ATLANTA – Here at the Super Bowl there are about a million reporters, talk-show hosts and general opinionators with nothing to do but hit Waffle Houses and discuss the possibility of a snowstorm Tuesday (well sort of, it might snow just an inch).
And so when Los Angeles Rams cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman, fresh off becoming famous for not getting called for pass interference in the NFC title game, tells Tyler Dunne of Bleacher Report that Tom Brady might be a little old, well, here comes the tidal wave.
It’s Super Bowl week and someone is trash-talking New England quarterback Tom Brady (well, sort of; he actually was pretty complimentary). The attention, heat and hand-wringing is sure to follow. What else is the media here for?
“Age has definitely taken a toll,” said Robey-Coleman, who played in Buffalo from 2013-16 and knows Brady’s game well. “For him to still be doing it, that’s a great compliment for him. But I think that he’s definitely not the same quarterback he was.
“Movement. Speed. Velocity. Arm strength. He still can sling it, but he’s not slinging it as much,” Robey-Coleman continued. “Whatever he was doing — because of his age and all that — he’s not doing as much of that anymore. He’s still doing the same things; he’s just not doing as much of it. And sometimes, it’s not the sharpest. But it still gets done.”
Again, this is hardly mean and is probably quite accurate. It stands to reason even Brady agrees with it. He’s 41 now. When he first played Robey-Coleman he was 36. His game is slightly different.
Of course, Brady and the Pats went 6-2 against those Bills teams and one of the losses was an end of the regular-season contest that carried no weight so Brady played only half the game.
This is Super Bowl week so context doesn’t matter and Robey-Coleman is well aware of that. He said what he said because he wanted to say it. Let the chips fall as they may.
Within minutes of the story posting, Skip Bayless was on Twitter promising some big television segment on it and Robey-Coleman was retweeting it.
He isn’t hiding.
And that is why if you’re the Rams you don’t get upset that Robey-Coleman decided to call out the greatest quarterback of all time as he plays in his ninth Super Bowl. You applaud it.
Start with this, a cornerback making the above comments about Brady is not going to suddenly motivate Tom Brady to prepare for the game or care about the game or win the game.
This is Tom Brady. He always prepares and cares and wins (well, almost). Have you met this guy? He eats kale salads and makes sure to get to bed by 8 p.m. in the middle of March after spending a day of vacation throwing passes to Julian Edelman at his secluded ranch in Montana because it might give him enough of an edge in some hypothetical Super Bowl.
It’s not like he was going to roll into kickoff hungover or something.
Brady cares as much about winning football games as anyone who has ever played. If not, he wouldn’t still be playing all these years later.
Brady sometimes leans on common motivational ploys — he reveled in being considered an underdog during these playoffs, likes being called “too old” and for years was obsessed about where he went in the draft.
Much of that is an act. An opponent can’t motivate Tom Brady. Maybe for some early morning conditioning session, but not this week with the Lombardi Trophy on the line.
Then there is this: would it have helped if Robey-Coleman had just kissed up to Brady and lavished him with praise?
Lots and lots of cornerbacks and defenses and entire teams have tried that act. It’s Mr. Brady this. Mr. Brady that. Brady keeps winning and winning and winning.
There is no clear corollary between being nice to Brady and Brady being nice to you. He might like and respect the heck out of you, but if he has to gut you to win, he’ll gut you to win.
The minimal impact on Brady’s motivation is far outweighed by the potential major impact of Robey-Coleman being true to his personality and boldly throwing the Rams into this mix.
L.A. is here to win a ring, not kiss TB12’s. Deal with it.
This is Robey-Coleman. This is the only way he survives. He is a 5-foot-8, 180-pound cornerback who has to convince himself that he can play at this level and then prove to everyone else that he was right. He routinely begs to cover bigger and stronger receivers. He hits a ton of bricks. He calls himself the “Slot God” only because he thought, per the Bleacher Report story, that “Robey Island” not only was a copy of Darrelle Revis but doesn’t speak to all he brings to the game.
The dude is all about attitude. If this is going to work for the Rams, they’ll need it, no matter how Robey-Coleman’s comments are, at times absurd, nonsensical and just silly.
“Stick a dagger in them,” Robey-Coleman is describing how to defeat New England. “They’re not a team that you want to play around with. Stick the dagger in them and don’t leave it in them! Take it out! And let them leak. Let them leak slow. Put the dagger in them, pull it out, and let them leak slow. Just kill ’em slowly. That’s how you do them.”
It does not matter. He was on a roll. He’s coming to play. Maybe he gets the better of Brady or maybe Brady gets the better of him or maybe he gets called for pass interference this time (Bet.Online.AG has “yes” at +210).
“Don’t fear, don’t fear, don’t fear beating the giant,” Robey-Coleman said. “Don’t fear beating the GOAT. Don’t fear it. Embrace it. Embrace it.”
He isn’t wrong, no matter the avalanche of criticism coming his way.
More from Yahoo Sports:
• Saints player still upset: His Pro Bowl shirt says it all
• Golfer loses nearly $100K for questionable penalty
• Funny ending to rain-soaked, blooper-filled Pro Bowl
• Reigning MVP backs out of White House visit