Ad Spot

COLUMN: NFL offseason providing a modicum of normalcy amongst unrest

It’s going to be incredibly bizarre to see Tom Brady in a uniform without that clunky Patriots logo on the helmet.

The 42-year-old New England Patriots veteran announced Tuesday morning on social media that he wouldn’t be returning to New England, leaving the team after 20 seasons that included six Super Bowl wins.

On any standard mid-March Tuesday of the past, Brady’s decision would be front page news (maybe not in Oxford, but nationally). In these weird times, it sort of faded already. Yet, like Bruce Willis taking a long drag of a cigarette in the midst of a Die Hard terrorist threat, Brady’s making a free agency decision in the midst of this chaos the only sense of normalcy we really have.

With the NCAA tournament shutting doors and the SEC seemingly getting closer and closer to punting the entire sports schedule, the NFL moved forward as normal on Monday with the start of the league new year. The NFL isn’t playing games, and they cancelled public events in Las Vegas ahead of next month’s draft.

However, free agency and standard early offseason operations can happen in small groups or behind closed doors – and the league moved forward as planned on Monday. Between the opening of the legal tampering period on Monday, and the time of publication, 66 different transactions happened across the league, including three major trades involving legitimate superstars.

The Carolina Panthers – my personal favorite – publicly announced they’re trying to trade Cam Newton. For about three hours on Tuesday morning, I had to struggle with the fact that Brady to Carolina was a possibility.

I grew up in a San Francisco 49ers household, thanks to my dad. Above the couch in our basement for as long as I can remember hung an autographed Joe Montana jersey – he was the GOAT, it was undisputed and sacrilegious to question it under my father’s roof. That jersey now hangs like a monument in my bedroom, on a wall adjacent to a black-and-white painting of the Christian Laettner shot in 1992 to beat Kentucky.

I remember the moment I finally accepted that Brady, not Montana, was the best quarterback of all time – sitting at a bar in San Francisco, ironically, during their 28-3 comeback in the Super Bowl. I remember having the conversation with my dad that Brady is actually better than Montana, finally admitting it despite my vitriol for the Patriots. Was I really going to root for that guy in Carolina?

We now know that Brady will not be in Carolina, as they signed Teddy Bridgewater to a three-year deal. So that brief thought quickly dissipated.

But here’s the point. I made it 486 words into a sports story without writing the words ‘Coronavirus’ or ‘COVID-19.’ On this Tuesday morning, writing from home of course, I watched nearly all of Get Up in the background on ESPN and now SportsCenter is on. It’s been a few hours now since I’ve seen them even mention the viral threat sweeping the globe.

In no way am I suggesting ignoring news about coronavirus. Knowing what’s happening – both locally, nationally and globally – on a day-to-day basis is as important as it’s literally ever been. I’m just a weird 25-year-old sports writer with a molecular and cellular biology degree. I’m as curious and fascinated and nervous about this threat as anyone.

It’s still good to have an escape. There’s no NCAA Tournament starting on Thursday, no SEC baseball, no 2020 Masters Tournament and honestly no live sports for a very long time. For a lot of us, those events are our escape from the toils and tribulations of daily life and in a time like now, you’d think we need them as much as anything. I mean come on, some online sportsbooks are offering the ability to gamble on the weather. Seriously.

So for now, the NFL offseason is all we have on the sports front. Through just a day and-a-half, it’s actually provided quite a bit of drama. DeAndre Hopkins and Stefon Diggs have been traded, and Amari Cooper got paid like a superstar. Cam Newton and Tom Brady will be wearing different uniforms at the start of 2020. It’s weird. But in one of the most surreal and unexpected times in over a decade, the NFL offseason is the closest thing we have to a modicum of normalcy.

News

Land development across Molly Barr to continue with planning

News

Oxford Police Department welcomes back UM students

Obituaries

Obit for George John Kakales

Obituaries

Obit Byron Carl “Billy” Ellzey

News

City of Oxford proposes amendment to vicious dog ordinance

Business

El Charro makes a comeback to Oxford

Education

Local doctor eases parents concerns for back to school

News

US Marshal’s recognize staff at Baptist Memorial-North Mississippi

Lafayette County

Census deadline shortened by one month

Lafayette County

Tannehill: Next state flag “will be the flag of our lifetime”

Education

Ole Miss student completes summer internship online

BREAKING NEWS

Oxford School District delays start of 2020-21 school year

Elections

Board of Supervisors approve additional funding for Election Day

News

Board of Aldermen vote to require masks outdoors

News

Former Oxford Mayor Richard Howorth removed from Tennessee Valley Authority Board

Education

Oxford and Lafayette County school districts approve budgets for upcoming year

News

Senator Hyde-Smith advocated for emergency training programs

Crime

Lafayette County man arrested for weapon possession by felon

News

Lafayette Man arrested on Hwy 6 for possession of weapon by a felon

News

Mildred Tidwell Jarrett Obituary

News

Mississippi college student dies after wakeboarding accident in Virginia

Education

UM Panhellenic Council’s 2020 recruitment to be held virtually for first three days.

Lafayette County

COVID-19 case total surpasses 800 in Lafayette County with 169 active

Events

Oxford Film Festival announces lineup for final two weeks of virtual fest