Ever since Tom Brady filed for free agency, his future with the New England Patriots has been up in the air. Now it’s official.
The greatest run in NFL history has come to an end. Brady announced on social media on Tuesday that he will be leaving the Patriots after a record six Super Bowl wins and leading the franchise in almost every quarterback category including passing yards (74,571), passing touchdowns (541), and games (285).
FOREVER A PATRIOT pic.twitter.com/QSBOJBs4uy
— Tom Brady (@TomBrady) March 17, 2020
The move comes after a flurry of player transactions on Monday in preparation for Wednesday’s official start of free agency.
Some NFL agents believed he would remain with the team, but Brady wasn’t talking and Belichick wasn’t talking. Others hinted at retirement but Tom Terrific gave no indication that he was ready to hang them up. A guy with his ego, drive, and determination wants to show that he can win without the guidance of the NFL’s Yoda.
Sources say he’s going to sign with the Tampa Bay Bucs tomorrow morning.
In 2017, on the eve of The Killer B’s fifth Super Bowl championship — a dramatic comeback against the Atlanta Falcons — I wrote an article and the first sentence posed the question, ” What will life be like for Bill Belichick when Tom Brady has moved on?”
At the time, Brady had only won four Super Bowls and was tied with Terry Bradshaw and childhood idol Joe Montana for career SB wins by a quarterback.
He and Dollar Bill would go on to win two more Super Bowls, the last coming against the Rams in February of 2019. Brady and Bellichick had more success than any QB-HC duo in NFL history. It is a body of dominance, the likes of which we may never see again the way free agency is now constructed.
“I have been very fortunate to coach Tom,” Belichick said in 2017. “Tom is a tremendous player. He is a tremendous competitor. He prepares extremely hard. He comes to work every day and gives his very best effort. I am fortunate to have the opportunity to coach Tom for these years. … I have a lot of respect for him. There is a mutual respect there.”
The two guys go together like butter leathers and 80 below Tims. Their careers, achievements, scandals, and record-breaking accomplishments are infinitely intertwined as one incomparable coach-player package.
If you question how effective Brady will be without Bill, you have to ask how effective the Pats will be without their consistent Hall of Fame soldier, who has led the way for two decades.
Food For Thought
Belichick had a 41-55 record in six seasons as coach before Tom Brady was drafted in 2000 in the sixth-round. He went 5-11 in his first season as Pats head coach with another future Hall of Famer calling signals. A Drew Bledsoe injury later and these guys go on the most prolific steak of regular season/postseason success the league has ever seen. They didn’t just win. They won clean. They won dirty. Whatever it took. And they shared that win-at-all-costs mentality that might have put some superstar coaches and players at odds.
Despite incomparable success as a quarterback Brady’s career is always somewhat devalued by the fact that he played with one team and for a head coach who most consider the best to ever do it.
Though Brady did not indicate where he would play next season, his statement didn’t mention retirement.
“Although my football journey will take place elsewhere,” Brady wrote, “I appreciated everything that we have achieved and am grateful for our incredible TEAM accomplishments. I have been privileged to have had the opportunity to know each and every one of you, and to have the memories we’ve created together.”
Whatever team he goes to, that first meeting with the Patriots will be a historic occasion.