Why Would Brady Ever Retire Right Now?

So it’s currently my day off, which isn’t really true because I’m a journalist—a profession where there are no days off. The news doesn’t sleep and neither do I (I kinda do though), which is why I have to deliver that hard-hitting journalistic analysis that once earned me a half-hearted “good job today” from El Pres during Barstool’s Idol Week. 

Anyway, it also happens to be the Wednesday before the Super Bowl and I’m starting to get that annual tickle in the heart of my balls again. For those keeping score at home, this is Brady’s 9th Super Bowl trip, as well as mine. I’ve always said that a large portion of why the Patriots are so great is because their fans reciprocate that championship passion.

In other words, when the Pats eventually stomp out McVay & Friends this Sunday, I’ll officially have 6 Super Bowls under my belt. It’s a tough life to live because the weight is backbreaking, but I can take it—I’m a Patriots fan.

Anyway, for those who know me, I’m a genius. I very rarely bring this up because I’m incredibly humble, but being extraordinarily smart often allows me to predict the future. My brain is so large that I have developed the ability to predict particular things, even when I know what I predict is completely predicated on luck. That’s why they (me) call me Joestradamus.

Anyway, I have a buddy in one of my group chats who’s your textbook fraud. Spent Weeks 6-15 talking about how the Patriots are done and Brady’s over the hill; spent the last month talking about how none of that was true and Brady is actually still good; therefore, he’ll win this year and retire.

Now, normally I would dig a little deeper at such a 180-degree opinion change, but you know what? I’m used to this stuff by now…

People outside of New England love to make their little comments. They crouch amidst the brush, awaiting to pounce like a ravenous cobra whenever Belichick or Brady indicate even the slightest evidence that they may not have been forged by the Gods.

Then, when the foundation of their opinion crumbles to dust, it’s as if they never said anything to begin with. However, this time, I have him in the corner.

When my buddy changed his opinion for seemingly the 30th time this season, he committed the Cardinal sin of sports journalism these days: he finally said Brady would retire.

Obviously, since I’m a genius, I said that wouldn’t happen and, wouldn’t ya know? Brady said there’s a 0% chance that would happen earlier in the week. Now, I’m not saying I’m always right but there’s a zero percent I’m ever wrong.

Because although everyone in the world thinks Brady should retire, it doesn’t really make sense to me…

First and foremost, for a guy like Brady, competition gets your rocks off. He’s never been highly athletic, however, if there’s room to compete, he’ll sink his teeth into that real estate. The reason most guys like that ever retire is because, well, they just can’t do it anymore.

Am I going to sit here and suggest Brady has shown zero signs of aging? No. But am I going to sit here and suggest a cliff’s coming? No.

Brady’s performance against the Chargers was nothing short of immaculate and what he was able to accomplish against the Chiefs in the final 5 minutes two Sundays ago was intoxicating to say the least.

Not to mention, isn’t the position that Brady’s in right now the reason you play the game? Whether it’s sports or business or whatever, you engage in that industry so that one day, you can reach a position of upmost respect and expertise.

Tom Brady’s already considered the greatest quarterback of all time. That respect is not only reciprocated by those he shares a locker room with, but also, those he shares the field with. Such a palpable level of respect is literally what you spend an entire career longing to achieve.

The guy’s been doing it long enough that he’s seen seemingly every coverage, as well as every situation. The game slows down for him at this point. He’s never had to use his legs much and everyone knows that those are the first to go. You hear enough interviews of former quarterbacks and the one thing they all seem to express is that they still have the gun. It’s the trunk that goes before the branches, and as I said, Brady’s never needed it anyway.

Essentially, when it’s all said and done, Brady has complete control. When you start to lose that control, it’s most often due to a regression in play; if you haven’t displayed any evidence of that, what’s the point of walking away? This is paradise…

I Went To A Smoothie Bar And Wrote This Terrible Blog…

Okay, so it’s Saturday and I feel great, which feels weird. Considering the Patriots are well on their way to a Super Bowl for a NINTH time since the millennium broke, I thought it would be a good time to start pledging my allegiance to Tom Brady in more ways than not.

Last year, I bought the TB12 Method book and, let me tell you, I’ve never gazed upon a more preposterous load of garbage in my life. Every recipe in that entire book is nearly impossible to make. Even the simplest shake option requires something like Araguaney tree bark from the jungles of Venezuela to accomplish.

In other words, there’s absolutely no chance I’m going through with that; however, just because I refuse to follow in Brady’s steps, doesn’t mean I can’t be healthy. Introducing the New and Improved Joey Boats Method…

Formally, the Joey Boats Method was essentially as follows: Drowning in bottom-shelf vodka while walloping in a hopeless spiral of Bugles and regret. Now, the Joey Boats method consists of, well, just not being a complete shithead during all hours of the day.

In order to do so, I need to make sacrifices. One of those sacrifices is taking a weekend off or two, so last night, I decided to stay in. Instead of burying myself in a box of shitty, late night pizza, I laid in bed and watched a series of documentaries on serial killers because that stuff revs my engine. I always felt to be great at what you want in life, you need to study the greats, which is why i spent two hours reading up/watching this new Netflix documentary on Ted Bundy.

So yeah, I woke up fresh and hit Planet Fitness—the choice of kings. On my drive home, I passed this place called Pure Nutrition. For the record, I’ve attempted to entertain their services on a few occasions before; however, they’re seemingly open three hours a week. In fact, if you look at their hours of operation, their hours on Sunday are listed as “sometimes.”

Anyway, going into this place, I was expecting to grab a protein shake and leave. When I opened the door, I realized I was sorely mistaken. I thought this place was a GNC type place where I could just grab a Muscle Milk or something and bounce but nooooooo, this was one of those smoothie bar type setups.

For the record, I don’t hate these type of places as much as I give off. They’re all over the place nowadays and for good reason. People are constantly looking for ways to feel healthy without actually working out and places like this provide that comfort through $12 tea. That said, this was not what I was looking for at the time.

The only problem was that I had already walked in and awkwardly scanned the interior of the establishment like some Nazi officer looking for Jews in Poland circle 1941. People saw me, I saw them, and I was officially in a predicament.

I had three options: a.) just awkwardly turn around and leave like a fucking clown; b.) suck it up and pay the $14 for a shake; or c.) walk up to the counter, ask for something exotic that the bar clearly doesn’t offer—like Mediterranean squash or something—so that, when they say no, I can be like “Ohhh okay, that’s fine” and leave.

I chose option b because I’m a pussy that capitulates to social scrutiny.

Anyway, it was okay…

For those who thought this blog was going somewhere, clearly you don’t know me. On days where I have nothing to write about, I just narcissistically start typing about myself and hope someone cares. If you don’t (so all of you), then you just blew 3 minutes of your life. If you didn’t on the blog, then you’ll never read this sentence anyway so good for you.

Thanks for the click. Alright, I’m out…

– Joey Boats (@joey_boats)

Some Thoughts On Brady And What It Means To Be Great…

Okay, so we’re officially four days removed from what I, at the time, considered to be “the most brutal game I’ve ever watched.” I wanted to write a blog on it more recently but resolved that everyone and their mother would’ve already had one on it.

Anyway, now that I’ve had time to think about everything, I can confidently clam that last Sunday’s AFC Championship was the most difficult Patriots game I was forced to consume.

There have been a number of gut-churning games that Brady and Co. have partaken in since 2001, but I can’t remember a game with so much parody.

Between the 4th down conversion attempts, the 3rd down conversion successes, the interceptions that were called back, the interceptions that weren’t, the seemingly endless run of 50/50 booth reviews that could’ve virtually gone either way, the nauseatingly dynamic potential of Kansas City to score a 70+ yard touchdown at any minute, and the coin flip, I was literally on the verge of puking.

Last week I wrote a blog about what it’s been like to follow the Patriots over the last two decades. In it, I talked in length about how anyone who suggests they know what this team will do or what they’re capable of is wrong. Last Sunday, I may have been the only one with a vindicated opinion.

During that game, I officially had that “Fuck, that’s game” sensation 3-4 times, and every time I had it, I was wrong. The one thing I know about this team is that when the game’s over, it isn’t.

Brady, once agin, was nothing short of intoxicating to watch near the end of regulation. For the record, he didn’t play well—the guy threw two picks and there were at least 3-4 plays in the first half alone where Tom just flat out missed his read—but when push came to shove, he was flawless.

The funny thing about greatness is that it’s fleeting. To be truly great, it means you need to not only do truly outstanding things, but you need to do them on a consistent basis.

For the last two decades, Brady has forced me to readjust my barometer for what I consider possible on a football field. For example, if Phillip Rivers or someone pulled off what Brady did last Sunday, it would be his crowning career moment. People would think of Phillip Rivers and go, “Remember that game he had against KC in the AFC Championship back in 2019?” When Brady does it, you just shake your head and drive home.

The Patriots will officially play the Rams in Super Bowl LIII next Sunday. Vegas opened up the line with the Rams as 1-point favorites but it only took an hour for that spread to shift drastically in New England’s favor and I’m not sure how I feel about that. As I’ve always said, the Pats play better when they’re doubted. They show up when they’re not expected to.

That said, expecting them to roll into Mercedez-Benz Stadium on February 3rd and expose a second-year head coach, as well as a third-year quarterback, seems likely, but that makes me all the more concerned. Stay posted…

– Joey Boats (@joey_boats)

Why Do Women Love TJ Maxx? I Investigate…

So it’s yet another Monday morning in paradise. I just rose from my slumber, meandered downstairs to my Keurig, and rummaged through an exhausting selection of Green Mountain K-cup flavors. Eventually, I ended up going with “Dark Magic” which, curiously enough, is also the title of my ex-girlfriend’s most recent pornographic film.

Anyway, for those who know me, you know that I’m exceptional at a lot of things. For the sake of time, I won’t list them here (my best quality is my humility) but I will admit that amongst all my strengths, I’m particularly great with women.

Women love me, and I think a lot of that has to do with the fact that I understand them so well. For example, throughout my life, I’ve examined the opposite sex so intricately that I’ve managed to compile a list of what makes the female demographic swoon.

Here’s what I’ve found, in order from least significant, to most:

5.) Freeform’s annual Hocus Pocus marathon.
4.) Any pumpkin-oriented food or beverage during Fall.
3.) Swigging out of stainless steel, vacuum insulated water bottles while clenching the dashboard of a treadmill that’s seemingly set at a 90° incline.
2.) Serviceably attractive, 5’10” former Saab owners who blog, own over four pairs of cargo shorts, and periodically eat bologna.
1.) TJ Maxx

So yeah, although women curiously can’t resist a male paradigm that coincidentally shares the same characteristics one would use to describe myself, there’s no question that the number one thing females can’t resist is the department store chain, TJ Maxx.

Before I go any further, I’m not sure how widespread TJ Maxx is. If you live in New England, you know what I’m talking about; if you’re unfamiliar with what I’m referring to, TJ Maxx is a retail chain that specializes in “off-price” clothing, jewelry, domestics, giftware, etc. Inside, it’s basically just a flock of middle-aged women aimlessly lumbering throughout the aisles in some stoic, bargain-induced trance akin to Daniel Kaluuya’s in that hypnosis scene from Get Out.

In fact, TJ Maxx’s parent company (TJX Companies) also owns Marshalls, which is essentially just a poor man’s TJ Maxx. I honestly think Marshalls is just a chain of empty department stores TJX created to eradicate the stigma of “off-price” shopping and drive more traffic to their TJ Maxx retailers. It’s almost like a Walmart/Target dynamic. People don’t want to look poor sifting through $6 floral rompers, but at least they aren’t doing so at a Marshalls…

Anyway, I went into TJ Maxx the other day to further investigate why women can’t get enough of that place because I’m a fucking journalist who doesn’t leave stones unturned. Here’s what I found:

First and foremost, every last item in that entire store is perpetually on clearance. That place has seemingly been going out of business for over a decade and if you find an item without a red tag indicating it’s 70% off, one of the their customer associates most likely fucked up. For most consumers, this is a plus; however, in the eye of a keen skeptic such as myself, I’m not sure. In other words, if everything’s on clearance, nothing’s on clearance…

When you first walk in, you’ll notice there’s always this extravagant display of similar lifestyle items. Normally, you can set your watch to seeing a shitload of 3-in-1 kettle bell kits, stability balls, and yoga mats that, if purchased, will inevitably end up collecting dust underneath a storage cabinet overflowing with mid-2000s Tae Bo instructional DVDs that were initially ordered off QVC to wage war with post-pregnancy weight back when “parenting wasn’t a full-time job.”

As you continue navigating, you’ll notice something, in particular: everything looks familiar. Perhaps the reason for that is because you’ve seen these items before, and perhaps the reason for that is because you have.

There’s always this section near the front of every TJ Maxx dedicated to last-minute gift ideas your intended recipient is guaranteed to NEVER use. Whether it’s an Axe Body Spray shower kit, an aroma therapy candle set, or a Red Sox themed neck massager, there’s always something you recognize and think: “Isn’t this what that condescending dipshit Meredith brought to the Yankee Swap last Christmas?”

As a guy, I ventured over to the men’s section before the women’s to objectively see if maybe TJ Maxx’s stranglehold isn’t exclusive to women.

While scanning the inventory of men’s wear, all I could find was an onslaught of pastel Nautica/Polo button-down dress shirts for those who yearn to dress like a dickhead from 2008, but only if it comes at 40% of the original price. For men who subscribe for a more eclectic sense of style and flair, there’s always an enormous selection of Phat Farm and Ecko Unltd for the “former high school rapper” in all of us.

Finally, I navigated to what we’ve all been waiting for: the women’s section…

As I perused through the aisles, I realized that TJ Maxx claiming to have a “women’s section” is like an abortion clinic claiming to have a wing exclusively reserved for female patients. When it’s all said and done, the entire store is essentially a women’s section.

On the outskirts of each aisle sits roughly 7,000 different picture frames featuring stock photos of beach dwelling Border Collies or two, doe-eyed lovers cuddling in a hammock with the sepia tone filter.

As you dive deeper, you’ll encounter a few mountains of throw pillows embroidered with things like “Live” or “Breath” in case you forget. In other words, TJ Maxx has virtually everything a woman could want, covered.

Ever wonder how Reese Witherspoon chefs up her classic, Mediterranean lobster bisque? No problem. She has a cookbook with step-by-step instructions, which is conveniently placed next to a six-piece contemporary, stainless steel barware set for the three times a year when “company’s coming over and everything needs to be perfect.”

So yeah, TJ Maxx is TJ Maxx in the eyes of women because it’s some sort of utopia. It sucks you in and refuses to let you leave without at least two or three impulse items that’ll end up being regifted at the next bridal shower.

One of my mom’s favorite quotes when she returns from a trip to the Maxx is that “I just had to buy it”—an assertion that normally concerns some “Live, Laugh, Love” photograph or a ceramic chicken “that would look great on the kitchen table.”

It’s a quote I hear so often that I just assume when she gets to the counter, there’s some sketchy guy with a gun pointed at her underneath the register who asks something like, “Are you sure you don’t want that towel set you were eyeing in aisle four. You already know it matches the color scheme of your bathroom… not to mention, Shelby didn’t think it was the worth the purchase either” as he’s pointing to some middle-aged women who’s tied up in the back room…

“I just had to buy it…”

– Joey Boats (@joey_boats)

Fried-Ay: Italian Food, Italian Food, and Self Checkouts…

Okay, so it’s currently Friday, which means it’s Fried-ay, which means it’s finally time to get back into the swing of the greatest running blog in the history of running blogs that are posted once every Monday, Tuesday, Saturday, or even Friday.

For those unfamiliar, Fried-ay is a blog where I just dump a bunch of ideas that fell in that little slot where your seat belt buckle is. Near the end of the week, I pull the lever and readjust my seat so it’s kissing the steering wheel, throw on my iPhone flashlight, check underneath and pull them out for the world (all three of you) to read. Anyway, let’s get into it…

I just made spicy pasta with cajun andouille sausage because I’m a fucking savage and I realized that I’ll never go out for Italian food. For the record, I love Italian food (it’s my favorite type of food) but going out for Italian is an astronomical waste of money.

Number one: To get really good Italian food, you most likely need to head “into town.” For people who live in Boston, that means the North End. The only problem with heading into the North End is that you need to head into the North End, which means you’re dropping about $50 to park, and that’s only after you spent 2 hours navigating every side street, arguing with your significant other over whether or not your hatchback could’ve fit in that 3-foot sliver of hope near the hydrant on Union St. The answer to that question is ultimately always a no; however, to a passenger, the prospect of it serves as valuable argumentative leverage for the next three hours.

Number two: The Italian food experience is expensive as fuck, and part of that reason is that you’re paying for the “ambience.” In other words, you’re dropping nearly two bills for your waiter shows up with a mediterranean bronze and a white towel hanging from his/her forearm. Also, they come around with pitchers of water, pouring it in a glass for you because obviously that’s something you can’t do yourself.

Number Three: Italian food is cheap pretty cheap and easy to make. For those keeping score at home, I’m no Rachel Ray. I stick to the basics when I “cook.” That said, it doesn’t Anthony Bourdain to boil spaghetti. If you want puttanesca, you’re looking at a $26 minimum, whereas if you got off your lazy ass and ripped a trip to Stop N’ Shop, you’re looking at roughly $6 worth of ingredients. Pasta’s cheap as shit. You can buy roughly 12 boxes of that shit with whatever you can scrum together from your ash tray. If I dedicated a weekly pay check to angel hair, I could probably solve world hunger and shut that clown, Sara McLachlin, up for the next decade.

On that note, when I bought the pasta this morning, I came to the conclusion that there is a large swath of the population that needs to go. Population control is administered for a number of animals on this planet, but no one’s governing us.

What I’m referring to when I bring this up are the people that lug a shitload of items into the self check-out/13 items or less line. I understand the sign says 13 Items or less, but I consider that a friendly guideline. If you bring anywhere near 13 items into that line, you’re an asshole. Those lines are exclusively reserved for those with 8 or less items. If not, get to the back of the line with the 60+ year old woman with a pocket book overflowing with coupons. That’s what you get for flirting with the line. Get in and get out. That’s the name of the game over here. Play by the rules…

It’s Official: Everyone’s Wrong…

Disclaimer: If you aren’t interested in conceited sports rants, navigate off the page…

Okay, so here at Branded, I’m one of the few bloggers who root for New England sports, and although our fan base experiences its fair share of criticism (emphasis on “fair”), I have no problem asserting that our antics manifest from a genuine place.

You can say we’re insufferable assholes, but you can’t say we don’t care. And although a lot of people like to insinuate this infatuation directly corresponds with the fact we’ve seen roughly 20,000 parades roll down Boylston street in the past two decades, it’s just not true. For as long as I’ve lived here, it’s always been death, taxes, and “How bout’ that game last night, huh?”

There are a number of cities in America with incredible fan bases—Philadelphia, Dallas, Chicago, Pittsburgh, etc.—but in Boston, our sports franchises are literally the primary vehicle through which we express our pride. It’s borderline pathetic. They serve as more of an identity than anything else, and without them, we’d be stuck beating our chests over Plymouth Rock, clam chowder, and a few Matt Damon movies (Honorable Mention: the Revolutionary War).

So yeah, as an entity, we spend an unreasonable amount of time scrutinizing a flock of multimillionaires we’ve never met who compete in games we haven’t played since high school. Given the mutual exclusivity of it all, that sort of a relationship breeds a familiarity that can’t be replicated.

In other words, there are just some things I inexplicably “know” about my sports teams that those outside the velvet rope can never comprehend.

It’s like that famous Robin Williams monologue from the park bench scene in Good Will Hunting: “You can furnish the most comprehensive statistical breakdown on the planet to alleviate my anxiety concerning a particular opponent… but you can’t tell me what it feels like to look at a remarkably unexceptional, 9-7 Giants team and feel totally vulnerable.”

Anyway, here’s what I “know” about the Patriots: I know nothing, and I know that anyone who asserts otherwise either a.) a liar; b.) a fool; c.) an employee at ESPN; or d.) probably all of the above.

At one point during this season, I’m sure you or someone you know has contended something to the likes of “I know I say this every year, but this year just feels different.” And although that may be true, people contend that every year.

The only constant with this team over the last two decades is that everyone’s wrong. When there’s no chance they can beat The Greatest Show on Turf, they do. When there’s no chance they lose against the Giants, they do. When there’s no chance a sixth-year quarterback could knock up Bridget Moynahan, he does…

During an on-field, post game interview following yesterday’s game, Brady—in a shockingly rare stroke of transparency—suggested that “everyone thinks we suck” and well, he’s not wrong.

It’s certainly been a “unique” year (Brady’s words, not mine) in Foxborough. Between the head-scratching losses to Detroit/Tennessee, the Josh Gordon era, Gronk degenerating into the Tin Man and the Miami Miracle, things haven’t necessarily been par for the course down in Gillette.

As for next week, the lines are out and the desert’s spotting Brady & Co three on the road. That line will most likely look a bit different come Sunday, but more importantly, the Patriots will too.

If everything holds, New England will step off the team plane as postseason dogs for only the seventh time in team history, and the first time since the 2013 AFC Championship—that one at Mile High where Manning dusted our secondary for 400 yards.

So yeah, Vegas knows their shit so I’m not a paragon of optimism right now. That said, I don’t know dude, this year feels different—and when I say “different,” I don’t mean it the way I said it two or three weeks ago…

In other words, I’m done being skeptical about this team. I need Kansas City right now like I need water and that’s something I “know.”

Load the God damn muskets…

– Joey Boats (@joey_boats)