For some, it is almost blasphemous to suggest that Tom Brady, the legendary New England Patriots quarterback with six Super Bowl rings to his credit, should get out of the game.
But at 42 and after watching Brady’s woeful performance in a Wild Card playoff loss to the Tennessee Titans on Saturday, it’s clear the end is here.
Most want to overlook all the obvious signs – inaccuracy, lack of arm strength and age – to talk about all his accomplishments and relive the wonderful past. It’s just isn’t an accurate picture of who Brady is now after 20 seasons in the NFL.
Modern Day Willie Mays
Let’s be honest. If you watched Brady on Saturday, sadly you saw Willie Mays stumbling and missing fly balls in left field for the Mets in 1973. It was painful to watch Brady as it was Mays. Let’s not forget that Mays was one of – if not the – greatest centerfielder who ever played in the Majors. The only thing worse than a player leaving the game too early is a great player who leaves too late.
For sure, Mays’ legacy was set. The same goes for Brady. But people remember vividly what they saw from you last. Those images don’t go away.
Muhammad Ali was beat up late in his career, a shell of the great fighter he was.
That’s why honestly, Brady should have quit two years ago after that historic Super Bowl comeback victory over the Atlanta Falcons. It gave Brady five titles, more than any other quarterback. He was fantastic in that game and would have left the game on arguably the highest note.
Jordan With The 45
Michael Jordan made the same mistake, coming back to the NBA to play for the Washington Wizards. It might as well had been the the Washington Generals. It wound up being comical, not amazing.
Despite more than half the league making the playoffs, Jordan, arguably the best ever in the NBA, failed to even make the playoffs in his final two seasons in DC.
If you’d ask Jordan now and he was honest, he’d probably tell you it was a big mistake to wear another uniform other than the Bulls jersey he made famous.
After failing to throw a touchdown against the Titans in a home loss in Foxborough and throwing a game-losing pick-six at the end, Brady should bow out before things get even worse for him.
Don’t forget that Brady won a Super Bowl last year by default. He was bad in that game, too. Brady had no TDs, a pick and a fumble. He was so awful that the Super Bowl MVP went to a receiver who didn’t even score a touchdown.
But after Brady’s terrible game on Saturday, he refused to accept that this was the end.
It’s A Wrap
“It’s unlikely,” Brady said to the media when asked if he would call it a career in the offseason.
“Who knows what the future holds, we’ll leave it at that,” said Brady, who becomes a free agent for the first time in his career on March 18th.
Brady seems set to move on and play elsewhere like so many other great QBs. Joe Montana, Peyton Manning and Brett Favre, to name a few, all finished Hall of Fame careers for other teams.
Hence, the temptation will be there for Brady to do the same. Brady will read all the stories saying it’s not his fault, hear all the analysts rip his teammates. Blame everyone except him. But Brady shouldn’t buy it.
Brady is bad, not close to the same. Father Time is undefeated. Brady should understand it, embrace that fact.
For sure, there will be suitors looking to get an aging, but once great QB. Brady will give some team hope and sell tickets and jerseys. We get it. It’s a business.
The loudest rumor is that Brady will windup in Los Angeles and play for the Chargers. They have great receivers, a running game and a good defense. They also are opening a new showplace stadium next season and need to sell tickets like it’s nobody’s business.
Did we mention that Brady has a home in Southern California or that he put his New England mansion up for sale?
For sure, Brady won’t go quietly. The uniform will have to be ripped off of him. What most don’t get is that there’s nothing wrong with leaving with dignity. Brady shouldn’t make the same mistake so many have.