Tom Brady is no longer a New England Patriot.
Read those words. Let them sit with you. Let ’em eat you alive inside. Let them bury into the dark crevices of your soul that no one else get’s to see. Let it tear you apart molecule by molecule like you just got Thanos snapped out of existence. Let those nine words destroy you in every way imaginable.
Try and come to terms with the fact that the greatest quarterback who ever played this game (take your “best”, “most talented”, “most skilled” caveats and shove them up your ass sidways…”greatest” trumps them all) has abandoned you for another. And like a jilted ex-lover, we’re left holding onto the jersey we wore the last time we saw him while playing his favorite song over and over again as we watch him walk away.
“Allow me to reintroduce myself…..my name is Hov!”
It’s harsh to lay it all out there like that, but as Patriots fans, we need this. We need to get backhanded in the face with the truth and stop pacing around our homes trying to conjure up scenarios where Tom comes back or trying to think what we could’ve done differently as a fan base. Our guy has left. The best to ever lace em up is no longer “Still here”. Accepting that fact certainly won’t make the grieving process any easier, but it’ll at least start the process. Because if you’re anything like me, you’ve spent the last 24 hours trying every way imaginable to wake yourself up from this hellish nightmare we find ourselves in only to realize this is your life now. Trapped in a world where Tom Brady no longer takes snaps under center in Foxboro.
What the uncultured outsiders fail to understand is that Tom Brady is the closest thing you can get to being considered an upper case “G” God in New England without actually being the man upstairs himself. For a region that has certainly had it’s fair share of sport deities (Bird, Orr, Ortiz, etc.) none were worshiped the way the GOAT was. And none ever will be.
As a Patriots fan, this was the unfathomable. Tom Brady was a lifer. Of course you’d hear pundits across the country bring up how Joe Montana was a Chief or those Jordan Wizard years, but this was supposed to be different. Brady would end his career how he lived it, doing what no one else has done before: playing 20+ years with the same team. Tom Brady is a Patriot, nothing else would make sense. He is the living embodiment of the Patriot Way. Don’t believe me? His coach said that same thing.
The Patriot Way has been described as many different things, but at the end of the day, it can be described with two simple words: Tom and Bill.
Bill Belichick was the visionary while Tom Brady carried out his vision both on the field and in the locker room. Always the consummate professional, Brady is what every single player in this league should strive to be. First one in, last one out. 110%. Never give up. Any cliche phrase you can think of, that’s Tom. That’s the Patriot Way.
So what do Patriots fans do now? Who do we blame? Is there even anyone to blame? What do the next two decades look like? Why didn’t Belichick just bend the knee and give Brady whatever he wanted?
That last question is important. Why didn’t Belichick do more? Simple.
Because he’s Bill freaking Belichick.
While the Patriots have their “Patriot Way”, Bill has his own way as well. And guess what? It’s worked pretty damn well so far. Sure, there’s been a few misses here and there, nobody’s perfect. But overall, Bill Belichick’s business like view of how he handles this team has been a vital cog in creating the greatest dynasty in NFL history. You can’t pick and choose when you want him to be stern and when you want him to treat players differently.
All the hours on hours we all spend saying “It just makes too much sense! He’ll be back! He’s the best option and we’re his best option!” were pointless, you know why? Whenever anyone thinks they know what Belichick is going to do, he goes the other way. We shouldn’t have been surprised though. This is the world we live in today. Bars closed down on St. Patricks Day. No sports. Half the world quarantined in their houses. Rivers on the Colts. Witten on the Raiders. Gronk in the WWE. We’re in the Upside Down. Of course this is how this was going to unfold. There’s a glitch in the matrix and we’re all paying the price.
We all thought Brady and Belichick would meet at a dimly lit table, both with loaded handguns under the table aimed at each other, and hash this thing out like two rival mob bosses. After hours of very intense conversation, they’d shake hands and break (TB12 approved) bread over a brand new contract. We were all wrong.
What happened was pretty easy to understand. Brady wanted one thing. Belichick offered him another. And now Brady will be riding a pirate ship in Tampa next season. And it’s not really anyone’s fault. This is a business negotiation and sometimes both parties don’t get what they want and neither are willing to compromise.
It’s being reported that the Bucs are giving Brady somewhere in the range of 2 yrs/$60 mil with a LOT of that guaranteed. The Patriots reported offer was in the realm of 2 yrs/$25 mil with not nearly as much guaranteed.
Why didn’t Brady just continue to take a discount for the team in order to stay? Like I mentioned before, maybe Brady wanted some sort of stability and knowing this is likely his last contract ever, why not try to get that? It’s not like the number he wanted was so outlandish anyway.
No one blamed Captain America for going back in time at the end of Endgame to be with Peggy Carter did they? That’s another guy that gave everything he had for his team until his last breath. I’m sorry, but I’m not going to fault a guy for showing the slightest semblance of a hint of selfishness when he’s done nothing but bend over backwards to make it easier for everyone else his entire career.
Well then why didn’t Belichick just meet Tom’s demands? I know what you’re all saying, “This isn’t just a regular player Bill! This is Tom freaking Brady! Give the many whatever he wants!” As a fan, that’s the normal reaction to have. But if you’re Belichick, that’s just not a feasible way to run a business. Having a good chunk of money invested in a player that very well may fall off at any moment is not a good business move. At some point the decision has to be made, and Bill did just that. He ripped the bandaid off and began the healing/rebuilding process. Bill did what Bill always does. Can’t fault him for that.
If you’re one of the “fans” claiming that you won’t watch the team next year or shouting from the rooftops how this is Belichick’s fault or how Kraft should’ve stepped in, go away. You will not be missed. Good riddance. Go jump on the Chiefs bandwagon, if there’s any room left.
But if we’re being honest, it doesn’t really matter why this deal didn’t come together. Tom Brady is done being a New England Patriot, and quite frankly, that fucking sucks. Gone are all the epic hype videos, gone are the dorky social media posts after a game, gone is the one constant that this region has known for 20 fucking years. Gone.
You know what isn’t gone though? The countless memories that he’s given us along the way. The dozens of game winning drives or passes that made us think “How the hell did he fit that in there!?” The running down the length of the field every home game and screaming LETS GOOOO! Or how could I forget when he’d make us all collectively scream watching him try to run for a first down? I guess that’s one thing the haters can pick apart.
This is a challenging time for Patriots fans. Tom Brady being gone just…doesn’t seem right. It seems dark to even think about. Reading it written out makes me sick. We’re used to the Patriots making the tough decisions and getting rid of fan favorites, but we never thought it would come to this. The day Tom Brady comes back to Foxboro, you’ll be able to hear the “BRADY! BRADY! BRADY!” chant from miles away. That’s just how it is in New England. If you give us all you got, we’ll return the favor. And Brady gave the region every single damn ounce he had, and that won’t ever be forgotten.
So Tom, speaking for every single Patriots fan out there, thank you.