New England Patriots

Alex Smith rips Brady's comments about ‘mediocrity' in today's NFL

"He played in the most uncompetitive division in NFL history."

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Former New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady raised eyebrows last week when he criticized the quality of play in today's NFL.

Brady, who retired after the 2022 season, voiced his harsh opinion of the current state of the league during an appearance on The Stephen A. Smith Show.

"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. I don't think the schemes are as good as they were. 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."

Those remarks didn't sit well with fellow ex-NFL QB Alex Smith, who picked apart the seven-time Super Bowl champion's critiques during ESPN's Sunday NFL Countdown.

"First off, he hasn't been retired that long. He was just playing," Smith said. "Like, he just won a Super Bowl in the current game. Is he discounting that one?"

Smith also brought up -- in front of Brady's ex-teammates Randy Moss and Tedy Bruschi, and former New York Jets and Buffalo Bills coach Rex Ryan -- that Brady benefited from playing in an awful AFC East for most of his career.

"My biggest complaint with this -- and no offense to all three of you guys -- he played in the most uncompetitive division in NFL history," he added. "You come out of training camp, the biggest cupcake division, you got a ticket to the playoffs right away. Like, talk about mediocre.

"I completely disagree with this. I know he's referencing the rule changes over the middle to the receiver, but in my opinion, I think the game’s gotten better. There’s more parity across the league, quarterback play is at an all-time high I think across the league. You’ve got the best athletes playing the position. We didn’t have this 30, 40 years ago. He’s referencing also that offense is down, right? Like, the numbers this year. To me, I kinda think we’re in a golden age of D-linemen.”

You can watch the full clip below:

Much to Rex Ryan's chagrin, Smith makes some valid points. Brady experienced far worse than mediocrity while playing in the abysmal AFC East. Today's NFL -- albeit changed by rules that some would argue have made the game softer -- is filled with incredible talent on both sides of the ball.

Plus, some of the rule changes Brady criticizes are the same ones he helped to implement. In 2009, the NFL introduced the "Brady Rule" which outlawed defensive players from tackling QBs below the knees. Nowadays, it seems defenders can't take down the quarterback without risking a "roughing the passer" penalty.

Brady's most recent Super Bowl title -- in 2020 with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers -- was won under current NFL rules. That's why Smith, while admitting Brady was "the GOAT," considered his comments to be hypocritical.

Smith isn't the only former NFL player to make it known they disagree with Brady's comments. Hall-of-Fame wide receiver Randy Moss and Detroit Lions legend Barry Sanders also took issue with the Patriots legend's take.

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