Tom Brady has been on the sidelines for nearly a full NFL season, and he is hating on what he has been watching on the field.
The seven-time Super Bowl winner appeared on “The Stephen A. Show” and took to task the “mediocrity” that he has seen in the NFL.
Tom Brady, #12 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, looks on during the first half against the Atlanta Falcons at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Jan. 8, 2023 in Atlanta. (Todd Kirkland/Getty Images)
“I think there’s a lot of mediocrity in today’s NFL. I don’t see the excellence that I saw in the past,” Brady said. “I think the coaching isn’t as good as it was. I don’t think the development of young players is as good as it was. The rules have allowed a lot of bad habits to get into the actual performance of the game. So, I just think the product in my opinion is less than what it’s been.”
Brady used an example of how defensive players are being regulated. He said the hits legends would have made when he played would have been penalized in today’s game.
New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft shakes hands with New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, right, during a ceremony honoring Brady at halftime of New England’s game against the Philadelphia Eagles at Gillette Stadium on Sept. 10, 2023 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
The former New England Patriots and Tampa Bay Buccaneers star said it is not up to the defensive player to protect offensive players. They should be taught how to protect themselves.
“I look at a lot of players like Ray Lewis and Rodney Harrison and Ronnie Lott and guys that impacted the game in a certain way and every hit they would have made would have been a penalty,” he said. “You hear coaches complaining about their own player being tackled and … why don’t they talk to their player about how to protect himself? We used to work on the fundamentals of those things all the time. Now they’re trying to be regulated all the time.
Down judge Jim Mello, #48, picks up a penalty flag during an NFL football game between the Buffalo Bills and the Las Vegas Raiders at Highmark Stadium on Sept. 17, 2023 in Orchard Park, New York. (Kevin Sabitus/Getty Images)
“Offensive players need to protect themselves. It’s not up to a defensive player to protect an offensive player. A defensive player needs to protect himself. I didn’t throw the ball to certain areas because I was afraid players were going to get knocked out. That’s the reality. I didn’t throw it to the middle when I played Ray Lewis because he’d knock them out of the game and I couldn’t afford to lose a good player.”
Last month, Brady also complained about NFL officiating in an episode of the “Let’s Go!” podcast – specifically unnecessary roughness calls.
“Some of the rule changes that have affected the game, unnecessary roughness calls and so forth, no one likes to see players get injured, but football’s a physical sport,” he said. “There’s a physical element to all of this. You throw a 15-yard flag for something that 20 years ago maybe wouldn’t have had a flag. That affects the game in a big way.”
Ryan Gaydos is a senior editor for Fox News Digital.