pockets. If the Coles want to spend the rest of Gerrit's prime pitching years living year-round back home in SoCal, no one should take offense. Still, if the Astros’ bid is competitive when factoring in income tax rates, proven comfort level with the team, air conditioned comfort for home games…

Big weekend for Aggies

Better college football schedule this week after the garbage card of a week ago. The biggest game nationally is seventh ranked Notre Dame at number three Georgia. Big game for Texas A&M vs. Auburn at Kyle Field Saturday. The 17th ranked Aggies are three and a half point favorites over the eighth ranked team in the nation. A hard fought loss wouldn't be shameful, but would mean that with games yet to come vs. Alabama, at Georgia, and at LSU, the Ags would have to pull off at least one upset to finish better than 7-5. 75 million dollars to lure Jimbo Fisher were not spent to yield any 7-5 seasons.

Buzzer Beaters:

1. Major Applewhite would have coached the Cougars to a 1-3 start much more economically for UH than Dana Holgorsen has. 2. The Tulane Green Wave wearing powder blue uniforms is just as dopey as the St. John's Red Storm and Duke Blue Devils wearing black. 3. Names that Houstonians should rule out for daughters: Bronze-Imelda Silver-Allison Gold-Alicia

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