A match made in Patriot Heaven
We all know the story: Tom Brady and Bill Belichick were a marriage made in Heaven. Selected as the 199th overall pick in the sixth round of the 2000 NFL Draft, nobody could have expected or predicted that twenty years later, the Patriots would have been in nine Super-Bowls, winning six of them. Out of those six, Brady was the MVP of four of them. He also roped off three League MVP trophies during his northern exposure years.
Most successful and dominant teams in NFL History
Without a doubt, there has never been a dynasty like that of Tom Brady’s Patriots. 17 seasons the Pats won their division. Brady has never had a losing season in the NFL. His accolades, trophies, and awards could easily fill a good-sized room. That Success, in a roundabout way, helped pave his eventual road to Tampa Bay. I’ll get back to that in a bit.
The consummate teammate, and player
Tom Brady always gave his best to those Patriots teams. He is the poster child for dedication to his team. Sometimes there isn’t a better gauge of one’s dedication than the almighty dollar. From the beginning, Brady’s contracts with the Patriots were on the low side. At one point, a contract he received for the 2011-2014 seasons was a record deal (briefly). To sum it all up, basically, for the last ten years, Brady never received elite quarterback pay. He continued working with the team to structure and restructure his contracts to allow the Patriots more cap room to bring in more talent and retain what they already had. Taking less money numerous times for the benefit of the team says more than anyone could possibly write about it.
Putting his lack of payment where his heart was
He has always been atop of the heap of team players, not just as far as the Patriots go, but any player on any NFL team for that matter. He was thought to be the G.O.A.T. years before his time in New England ended. Not ever getting paid like it is unfortunate. Another quarterback might have left their team for free agency, to receive what would have absolutely been a large pay raise. Not Tom, he always met Robert Kraft halfway. Honestly, how many players would have done that, especially ones that are the very best at their position?
His road to Tampa Bay was paved in MVP Trophies
That brings me back to the road paved to Tampa. More than a few people, fans, writers, etc. have stated they believe that Tom is just a shining example of the system he has played under and nothing more than a benefit of Belichik’s brilliance. In other words, Brady accomplished what he did because he was a Patriot. Those beliefs by many undoubtedly played a part in Tom Brady deciding to turn down the pittance that the team offered him for this season and seek a job elsewhere. If he goes somewhere else and wins a Super-Bowl, his doubters would certainly have to retract their opinions, wouldn’t they?
Still, something to prove for the G.O.A.T. after all he has accomplished?
What if he ended up signing for one of the historically worst teams in the NFL? A team that had a brief stint on the top of the world, but mostly for the rest of their time in the NFL has been a cellar dweller? One that finished with a losing record of 7-9 the previous season to boot? What if he signed a two year deal with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers? To the Bucs credit, there haven’t been that many 7-9 teams with as much talent as the Bucs had. So it’s not like he’s coming to a dog of a team. He is coming to a team that is probably a quarterback, and a couple of offensive linemen away from being a top tier team. If Tom Brady at 43 years old could come here and lead this team to a Super-Bowl win – Tom’s seventh ring – the last remaining obstacle in many’s eyes would be removed to being the undisputed G.O.A.T.!
Expectations go through the roof and a little story
Now that Tom Brady has landed in Tampa. The already high expectations have now gone sky high, and why not, Tom has never had a losing season and quarterbacked his prior team to 17 division titles. There is a story told by Robert Kraft concerning the first time he ever met Tom Brady. Tom was coming down the steps of the old Foxboro Stadium with a pizza box under his arm. A skinny beanpole at the time. Tom introduced himself to Mr. Kraft. Kraft knew Tom was about to tell him who he was. So he jumped in first and told him that he knew, he was the Patriots sixth-round draft choice, Tom Brady. Kraft said that Tom looked him straight in the eye, and said “I’m the best decision this organization has ever made”. How ironic, he might turn out to be the best free-agent decision the Bucs have ever made? Winning a Super-Bowl at both ends of the spectrum would be one for the history books, and certainly a much-welcomed occurrence in Tampa. Go Bucs!!