Death, taxes and Tom Brady winning NFL games in a Patriots jersey. Well not anymore. With the announcement that Brady and the patriots are parting ways a 20 year fairytale comes to an end. For my entire adult life Tom Brady has been the quarterback for the New England Patriots and what a ride it has been:
- 9 Super Bowl appearances
- 6 Super Bowl titles
- 3 MVPs
- 17 AFC East titles
The 2019/20 season? Well that wasn’t exactly perfect. We all know that, in fact I already wrote about it here but had you asked me the day after it ended if Tom would be playing elsewhere next season I would have said no chance. Had you asked me if he’d being playing in Tampa, I would have thought you’d lost you mind. So what happened? Well firstly it seems that like the rest of us Tom was not happy about how things went last season in New England. We know he was disappointed that the team didn’t do more to try and keep Antonio Brown around, tough to do what with him being crazy and all, and we know he had concerns about the offence being able to improve enough over the offseason. The team looked old and although still good enough to win games it was starting to look like a tough road back to glory through an ever improving AFC.
From the Patriots point of view, and when I say patriots I mean Bill Belichick, they don’t like paying older guys big money. Lay all these things out there and you can see why the stories started to appear but I still couldn’t imagine either side really wanting to part ways. Then this happened:
First of all. To use the caption ‘Forever a Patriot’ to announce you are leaving is a diabolical thing to do. With that font size and that many words it took me 3-5 minutes to realise I was in fact having my heart ripped out of my chest. With no chance of retirement, all that was left to do was wait and see what was next for Tom. I hadn’t even properly begun to grieve when it was announced
To see him in any other uniform is going to be tough but Buccaneers jersey is just going to look plain weird. I guess I can kind of see the allure from his point of view. Lots of playmakers to throw too, money to pay him, a chance to play a Super Bowl as a home team and most importantly of course….Tom Brady to Tampa Bay….Tom Brady to Tampa Bay….TB to TB. The branding opportunities are endless.
So whats next for New England. It’s been well publicised that they don’t have an obvious backup plan. Since Jimmy G headed to California the QB room around Brady has been a little bare. The patriots need to find an answer. The problem is that the question you’re answering is a monumentally difficult one. Who replaces Tom Brady? Who replaces the greatest Quarterback of all time? One small shred of upside in this whole thing is that we actually get to see Tom without Bill and Bill without Tom and for all those who want to believe it’s the greatness of one and not the other that underpins the dynasty we may get the answers they crave. For the it’s all Bill crew (also referred to as the system Quarterback gang) the race starts now. Does he see a future starter in fourth round pick Jarrett Stidham? Or does the future, at least short term, lie in the arm of a free agent signing? Is it in fact a prospect in the upcoming draft that Bill is set on? Keeping the Patriots competitive is all up to Bill now and I trust him.
For Tom, I don’t really know what I want. The guy has given me so much joy over the years and all I ever wanted was for him to retire on top. To see him struggle if his final years like so many of the greats did would be devastating. So I guess just root him against every other team in the league then hope he stinks whenever he faces the Patriots? Although watching him play well against anyone will be tough to watch. Maybe just hope he’s average. Problem is I don’t think he knows how to be average. I mentioned those people with strong opinions in the Bill vs Tom debate, well one of those people is Tom Brady. The only thing left for him to achieve is to categorically prove that it was the guy out there with the football in his hands that made those Patriots teams great. A motivated Brady is a dangerous Brady and to be honest I’m a little terrified he’s going to be great.