On March 17th, Tom Brady announced to the world he was leaving the New England Patriots. Now some would say captioning his announcement with “FOREVER A PATRIOT” was wildly misleading, and others might even say it was cruel. I am in both of these camps.
Since Brady’s departure, all Patriots fans have had to come to grips with having a new starting quarterback in 2020. We also need to decide how much, if at all, we want to root for Tom moving forward.
Right off the bat, Tom Brady is my favorite athlete of all-time. I have been immensely proud to be a fan of his and have gone overboard in several conversations with co-workers/friends/strangers who do not feel he is the best quarterback of all-time.
And while I am starting to believe this was the best football decision for the Patriots and for Brady, I am still not able to say my feelings as a Brady fan will be the same these next two seasons. It’s not as simple as “Will you still root for Tom Brady?” It’s more about coming to terms with what I want, and don’t want, to happen.
WHAT I DO NOT WANT TO HAPPEN
- Brady to look like a fool on the field
We’ve seen many careers of all-time greats end on a sour note. No matter what, I do not want that for Tom Brady.
I do not want fans of the other 30 NFL teams doing a victory dance now that the king is dead.
- Brady to win the MVP
If I’m being honest, I do not want Brady to even have a season that would rank better than any of his five best Patriots seasons.
Throw 4000 yards (because everyone does now and it’s no longer special), 25 TDs, 12 INT. That’s fine.
- The Buccaneers to be in the Super Bowl
If they get there and are playing the Patriots in either of the next two seasons, then it’s a definite no. And I might change my mind if it’s 43 or 44 year-old Brady looking to stop Patrick Mahomes from winning 2 (or even 3!) in a row.
But I do not love the idea of reading 7-time SB Champ Tom Brady in 10 years and knowing one of them did not come with New England.
- To see a single social media post from Brady celebrating his new teammates/coach/city/fans
Yeah, I’m all set. I unfollowed everything. See you in 2022, Tom. Be well.
- The Patriots to miss the playoffs in 2020
I’m a fair man. I’m not rooting against Brady and am fine with the Buccaneers having some success (to a point). But the Patriots can’t be sitting at home after Week 17 though.
I cannot listen to the takes that would fly around if that happened, even if they would likely be coming from the same mouthpieces who have claimed Brady has been done for the last five years and/or is a system QB.
WHAT I DO WANT TO HAPPEN
- Brady to play two seasons for the Buccaneers
He signed a two-year deal. I want him to play for two more years. An injury, or falloff in play, that results in Brady or Tampa Bay walking away after one season is a no-go for me.
- Brady to play in the Pro Bowl
I just think this would be a nice bow for his career. Kind of similar to when Cal Ripken played SS in his last All-Star Game, or as some call it, the only cool thing A-Rod has ever done. Or like Michael Jordan starting and scoring 20 in the 2003 All-Star Game.
- Being able to stop acting like the TB12 method isn’t a little weird
Remember in “Step Brothers” when they wear tuxedos to the job interviews and Seth Rogen at first thinks it’s funny. Then Dale farts and Rogen says, “Ok, now the tuxedos seem kinda fucked up.”
The tuxedos are the TB12 method and the fart is leaving New England.
- The Patriots have a better 2020 season than the Buccaneers
This likely feels petty, but I can’t help it. If you’re someone who is going to follow Brady and come back to be a Pats fan in 2022, fine. I just can’t stop rooting for the laundry over the player who skipped town. And yeah, I’m still salty over the misleading “FOREVER A PATRIOT” caption because when I first read it, I thought he was staying.
- Brady to regret his decision
Yeah…I’m not proud here. This feels the worst out of all of this, but I can’t help feeling a little bit like he broke up with Patriots fans. And isn’t that what anyone who gets broken up with wants? That the breaker-upper looks back over time and thinks it was mistake.
My feelings on Belichick are the same though, where I think he’ll regret his rigid stance one day (eh, probably not). So I’m not a total asshole.
WHAT I SECRETLY REALLY WANT TO HAPPEN BUT WON’T SAY IT OUT LOUD BECAUSE IT IS LUDICROUS
- Brady plays out his two years in Tampa and Stidham becomes a solid starting QB for the Pats. Brady is set to sign a one-day contract to retire as a Patriot, but it comes out Stidham has suffered a season-ending injury (he’ll be fine for 2023) and the one-day contract becomes a one-year deal. Brady plays to 45 and gets ring #7 in Super Bowl LVII.
Shut up, it could happen.
I won’t lie, I am still hurting over the Brady decision. Him raising any hardware (either the individual or team variety) in Tampa Bay is not something I want to see. I want him to miss us and think back that things should have ended differently.
But he’s still the Tom Brady that gave me most of my favorite moments as a sports fan.
When there was a time it seemed like Brady and the Patriots were never going to get that 4th ring I remember my wife asking why that was so important to me after all the other success Brady had already had. My feeling was the Patriots had an opportunity here to have an upper echelon all-time great. An athlete who is synonymous with winning at the highest level of his sport. Thinking about the pride Bulls fans had with Jordan, and how even after he left and they had down years, there was always going to be something special about the Bulls because of #23.
I wanted that for myself as a Patriots fan. To get to a point where there could be no argument over who the best quarterback of all-time was. I wanted Brady to get the Jordan level.
And he did. And it was incredible.
So have a good time in Tampa, Tom. Just not too good.
- / 16 hours ago
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