When Tom Brady made a name for himself over 20 years ago as Drew Bledsoe’s temporary replacement, I was amazed by the guy. I was even more excited to see Bill Belichick go with his gut and use Brady throughout the playoffs and eventually the Super Bowl, despite Bledsoe being able to return. Eventually, Brady defeated the Rams and got his first Super Bowl victory. It was a very feel good underdog type moment that any sports fan could appreciate.
But then, I began to grow tired of him. I then began to loathe him. Why?
Because the guy was unstoppable and at every turn was a contender. The man seemingly built an empire overnight. Always leading his team to what seemed at a minimum of an AFC Championship appearance. And as a fan of the then Washington Redskins, that ire was probably due to pure jealousy that my team could never seem to get ahead. If my team couldn’t win, I at least wanted to see someone different win the big one once in a while. But here was Brady, chalking up win after win and ring after ring.
Of course the SpyGate and Deflategate scandals did not help anything. I remember specifically when Deflategate was a thing, it was easy to just assume he was guilty than actually look at the facts. It was just added fuel to hate a guy who achieved success at the highest of levels.
Not only that, Brady was so machine like during his time in New England. He did not have a very likable personality. Even during his interactions with the media, he just seemed stoic and showed little to no personality.
But then something changed. After nearly two decades in New England, the unthinkable happened. Tom Brady left New England and went to Tampa Bay. The reign of supremacy in New England was dead. Shortly thereafter, former teammate Rob Gronkowski joined him in Tampa. All of a sudden, Tom Brady seemed like he was having fun. Enjoying the twilight of his career, showing his personality in the media, and it was hard not to root for the guy. Check a few of these videos out below to see what I’m talking about.
As we all know, in his first season with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Brady went on to lead his team to their first Super Bowl appearance and victory since 2002. During the entire season, Brady seemed happy to be playing the game again. Don’t get me wrong, he was just as competitive as ever, but you could see in his eyes that he was happy to have found a new home. He became so much more relatable to the casual NFL fan. And of course, who could forget the infamous Super Bowl party in Tampa?
If you didn’t like the up tight ultra competitive Tom Brady before, how could you not love the guy in the above videos? This is the guy over analyzes everything he puts in his body, but clearly did not care on this day because he got completely hammered to the point he was throwing around the Lombardi Trophy from one boat to another.
Of course, this year did not turn out as great for the Buccaneers. While they still easily won the NFC South division title and made it through the Wild Card round of the playoffs, they suffered a close but disappointing to loss to the Los Angeles Rams. Brady still chalked up an MVP caliber season with the following stats.
To the surprise of some, Brady commented on his status with the Buccaneers leading many times believe that he might actually be calling it a career. Brady always said that he wanted to play until he was 45, and he is currently 44. While many are skeptical, Tom made it very clear he is going to take some time to think about next season.
All I can say is that as a lifelong Tom Brady hater, whatever his decision is, I’m glad I got the opportunity to sit back and enjoy the the twilight of his career. I’m no longer a Brady hater, more of an enthusiast if anything. I enjoyed watching the greatest of all time finish his career on his terms, still being the competitor that he is and having fun while doing it.
If this truly is the end for Tom, he should have no regrets. He changed the game of football forever and there will never be anybody as great as he was.
But with all that said, I think he’s got one more year left in him. And if he comes back, he will get that elusive 8th ring.