Two decades is a long time for just about anything, but to play for the same organization for 20 years and to compete in nine championships is simply unheard of. Well, Tom Brady pulled it off—as he is one of only four football players to ever play with the same team for 20-plus seasons. Brady is right on par—in fact, perhaps even better—than Tim Duncan, Derek Jeter and Kobe Bryant. Those really are the three names that come to mind when you think about modern champions who stayed with one team. Many of the greats, like Michael Jordan, Joe Montana, and Peyton Manning, all changed teams at the end. Of all people, I do not think that fans of the New England Patriots ever wanted to believe that Number 12 could ever walk out the door. However, as we enter the 2020 league year, Tom Brady has decided to sign with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
As fans, of course we are all hurting. For many of us, Tom Brady is all that we have ever known. We were born into a winning culture that essentially started with him, and it truly lasted for two decades. There were at the very least three different occasions in which anyone outside of New England thought for sure that the dynasty would be over, but Brady always had a way to make it continue. It felt everlasting in a way. Unfortunately, whether people want to admit it or not, at the end of the day Belichick and Brady just could not get on the same page. Money was not necessarily the issue; many say that Brady just wanted “respect” and would consider that multiple years on his contract, and a much better supporting cast. He did not feel that the Patriots could provide him with that, and there is no doubt that any other franchise would be happy to appease him—and it just so happened that Tampa Bay ended up being the one.
Looking at the decision from strictly a football standpoint, it could not make more sense. The Buccaneers have one of the most talented offensive rosters in the entire NFL; Mike Evans and Chris Godwin are two receivers that are worlds ahead of just about any receiver who was suiting up for the Patriots last year (besides Edelman of course). Bruce Arians is a coach that many say will be perfect for Brady, but it is obviously tough to tell. He revamped Carson Palmer at the end of his career in Arizona, and now we will get an opportunity to see if he can do so with the G.O.A.T. in Tampa Bay.
With all of that said, from the business side of things, I am not so sure that Brady made the right move. It is evident that he intends for his TB12 brand to really take off after retirement. If he plays until he is 45 as he has always said he would, his brand will inevitably be stronger and will thrive more than it ever has. However, he could have brought his brand to the Los Angeles Chargers, the Las Vegas Raiders, or even the Tennessee Titans. The Chargers, Raiders, and Titans all play in way better markets than the Buccaneers, and I believe they would have signed Brady had he shown genuine interest.
Either way, Tom Brady is on a legacy run and is approaching his most anticipated season of his entire career. He will play Drew Brees twice, Patrick Mahomes once, and even Aaron Rodgers. Oh yeah, and the Super Bowl is in Tampa Bay next season. No team in the history of the NFL has ever had the chance to host a Super Bowl. Perhaps the most intriguing part of the deal is the realization that fans are finally going to see the truth about Tom Brady and Bill Belichick—did one of them need the other, or were they both great on their own? No one truly knows at the moment, but we sure will have our answer soon enough.