Tom Brady is not a New England Patriot and I am sad

Tom Brady is no longer a New England Patriot. I don’t even know if I’ve fully processed the news yet. I spent all of yesterday in denial after waking up to the news that Brady would still be playing football next season, but that it would be somewhere other than with the team he has called home for 20 years. I knew that the end was near, but I always figured that Brady would retire as a member of the Patriots. This just feels wrong.

I was shocked by the news. Obviously, the relationship between Brady and Bill Belichick had some flaws, but both always seemed to be on the same page when it came to their ultimate goal of winning. That’s what made New England the most dominant franchise in sports over the last two decades. Some cracks in that foundation became visible during the Jimmy G saga, where it was clear that Belichick was trying to prepare for a future without Brady. It’s not exactly a secret that both want to prove that they can win without each other, and now they’ll both have their chance. But this just doesn’t sit right with Patriots fans.

Tom Brady was supposed to retire as a member of the New England Patriots. I would’ve been okay with the Patriots overpaying Brady to keep him around, even if it meant the team wouldn’t be as good these next couple of seasons. When you have the greatest quarterback of all time on your roster, you don’t just let him walk as a free agent. There are reports that the Patriots never really began to negotiate with Brady, which tells me that either this split has been in the making for a long time, or that Belichick thought Brady would test the market and then give the Patriots a chance to make their final offer before he made a decision. Turns out that the Patriots aren’t going to get that chance.

Brady appears set to join the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for a deal that will reportedly pay him about $30 million per season. Brady’s reason for leaving New England is still unclear. Was it based on the money? Or did he feel it was time to move on from Belichick? That’s a question that likely won’t be answered for a long time, if ever.

The Patriots are now in an unfamiliar situation. The offense struggled last season even with Brady, and now they’ll look to continue their dominance in the AFC East with a new quarterback that may or may not be on the roster right now. Jarrett Stidham and Cody Kessler are the only quarterbacks under contract on the team right now. It leaves Belichick with a decision to make regarding the future of the franchise. Do you see what you have in Stidham, whether that be good or bad, or do you try to bring in someone new such as the guy that Brady is replacing in Tampa Bay? Jameis Winston has problems with ball security obviously, but if the Patriots feel like their defense can still win some games then why not try to build up the offense a little bit.

As a Patriots fan, this absolutely sucks, but you can’t really be mad at Brady. He’s a free agent and he has every right to be able to go where he feels is best. But part of me can’t help but feel like he’s giving up on New England. Either way, Brady has given me some of the best sports memories of my life. September to February every year was always Patriots season for me. I was just a kid for the first three Super Bowls, but the games against the Seahawks, Falcons and Rams were some of my favourites. I have a 28-3 flag in my room, I have a throwback red Brady jersey that I still plan on wearing proudly. My only regret is that I never made it to Gillette Stadium to see him play in person.

Brady’s list of records seems endless, and I’m sure he’ll continue to break records in Tampa Bay. It just sucks seeing the greatest Patriot of all time playing in a different uniform. Luckily, the Patriots don’t play the Buccaneers this season, so I’ll still be able to cheer for my team and my favourite quarterback.

I’m stuck at home during this outbreak and have a stack of books to read, but it hurts too much to dive into any books about Brady right now. It’s going to be strange seeing Brady in a new uniform when the new season starts. Honestly I’m not sure how I’ll handle it. I’ll probably just keep trading Brady back to New England in every Madden franchise I play just to make myself feel a little bit better. My biggest hope now is that Tom comes back to New England to retire as a Patriot. In the meantime, I’ll keep watching these Brady highlights over and over and over again.

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