“Tom Brady–The Best–Bolts”
A farewell to arms is the way to describe it.
Parting such bitter sorrow.
End of an era.
Pick any literary description and it probably fits in New England.
Tom Brady has departed the Patriots, ending a fabulous 20-year run under Bill Belicheck.
Others with accolades have left. Joe Montana traded to Kansas City. Peyton Manning signing in Denver. Brett Favre to the Jets.
This is probably the greatest era any QB has had dating back to the 1950s, Otto Graham-Paul Brown, in a very different era on pro football.
Brady’s legacy forever written in the hearts and minds of those in the ‘state’ of New England.
20-years….6-Super Bowl Rings…(6-3) record on Super Bowl Sunday…(219-64) carrear regular season record…(30-11) post season record….(614-TD)…(214-Int)….QB-rating (97.5).
It was a day of press releases coming out of Boston.
Brady, in a 6-sentence statement said he was ‘ready for a new stage of his career’. He profusely praised the Patriots ‘thankful for their committment to winning’. And for someone, who was an afterthought in the draft, a 6th rounder, he praised his coaches ‘allowing me to maximize my talents’.
Owner Robert Kraft raved about the player and person, ‘overwhelmingly appreciative of his 20-years…6-rings..9-AFC titles…14-Pro Bowls…17-Divisional titles and 3-MVP awards. The owner called him ‘a son forever’.
A non emotional Bill Belicheck lavished comments never-ever heard before from him, ‘Tom created our program, he lived our culture, he set the tone for our team, he always raised the bar with his relentless approach.’ And Belicheck, normally terse with the media, closed his release with words like ‘love-admiration-respect-privledge to coach.’
You may dislike the New England way, despise the coach, or boo the quarterback, but you have to respect the accomplishments. The 400-yard games, the come from behind wins, the post-season awards.
It is hard to believe Brady left Gillette Stadium, but his exit meeting with Belicheck did not go well. A letdown of a season, a team ravaged by injuries to skill players, others who underachieved, a QB rating of just 88, and an exit from the playoffs, was the final chapter in his New England book. He wanted to know what the braintrust was going to do to put better people around him.
And as free agency began, New England has yet to sign anyone 48-hours into the process.
For Brady, despite a 30M-offer from ownership last season, he wanted the team to do a better job, not just pay him.
It must have been an emotional sit-down on Monday night in Kraft’s Brookline mansion. Kraft admitted there was sadness on both sides in that dining room table discussion.
Belicheck, who has always been in ‘move on mode’ was not part of the meeting. Maybe his hardline approach to moving veterans out a ‘year early than a year too late’ was part of the equation.
The defining moments are everywhere. When he replaced an injured Drew Bledsoe years ago and led the Bill Parcells-built Pats to wins. The snow ridded Tuck Rule game with the Raiders. Coming back from a (28-3) deficit to beat the Falcons in the Super Bowl. The Deflategate win over Seattle that Super Bowl Sunday. Outdueling the kid, Patrick Mahomes to win an AFC title shootout in Kansas City. A 40-year old guy throwing for (4,577-32TD) just a year back. You could go on and on. It won’t ever happen again
Hard to imagine him wearing someone else’s colors next season. You wonder what Patriots football will be like with Auburn’s Jarret Stidman as the starter, or an Andy Dalton like acquisition.
As all the dominos are falling in the QB-race, Philip Rivers to the Colts, Drew Bree’s re-signing with the Saints, along with his backup Taysom Hill…Teddy Bridgewater to Carolina…more and more it appears Brady is going to the Suncoast to play for Bruce Arians and Tampa Bay.
He will have a gifted group of receivers and tight ends, led by Mike Evans and OJ Howard. He will have a strong offensive line. He may have a reported (3Y-102M) deal with 68M-guaranteed. He will have a unique head coach, who cares for him.
As the hours passed once free agency opened, it looked as if the Chargers had a real chance with a (2Y-68M) offer, all guaranteed. But as the Bolts started to shed some players, Brady must have written them off. Play for a coach who wants to run the ball (Anthony Lynn), vs play for a mad scientist (Arians) wanting to throw it, like made a difference. Knowing what Kurt Warner accomplished in a second life with Arians, had to influence him too. Playing before sellouts (Tampa Bay) rather than empty seats (Los Angeles).
We will see what Wednesday brings us in the free agent market, but the best has bolted, and it does not appear Tom Brady is coming to the Lightning Bolts.
Hard to think of New England, without Plymouth Rock. Hard to think of the Patriots without Tom Brady.
And now he is gone.
Brady & Buccaneers-that’s what it seems to feel like.
It may feel bad in the Chargers front office.. if they failed to get him.
It definitely has a different feel, a sad one too in Foxboro-forever more.