Tom Brady is gone, and I am lost
Well, this is weird. In the year of 2020, we’ve had to deal with the Coronavirus, Kobe Bryant’s death, Dave Leitao possibly getting extended, and now this.
Tom Brady announced in a statement on all social media platforms that he will not be returning to the Patriots in 2020.
You mean to tell me, the 6-time Super Bowl-Winning Quarterback for the New England Patriots, someone who has spent the last 20 years in Boston, is going to up and leave?
This is going to suck, isn’t it? When I woke up this morning, I saw the alert, and promptly went back to sleep. I have to stop waking up to bad news. I woke up to Juice Wrld’s death, I woke up to Kevin Durant announcing his decision to sign with the Warriors, and now I woke up to realize that my favorite athlete of all-time will be leaving my favorite team in the city I was born.
There are many emotions that come with this announcement. The first emotion is devastation. Of course I’m devastated. In a perfect scenario, Tom Brady announces he’s coming back to Boston and everything is right in the world. And why wouldn’t he? This is the team, city, and organization that took him in as a 6th round draft pick back in 2000 and turned him into the Greatest Quarterback of All Time. The Patriots would load up on weapons and get right back to making another run next season.
Of course I’m devastated. It’s Tom Brady! Why the hell would Tom Brady leave the New England Patriots? That’s like Luke joining the Dark Side. That’s like “fetch” becoming a popular saying. That’s like me finding the love of my life. It just doesn’t happen.
The second emotion is frustration. And also anger. Not with Tom Brady, but with Bill Belichick. I get that sports, and specifically the NFL, is a business. And you have to make business decisions for the betterment of the franchise. But not when it comes to Tom Brady. You’re telling me you’d rather win with someone else? You’d rather field a team with someone else at quarterback besides Brady? You’d rather rebuild with Jarrett Stidham or go into next year with a QB like Andy Dalton or Jameis Winston? I fully understand that Robert Kraft said it was Brady’s decision. And at the end of the day, it was. But something must’ve happened between Gronk’s decision to retire at the end of 2019 and the end of the 2020 season that made Brady realize he wasn’t going to accomplish anything in Foxborough.
It was the failure to have a backup plan at the tight end position if Rob Gronkowski were to retire. It was the failure to address the position after he ended up retiring in the draf. You’re telling me the best possible option was a washed up 38-year old Benjamin Watson for one last season before HE inevitably retired?
It was the failure to address the skill positions to help Brady. The over-excitement about Jakobi Meyers. The inability of N’Keal Harry to develop in his first season. The drama with Antonio Brown. The drama with Josh Gordon. 2019 produced a season in which Brady had virtually nothing on offense. His only source of consistency was James White out of the backfield and a banged-up Julian Edelman.
I know the saying goes “In BB we trust”, but Bill Belichick’s focus throughout the entire offseason and regular season was the defense. It wasn’t necessarily the offense, or making sure Brady has weapons to throw to, but rather the defense. The defense that let Derrick Henry do whatever he felt like doing back on that gloomy Foxborough Saturday Night in January.
You allowed the face of the franchise to leave. And feel comfortable doing so. Because you neglected to help him out for last season. And now, as a franchise, you have to watch him walk out the door at One Patriot Place and leave to go play football for another team in the National Football League.
Bill... just bite the bullet on this one. You’re chasing Don Shula numbers. Tom Brady helped you become the best NFL Coach of All-Time. Put your ego to the side, and just ride out Brady until he retires. So what if you go 11-5 and lose in the divisional round next season? That doesn’t change anything. I’d rather have that than go 7-9 with Stidham for two years before he hits his stride. I refuse to accept that Tom Brady left the New England Patriots because he wanted to. Time might prove me wrong, but there is no way that he all of a sudden decided he would like to play football elsewhere just for the fun of it. You had to have done something that made him realize he had to get out.
Tom... why do you have to be difficult? Can’t we have nice things? You’ve built your brand, life, and bond with teammates and coaches as a New England Patriot. Do you really think that in your 21st season in the National Football League that you will have the same chemistry elsewhere? That the moment you touch down in Tampa Bay you’ll be on the same page as everyone else? I get that you want to have the whole “Bet against Me” narrative going for you, but let’s be real here: You’re not going to have the same relationship with your new head coach and offensive coordinator that you had with Bill Belichick and Josh McDaniels. You have proved everything and won everything in this league. Is it a money issue? You and your wife have a combined net worth of $580 million. Is it a winning issue? You have 6 rings, and New England was the best place to win. Is it because you want to prove you can win without Belichick? Who cares. Ignore the noise.
Stay with me on this one. Let’s say you stay with New England for the next two seasons and fail to win the Lombardi Trophy. Does anything about your legacy change? No it doesn’t. Let’s say don’t win a Super Bowl with Tampa Bay. Do you know what the narrative becomes? That you can’t win without Belichick, and you can’t win outside New England. That you’re a system quarterback. Let’s say that the Patriots, with either Jarret Stidham or someone else, make the playoffs and have a deep run in the postseason next year without you. That feeds into the narrative. It shows that they can win without you. That just because the Greatest Quarterback of All-Time left, it doesn’t mean they have to rebuild. You’re telling me you want that to happen?
And can we really sit here and say that the Buccaneers will easily win the Super Bowl with you? They'll easily cruise to a playoff spot for the first time in 14 years and win a playoff game for the first time in 19? I can’t sit here and say without a single doubt that a 42-year old Brady will automatically make the Super Bowl with either of those two teams. And that’s what’s important right? You’re going to be 43 next season. You need to win now. Are you sure the Bucs are the team to win with? And you’re telling me that the Patriots would give you a worse chance at doing that than the Tampa Bay freaking Buccaneers. Give me a break.
The last emotion is acceptance. It wasn’t going to last forever. All things must come to an end. There was going to be a day where Tom Brady wasn’t going to be Quarterbacking the New England Patriots, and that day has come. So be it.
Thank you, Tom. For everything. For the 28-3 comeback in the best Super Bowl I’ll ever witness. From the 10 point, 4th Quarter comeback against a defense no one could score on. For countless winning seasons, epic comebacks, numerous AFC East Titles, and everything along the way.
You proved to the rest of the NFL that you and a ragtag group of under the radar players could be so dominant. In the Salary Cap Era, you got better over time, and you turned a mediocre franchise into the best sports has ever seen. It’ll take some getting used to, but you made this decision in the best interest of you and your family. So I, and the rest of New England and Patriot fans elsewhere, wish you nothing but the best of luck.
Someone check on Jules. I need a drink.