- Covered the Buccaneers since 2009
- Joined ESPN in 2016
TAMPA, Fla. — In one swift tweet Monday congratulating the Los Angeles Lakers’ LeBron James on his fourth NBA title and NBA Finals MVP award, Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady managed to:
Make fun of his fourth-down gaffe from Thursday night
Respond to Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Chase Claypool’s troll job from Sunday
Show off his social media team’s stellar photoshop skills
Remind all of us that, in the midst of celebrating James’ greatness, he too has four Super Bowl MVP awards, and six rings
Let’s unpack it all to understand why this was so well-played:
On Thursday night against the Chicago Bears, Brady’s first prime-time game in a Buccaneers uniform, and trailing 20-19, Brady appeared to lose track of what down it was. After tight end Cam Brate couldn’t grab hold of a well-covered fourth-down pass, and the Bears’ offense headed back onto the field, Brady turned to an official puzzled and held up four fingers.
Brady was asked twice after the game if he was aware that it was fourth down, and while he never directly answered the question, he admitted that they were up against the clock and “I knew we had to gain a chunk, so I should have been thinking more first down instead of chunk in that situation,” he said.
Naturally, Brady got the meme treatment, with jokes centered around his move to Florida and having a “senior moment.”
Fast-forward to Sunday, and Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Chase Claypool had an epic four-touchdown performance. To celebrate, he flashed four fingers with a bewildered gaze, and tweeted a captionless photo to commemorate the achievement.
Then, of course, Sunday night, James put up 28 points, 14 rebounds and 10 assists in Game 6 to defeat the Miami Heat 106-93, surpassing Shaquille O’Neal, Tim Duncan and Magic Johnson for second-most NBA Finals MVP awards in history (Michael Jordan has six). And like Brady, James, at 35, continues to hear that he too is “old and washed up.”
So Brady assembled the tweet, with James’ face on his body holding up four fingers. “Congrats to my brother @KingJames on winning his 4th championship. Not bad for a washed up old guy!” Brady said.
After Brady’s incident Thursday night — which sent him to the bench so irate that he repeatedly slammed his helmet into the ground — it’s good to see that Brady has not only moved on, but can laugh at himself, too.
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