You wouldn’t write this script.
Not because it’s entirely unrealistic or because it would be seen as wholly unrealistic in the eyes of the watching audience. But rather, it doesn’t fit the narrative that sports fans have been conditioned to craving: the idealistic, happy ending.
In this ideal world, Tom Brady retires as a New England Patriot. He bows out after 20 formidable years in the same uniform; undisputedly the greatest player in the history of the sport. He never plays for another team, such is his devotion to the almighty Patriots franchise.
The notion of seeing Tom Brady in any other uniform is a foreign concept so unthinkable that it requires an aggressive re-wiring of the brain in order to comprehend such a sight. In this idyllic fantasy, Brady is a Patriot from start to finish.
When the news broke this week that Brady was signing with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, rather than retiring or going back to New England for one more year, the reaction was rightly one of complete and utter shock. The Bucs are a good team – not great, and certainly not a top contender. Tampa is a small market. So why is this good news for football fans?
The dominance of the Brady-Belichick combo has run its course. I’m appreciative to have witnessed a level of dominance that is unlikely to be repeated ever again, but it’s time for a changing of the guard. Brady leaving the Patriots unofficially brings the Patriots’ reign of terror to a much-needed end.
More importantly, sports is about entertainment. The cookie-cutter ending to this saga would never have involved Brady donning another uniform in his age 43 season, but all of a sudden, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have become the most interesting storyline in the NFL heading into the 2020 season.
Even if it all ends in disaster and Brady fails to return to form (completely understandable given his age), at least we’ll know. Brady will have scratched the itch of playing for another team. We, as fans, will be fortunate to witness the GOAT for one more year in a brand new environment. And absolutely none of it detracts from his illustrious career as a New England Patriot, for which he should go down as the most accomplished player to ever grace a football field.
Buckle in folks.