Tuesday, February 1st, 2022


Grid Ironman

Just about the only thing that Tom Brady didn't do well as an NFL Quarterback is retire. News broke of his retirement over the weekend, social media exploded, and then there were reports he hadn't made up his mind. As much as Tampa Bay hoped it could Keep Tom and Carry On, Brady finally made his work stoppage official. It's fitting that a player who spent so many years on top is going out the same way. At the age of 44, Brady had one of his best years ever. And that's saying something. Just consider some of these comparisons from The Ringer: Tom Brady Vanquished Father Time. "Seven Super Bowl rings, which is not only more than any other player in NFL history but more than any other team in NFL history. Brady has the same number of Super Bowl appearances as the Bears, Titans, Jets, Chargers, Saints, Browns, Cardinals, Jaguars, Lions, and Ravens combined. Brady made 10 Super Bowl appearances in his 20 seasons as a starter ... The Belichick-Brady Patriots won the AFC East at a higher rate (89.5 percent) than Michael Jordan made free throws. Brady has spent more than 400 days—more than a year of his life—in the playoffs. He played 17 games, a full season, in the divisional round and went 14-3. Brady grew up in the Bay Area worshipping Joe Montana's 49ers, and now Brady has more Super Bowl wins and the same number of playoff victories (35) as the 49ers franchise, which was established three decades before Brady was born." And from ESPN, Inside the amazing numbers that help define Tom Brady's legacy. In short, Tom Brady was the Tom Brady of football. If you read through the lines, Brady even had the best-ever reason to retire from the NFL: He wants to spend more time with Gisele.

+ "That's Brady. Not the Instagram followers. Not the supermodel wife, Gisele Bündchen. Not the worldwide fame, the handful of controversies he confronted, the lives he changed, the records he set or the older people he inspired. Not even the Super Bowl rings. No, Brady is process, him doing the same things, year after year, at a consistently high level." SI: How Tom Brady, the Person and the Process, Made Greatness Seem Routine. And now, with his new home in Miami, Brady will face his biggest challenge yet: Trying to become Florida's greatest retiree.

+ Why am I leading with this story? Yes, I like football and I'm trying to take my mind off the 49ers loss. But also because, for better or worse, the NFL is one of the few cultural attractions that still draws Americans from across the political spectrum. Last weekend's Rams-49ers game drew 50 million viewers.

+ While this is a time to laud Brady, we shouldn't forget how many hopes and dreams he crushed along the way. Thankfully, the Jets had a tweet to remind us: "this better be real."


IOC What You Did There

I don't think I can remember an Olympics that is sneaking up on us like this one. In part, that's because Omicron is keeping the media away from the games. In part it's because of the way people feel about China hosting. Not everyone can ignore their human rights abuses. Unsurprisingly, the IOC doesn't have a problem doing that. Kendall Baker with a good roundup on The IOC's deafening silence. "The IOC has seen its sponsorship revenues jump from $500 million in 2000 to roughly $3 billion today, which has fostered a cynical view of the Olympics as a corporate entity, rather than a unifying sports event."

+ In Beijing, athletes will compete against each other, and Covid. Virus infections for Olympic athletes, coaches rising faster.

+ From smart beds to catering robots, here are five technologies China is deploying at the Beijing Winter Olympics.



"We'll come to the homegrown terrorists he foiled and the race war they tried to foment. To the journalists he saved from assassination and the synagogue marked for carnage in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. To the gun-rights march on the steps of a state capitol, where they planned to pick off cops and rallygoers. There's time enough to valorize the work of Scott B., an undercover fed who breached far-right death squads and squashed their national web of terror cells ... But first, we need to talk about the ram. Because that ram — actually, a terrified goat with diarrhea — died for all our sins of the past four centuries." Paul Solotaroff in Rolling Stone: He Spent 25 Years Infiltrating Nazis, the Klan, and Biker Gangs. That makes for an entertaining story. But it's a serious one, too. "He's telling his story for the first time to sound the alarm about the threat of far-right extremists in America."

+ Religion News Service: How the Capitol attacks helped spread Christian nationalism in the extreme right.


NSO It Goes

"Since NSO had introduced Pegasus to the global market in 2011, it had helped Mexican authorities capture Joaquín Guzmán Loera, the drug lord known as El Chapo. European investigators have quietly used Pegasus to thwart terrorist plots, fight organized crime and, in one case, take down a global child-abuse ring, identifying dozens of suspects in more than 40 countries. In a broader sense, NSO's products seemed to solve one of the biggest problems facing law-enforcement and intelligence agencies in the 21st century: that criminals and terrorists had better technology for encrypting their communications than investigators had to decrypt them. The criminal world had gone dark even as it was increasingly going global." America was one of the countries that purchased the powerful Israeli software. Now it's trying to ban it. NYT Mag (Gift Article): The Battle for the World's Most Powerful Cyberweapon.


Extra, Extra

Ripped From the Headlines: "Sources say Giuliani called Department of Homeland Security six weeks after Trump's defeat by Joe Biden." Trump reportedly directed Giuliani to press officials to seize voting machines. And some of the White House records turned over to the House committee investigating the January 6 attack were ripped up by Donald Trump. Papers can be taped back together. Democracy can't. What are we going to do about these crimes?

+ Myanmarch: "Experts say the junta's attempts to gain full control are being frustrated by the Myanmar people as they carry out one of the biggest and most unified resistance movements the country has seen in its long history of democratic struggle against military rule." One year into the coup: Myanmar's coup leaders tried to crush resistance. But one year on, it's stronger than ever. Plus, the deadly battles that tipped Myanmar into civil war.

+ Ottawa The F--k?: "Some urinated and parked on the National War Memorial. One danced on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. A number carried signs and flags with swastikas." Anti-vaccine protest in Canada spurs outrage. Canada? Come on. You're our Plan B...


Bottom of the News

Wordle has taken the nerd world by storm. And now it's been acquired by the NYT. Josh Wardle made the game for his partner, Palak Shah. So, technically, she should get all the money!

+ We have a new record. An almost 500-mile-long lightning bolt crossed three US states.