The Brady Factor: for better or worse, may retirement do us part4 min read
All things to all men
It’s no secret that the Bucs’ ship is hopelessly floundering. So where’s the captain of this ship when there should be all hands on deck? Why he’s at Robert Kraft’s wedding, that’s where. I’m being dramatic, of course. I couldn’t allow a chance to throw that in there to pass me by. Let me try and answer the above question without poking fun at the GOAT this time. Not long after Brady arrived in 2020, the team let it be known that Tom Brady was indeed a coach on the field and that it was a lot of his own shadow looming large over the offense. Brady okayed the plays and was hands-on in the offensive scheme of things. It was Tom Brady’s touch that so often got the team over the hump. Whether it was a speech that lifted the team to a greater height or maybe just a line or two in a text message to an individual, Brady seemed to have everything in his bag that his teammates could ever need to lift them to desired heights of glory. Brady was looked up to as almost a God. At least in the respect category, he was. The best part of that was that he was also one of the guys, a fellow player on the same level as his teammates. Fast-forward to 2022, and it’s becoming obvious that things have been changing.
A faltering marriage and Robert Kraft
I’m not going to try and speculate how much Tom Brady does or does not love his wife. It’s none of my business. I can imagine that there have been some very significant inner battles raging inside Mr. Brady since his decision to unretire. On the one hand, you have an extremely competitive athlete whose drive to play is still very strong. Then weigh that against the wishes of your wife and children and what you probably know is the right “family” thing to do. Before you know it, you have both hired divorce attorneys, and you and your family are not living together anymore in the same home. That reality has got to be weighing on the man. It was said to be personal family reasons when Brady missed time in the preseason. It was speculated that Brady was putting in more time on the home front to help ease the impact of unretiring. Although unheard of and rare that a player would leave the team to tend to matters not related to sickness or a death in the family. It was accepted, but with much media discussion. After all, it was rumored to be concerning Brady’s family situation. Hard to have a problem with that. Moving ahead to the Steelers’ game, once again, Brady disappeared from the team the day before the game. News outlets reported that Brady had attended the wedding of Patriots owner and friend Robert Kraft. Now Brady wasn’t attending to family; he was being an elitist. That type of thing is a little harder for teammates to swallow. Brady wasn’t on their level now, not just one of the guys anymore. He was taking advantage of things, maybe in their eyes. Unless you are a part of it, you cannot say for sure how it was taken. I think the speculative situation I just mentioned is certainly within the realm of possibilities.
Not the same leader or player in 2022
Whatever the reasons for how we have gotten to where we stand now, it is our reality. Tom Brady isn’t the same. His leadership and play on the field are in question for really the first time in his NFL Career. When you hear him in post-game press conferences. He just seems sad and somewhat lost. While his mouth professes what he and the team must do to get back on track, his face and body language reveal that he has absolutely no clue as to how to make it happen. Just like when the Brady factor meant an uplifting word or lifting the team by example: these are the positives. The Brady Factor 2022 is the opposite, squarely landing on the negative. There’s a saying that the same thing that can make you laugh; can make you cry, and it applies well to the Bucs 2022 edition. Tom Brady is the captain of captains, the king of kings, and this team’s undeniable coach on the field. Brady cannot, of course, be blamed for everything that’s wrong with the current Buccaneers’ team. He can’t throw and catch touchdowns to Mike Evans. Players have to own their culpability for this mess. But, just as Brady was the spark to another ring, he is now leading the charge into a spiraling mess of failure and it is affecting his teammates to a negative outcome so far this season. The team’s coach on the field is going to have to lead the effort at redemption. It’s going to take everyone to save the ship, but he must lead them there; lead, and they will follow. Will this be how Brady’s legacy ends, or can he reach down deep and find the ability to be the GOAT, again? Stay tuned. Go Bucs!!