Brady Makes It Personal
Why Tampa Bay makes sense
In a week dominated by news of the Covid-19, the beginning of the NFL’s new year broke through disaster coverage to remind us of life beyond the virus.
Drew Brees re-signed with the New Orleans Saints, Teddy Bridgewater left New Orleans for a starting opportunity with the division rival Carolina Panthers, and Tom Brady, who has played 20 seasons with and won six Super Bowls with the Patriots made a career turn by signing with…Tampa Bay?
On the surface it’s head scratching. Why would the face of the franchise, arguably the league, leave the only team he’s known, a team that he’s led to 11 straight AFC East titles, for a one that went 7-9 last year and hasn’t even reached the playoffs since 2007?
I’ve got a hunch. The answer is 30.
But before we dive into Brady’s move, I’d like to wish Sean Payton best of luck in fighting the novel coronavirus. Payton announced yesterday that he has tested positive for the virus. While most of us don’t know someone who has contracted the disease, the news personalized the virus for the Black & Gold Nation. This virus is no hoax. Payton said he’s been free of the most dire symptoms. Let’s hope that continues. Get well soon, Coach.
Back to Brady’s decision.
Tom Brady isn’t interested in winning more Super Bowls. If he was, there were better options available to him. He could have stayed in New England or joined the Tennessee Titans, who reached the AFC Championship game last year after disposing of his Patriots. He could have linked up with the Indianapolis Colts or Chicago Bears, who are arguably a few pieces away from being a competitor. Instead, he chose the Bucs.
Thirty. Not the $30 million per season he’s supposedly going to make in pewter and red, rather the number of touchdowns Buccaneers QB Jamis Winston threw last season.
Brady wants to cement his reputation as the “greatest of all time” by capturing two of the NFL’s most coveted individual records – the career marks for all time touchdown passes and completion yards.
Brees currently holds the all-time records for career TDs (547) and yardage (77,416) and will only grow his numbers. Brady is second in both categories (541, 74,571).
Where Brady’s other options are built around a strong defense or running game that can compete for championsips, Tampa doesn’t have a notable D, but it does have the offensive weapons to help him reach his personal goals.
Winston, who threw 30 interceptions last year, also had 30 touchdowns. An immensely better talent, Brady had to ask what could he accomplish in that offensive scheme, especially considering he could possibly convert some of those picks into yards and points.
I have no doubt that Brady will make the Buccaneers better, and he could spark a winning atmosphere in Tampa’s locker room. But I don’t think anyone is saying he is the missing piece that will get them to the Super Bowl.
On his way out of New England, Brady stressed the accomplishments the team made.
Team accomplishments are now in his rearview mirror. Brady is all about his numbers.
His move will make the Saints journey to another NFL Championship that much more difficult. But the dynamics of this offseason will make the coming season more intriguing. But remember this, Brees has the records. He’s intensely competitive and has no interest in slowing down and being eclipsed, even by the GOAT.