Part of what makes the greats great is how they perform against fellow greats. It's what they live for. Consider that when seeing a precocious Chase Young calling out Tom Brady while sauntering off the field this past weekend following a playoff-clinching victory.
Young is only a rookie, but after watching Brady his whole life -- not hyperbole, with Young being 21 and Brady in his 21st season -- he's probably been yearning for this meeting for years. The Buccaneers quarterback, in response to Young's "I want Tom!" declaration, was more diplomatic in discussing his team's upcoming matchup with Washington (7-9) on Saturday night.
"He is obviously a great young player and we have our hands full with that (defensive) line," Brady said Wednesday.
Not one to provide bulletin board material yet happy to engage in humor, Brady offered an alternative explanation for Young's eagerness to get after him.
"He went to Ohio State, so I think that Ohio State-Michigan thing wears off on him a little bit," said Brady, a Michigan product.
Young also addressed the media Wednesday, for the first time since his soundbite heard ‘round the world. Despite Bruce Arians' warning earlier in the week to "watch what you wish for," the star pass rusher doubled down on his desire to play Brady and the favored Bucs (11-5).
"I'm excited for every game. Tom Brady? You think I won't be excited to play against the G.O.A.T? You trippin'," Young said. "I'm not going to apologize for saying I want Tom."
Strong words from someone playing in their first postseason, especially about someone who's played in nine Super Bowls. But if Young is truly going to be super, what he says will matter much less than what he does.
Like Young -- and Brady, for that matter -- we can't wait for Saturday.