by Terri Bey
Unless you have been living under a rock, NFL fans and even non-fans should know by now that six time Super Bowl winning QB Tom Brady will be leaving the New England Patriots after 20 years with the team, when Free Agency starts on Wednesday, March 18, 2020 at 4pm, EST. To many fans of the New England Patriots, this comes as quite a shock, as many of them grew up only knowing Tom Brady as the quarterback for their team. However, for many astute fans of the team, who were paying close attention, this moment was not much of a surprise and the writing was on the wall during many points during the season.
There was the disastrous Antonio Brown experiment, and Josh Gordon’s issues leaving the team with a dearth of wide receivers. The trade for former Atlanta Falcons WR Mohammed Sanu didn’t go well, as he had a hard time learning the system and was hampered by a high ankle sprain. The only dependable receiver, WR Julian Edelman, was injured virtually the entire season. The offensive line was in tatters, and you could see Brady’s frustrations bubbling in his press conferences and in interviews. He also negotiated a contract prior to this last season, where the team could not put the franchise tag or transition tag, and he could go test free agency. He announced on Social Media that he is leaving the Patriots and thanked the Patriots organization and the fans. An extraordinary era in not only the history of a franchise, but in the NFL, has ended.
Tom Brady is my all time favorite NFL player and my all time favorite quarterback and I have seen many greats in my 40 plus years as a fan. Tom Brady is the G.O.A.T. (Greatest Of All Time). I have had the pleasure of seeing Tom Brady play in person many times and he is everything the experts, his teammates and even his opponents say that he is. Brady is like a surgeon, when he operates that offense. I love how he builds confidence in his teammates. I was at the game in Cleveland, OH in Week 5 of 2016, when Brady returned from that ridiculous suspension, and what a show he put on. Brady put on a clinic by marching down that field and scoring at will against the Browns. I knew immediately that this team was winning the Super Bowl and win it, they did. 28-3, anyone?
Tom Brady, this Patriots fan wants to thank you for all the great thrills you gave us. You took the Patriots from being a middling franchise at the time to being the class of the NFL. What a thrill ride you gave us. I still remember the “Snow Ball” Game, where you lead us into that famous OT win over the Oakland Raiders to send the Patriots to their first Super Bowl of the Brady Era, Super Bowl 36. I remember your leading the Patriots down the field in that very Super Bowl, so then Patriots K Adam Vinatieri kicks the winning FG to defeat QB Kurt Warner and the favored St. Louis Rams to kick off the Patriots Dynasty. I can still see your looking for your sisters in the stands in my mind. What great memories for us fans to cherish.
Thank you, Tom Brady for leading the Patriots to eight more Super Bowls. with five more wins. I loved how you out-dueled Panthers QB Jake Delhomme and the Carolina Panthers in Super Bowl 38 and defeated QB Donovan McNabb and the Philadelphia Eagles in Super 39. Of course, even though the year didn’t end like we Pats fans wanted it, I will always appreciate your brilliant MVP 2007 season. I thank you for the great comeback in Super Bowl 49 against the Seattle Seahawks. Of course, then Patriots CB Malcolm Butler did help seal the deal. Thank you for all of these great moments and I especially thank you for the greatest comeback since Lazarus. I am, of course, referring to Super Bowl 51, when you brought the Patriots all the way back from a 25 point deficit to beat the Atlanta Falcons in the first OT in a Super Bowl. The score was 28-3 and I remember how many people thought the team was left for dead. I figured as long as you were behind center, the team had a chance. That one scamper you made in the 3rd quarter of that Super Bowl to get the first down was awesome and when you threw the TD to make the score 28-9, I knew you would bring the Lombardi back to New England and you certainly did. Super Bowl 53 against the Los Angeles Rams was just icing on the cake. That throw to Gronkowski was just legendary.
To Tom, I would finally like to thank you for your charity and your integrity and grace under pressure. For those who don’t know, Tom Brady has been involved in various charities, like Best Buddies, the Boys and Girls Club of America and other charities. Brady has also shown a lot of poise and grace under pressure, especially when he suffered the ACL injury and also during the 18 month saga, where the NFL pretty much tried to smear him and destroy his good name over missing molecules of air in a football, thanks to the weather. I have never seen a sports league go out of its way to purposely attempt to discredit and destroy its best player, like what the NFL did to Brady, with the help of the mainstream media, particularly ESPN. I admired how Brady was able to hold it together and was able to lead the Patriots to the 2015 AFC Championship Game, during all the appeals and such. Of course, we all know that he wound up serving the most absurd suspension ever given to an athlete for anything for the first 4 games of the 2016 Season. We all know what happened for the Patriots, right? Psst. 28-3. Oh, did I also mention that Tom Brady was the Super Bowl MVP?
It will definitely be different in Foxborough next NFL season. I mean, to see Tom Brady in a different uniform next season will be jarring, to say the least. Who will be under center for the Patriots next year? Will it be QB Jason Stidham? Will it be a newly drafted QB? Will it be a signed veteran? We will have to see. After 20 years of saying, “Belichick and Brady,” and “Brady and Belichick,” it will take awhile to say, “Belichick and….”
I conclude this blog by simply saying, “Thank you, Mr. Tom Brady.” “Thank you for everything.”
Feedback is welcome and encouraged.