This is a busy week for the NFL, and the league’s official Twitter feed has been churning out facts, information and opinion at a near record clip, with nearly every tweet coming from @NFL featuring either an NFL Network video or a customized graphic, all in an effort to grab the attention of their mass of followers.

One tweet, sent and almost immediately deleted over the holiday weekend, got a little too much attention. The league asked fans to fill in the blanks of which two quarterbacks will face off in Super Bowl 50, and while the tweet didn’t limit the choices to any specific list of quarterbacks — if you think Blake Bortles and Kirk Cousins are Super Bowl bound, feel free to tweet at your naïve heart’s content — the graphic put out by the NFL’s art department had a few noticeable omissions.

One quarterback who was left off the graphic is reining Super Bowl champion Tom Brady, leaving Patriots fans rightly PSI’d pissed that the NFL continues to take shots at the best team in football.

Not only did Brady lead the Patriots to the Super Bowl title just six months ago, he won the game’s MVP! He’s one of four quarterbacks in the history of the league—the soon to be 50-year history, in case the NFL forgot—to win more than two Super Bowl titles, and one of just three, along with Joe Montana and Terry Bradshaw, to win four titles.

To be fair, Montana and Bradshaw were left off the graphic as well, so Brady isn’t the only NFL Hall of Famer who should be upset about an omission.

In truth, the league never should have authorized a graphic like this, if only to avoid the awkward nature of promoting Brady (or, as it were, not) on marketing materials to start the season. The league only has itself to blame for how the DeflateGate saga has been handled the last few months, and while a harmless tweet is hardly the final nail in the coffin of this off-season story, it’s a wonder why the league isn’t smarter with very easy situations like this.

How many people were involved in this process for it to be such a hilarious marketing failure. Someone made the graphic, and either consciously decided to or was specifically told to leave Brady off. You don’t just “forget” to put Brady on a graphic like this. Presumably someone in the promotion and marketing department is approving all these tweets and scheduling them to publish, so at the very minimum that’s two or three people working for the NFL who authorized and approved this graphic. In other words, that’s two or three too many people who work for the NFL who saw an image with a handful of top quarterbacks that did not include Brady and said, “yeah, this is good to go!”

Obviously that was not good to go, and the fact the league deleted it and didn’t update the graphic by adding Brady as of Tuesday morning further illustrates how silly it was to put up in the first place.

While leaving Brady off the graphic is what makes this newsworthy, he’s not the only quarterback who should be upset at being left off the image. There are only three active quarterbacks who have won multiple Super Bowls and the NFL left two of them off this graphic, with Brady joining Eli Manning on the Twitter-graphic bench.


Now, nobody is picking the Giants to win the Super Bowl this year—none of the experts even picked New York to make the playoffs—but the last time a Manning hoisted the Lombardi Trophy, Eli led the Giants to the title after a 9-7 regular season, making the playoffs in part due to the ineptness of the Dallas Cowboys. Is it that far out of the realm of possibility for the Giants to go 9-7 again?

And speaking of the Dallas Cowboys, where is Tony Romo on this list? The Cowboys won the NFC East last year and many of the experts are picking them to make it back to the playoffs again in 2015. It’s not like every quarterback on that graphic is a Super Bowl winner, considering Andrew Luck and Carson Palmer made the cut. Hell, Palmer’s team didn’t even win its own division last year, nor did he finish the year on the field, but he made it over Brady, Manning and Romo.

And Joe Flacco.


Flacco is the only other Super Bowl champion to not make the cut, and while the Baltimore Ravens aren’t on most people’s lists of title contenders this season, four of the 13 experts picked them to win their division, with another three putting them in the playoffs as a wild card. That’s more than half of the experts putting Flacco and his eliteness into the playoffs, yet the former Super Bowl MVP didn’t get enough love by the NFL graphics makers and marketing gurus to get onto the list.

Heck, there’s even a case to be made that Matthew Stafford and Cam Newton—both playoff quarterbacks last season, something Drew Brees cannot say—deserve to be on the list, which is another clear indication of why putting out tweets like this is a foolhardy decision by the NFL. This is like when you create a guest list for a wedding and you invite 50 people but if you go to 51 you might as well invite 200. The NFL should have put four quarterbacks on their graphic, because putting seven opens up the conversation for why they didn’t put a dozen. And yet, even if the league did just put four, the list would have included Aaron Rodgers, Peyton Manning, Russell Wilson and TOM BRADY.

Why the NFL didn’t just slide Brady on in the back instead of or next to Brees or Palmer, and there would have been no need for a deletion; no angry Patriots fans. (Okay, that last part isn’t true, but they wouldn’t be angry about this.)  By leaving Tom Terrific off a tweet touting teams that will get to the Super Bowl, the NFL created yet another unnecessary headache for itself in a week undoubtedly already full of them.

About Dan Levy

Dan Levy has written a lot of words in a lot of places, most recently as the National Lead Writer for Bleacher Report. He was host of The Morning B/Reakaway on Sirius XM's Bleacher Report Radio for the past year, and previously worked at Sporting News and Rutgers University, with a concentration on sports, media and public relations.