Maybe it didn’t end the way the New England Patriots and Tom Brady wanted it to, but it’s here.
Tom Brady will no longer be the starting quarterback for the New England Patriots, it’s over. He announced today, although to me, it wasn’t a shocker at all. I called it two days ago.
Now the interesting part comes, where is Tom Brady headed? Two teams immediately come to mind- Tampa Bay and the Los Angeles Chargers. And why not the Bolts? They make a ton of sense, being a team that plays in California, where Brady is from, a team in the AFC, which Brady has played his entire career, and a team that is only one season removed from the playoffs.
But it shouldn’t happen, because the best spot for Tom Brady, is another franchise whose initials are also TB, and that’s Tampa Bay.
At this point in his career, Tom Brady is eyeing two major factors in his decision:
1- protection of his legacy, that he doesn’t fall off a cliff and everybody says he should have walked away
2- a shot at the Super Bowl
This reminds me so much, of Joe Montana in 1993. Back then, the 49ers had already decided that Steve Young was their quarterback, leaving Montana to look for another team, and the decision ultimately boiled down to two teams- Arizona and Kansas City.
From the book Montana by Joe Montana and Dick Schapp, page 91:
I visited both Kansas City and Phoenix (now Arizona), worked out for both teams. I liked owner, and I liked the head coach. They had been a winning team for four straight seasons under Marty Schottenheimer, and their new offensive coordinator was Paul Hackett, who had been my quarterback coach in San Francisco for three years. I picked Kansas City.
It was that simple for Montana. For Brady, when it comes to Tampa or L.A., assuming those are the only two teams going after him, Tampa is the best landing spot, and it all might come down to a number of factors, the biggest being the team itself (both missed the playoffs), and the second being the coaching staff, which heavily favors the Bucs and head coach Bruce Arians.
Arians has worked with some of the best quarterbacks in the NFL, including the likes of Peyton Manning, Andruw Luck, Carson Palmer, and Ben Roethlisberger. And in his only season with Arians, Jameis Winston did fire off a career high in touchdown passes and surpassed the 5,000 yard mark for the first time in his career.
Arians knows a thing or two about the guys throwing footballs- it’s an ideal situation for Brady, who at 43 years old, wants to continue playing at high level. Tampa offers a plethora of offensive weapons in receivers Mike Evans and Chris Godwin, and tight end OJ Howard. Yes the running game is lacking, but something to also consider, most of the big game free agent running backs haven’t yet signed with any teams. As soon as Brady signs, expect someone like Melvin Gordon to land in Tampa, very reminiscent of what happened in 1993 when Marcus Allen joined Joe Montana in Kansas City.
That’s what will happen here should Brady in fact, chose the Bucs. They are his best option in free agency. His move to the NFC makes the toughest conference in football, easily one of the most highly anticipated to watch in 2020.
In a conference that already has Dak, Brees, Matt Ryan, Rodgers, Cam, Russell Wilson, Garoppolo, Kyler Murray, and Wentz, now you add Tom Brady- wow.
You get Brady versus Brees twice a season. Brady versus Matt Ryan twice a season. And in 2020, add Brady vs Rodgers and Brady vs Mahomes. Now imagine an NFC Championship game to go to the Super Bowl, between the 49ers and Bucs- Brady vs. Garoppolo. Yep.
It could happen, and honestly it should. Brady wants to be protected, and Arians can do that. Brady wants to win, and in Tampa, he can do that. He has the weapons, free agents will want to play with him, and he’d be playing on a team that despite all the Winston turnovers, finished 7-9, losing six games by a single possession.
Montana moved from the NFC to the AFC and nearly led the Chiefs to the Super Bowl. Tom Brady, who idolized Montana, should take note of what Joe Cool did, and switch conferences as well and go to Tampa. It makes too much sense to not happen.