As Tom Brady is set to make his highly anticipated return to Foxboro to play the Patriots this Sunday, there seems to be a lot of revisionist history being thrown around this week about how his Patriots career ended. I’m here to tell you that Tom Brady no longer being in New England had more to do with Brady himself than it did Bill Belichick.
First of all, can we stop acting like Brady was playing at an MVP level during his last two years here in New England. In 2018 the team was 9-5, coming off back to back losses, the passing game and offense overall was struggling. Entering week 16 they had to completely change the offense and turn to the running game to salvage the season. Yes, Brady made some big throws in the AFC Championship game against the Chiefs but that entire Super Bowl run was about the running game. If they continued playing offense the way they did most of that year, they would’ve never won the Super Bowl. Brady could no longer do it himself. The Patriots had to turn to the running game, the defense and coaching to win that Super Bowl.
In 2019, Brady was a shell of himself. He had one of the worst QB ratings of his career, his fewest TD passes in over a decade. He was once revered as a QB that elevated his receivers and could make any receiver, a good receiver. Not in 2019, his weapons weren’t great around him and he struggled because of it. Could you argue that the Patriots should’ve added more talent around him? Sure, but they did add two of “his guys” and former Pro Bowl receivers Antonio Brown and Mo Sanu. How’d that work out? It blew up in their face. Brady could no longer carry an offense, he needed elite weapons around him, that was evident. The team didn’t win a playoff game that year for the first time in almost a decade and Brady played one of his worst games as a Patriot in his last game as a Patriot.
Brady was clearly declining. It was perfectly natural to think he was only going to get worse and if the Patriots held onto him, they would’ve continued to be an 11-5, first round playoff exit type team, at best, and would likely get worse by the year. But as it turns out, in addition to declining, he also stopped trying. He just didn’t want to be here anymore and was simply going through the motions his last two years here. Brady stopped putting in the work, he wasn’t participating in offseason workouts or minicamps, he wasn’t the “first guy in, last guy out” anymore, he simply wasn’t invested, had no interest in leading the Patriots anymore.
Brady fanatics will tell you that it was Bill Belichick’s fault that Brady turned that way. He was too tough on Brady, he didn’t treat him with enough respect. I call bullshit. Belichick never changed, he was the same coach he’s been his entire life. Brady loved his coaching style early on in his career, he even benefited from it, until he became a superstar and developed an ego, an ego that I never thought Brady would develop but he did. Brady got frustrated by Bill because Brady himself changed, not because Bill changed. It still baffles me that people stick up for Brady in this argument. It pisses me off that Brady become an egotistical blowhard that gave up on the Patriots, stopped putting in the effort and wanted out. That’s on him, not Bill Belichick. Brady is the one that ultimately killed the dynasty.
Bill Belichick had Tom Brady for 20 years, they won 6 Super Bowls together. It got to a point where Brady was aging and wasn’t as invested so Bill was ready to move on to the next guy. He wasn’t going to plateau for two/three years while dealing with Brady’s bullshit to just have to restart in 2023 instead of now. He was ready to start building something for the next era of Patriots football rather than trying to win one more with Brady when he knew that was never going to happen anyway, not with the way Brady was playing or acting.
If Tom Brady stayed here, the Patriots wouldn’t have won the Super Bowl last year and they wouldn’t have Mac Jones now. Sure, Mac Jones might not end up being the guy but if he is, the Patriots are set for the next 10-15 years. With Brady it would have been a couple mediocre years and we would’ve possibly wasted the opportunity for Belichick to draft and develop the next guy before he retires.
Brady chose his fate. He wanted out and it worked out for him. Belichick wanted to begin the clock on the next guy and time will tell if that will work out but I’m sure Belichick is satisfied with where he’s at right now. As a Patriots fan, I was ready to move on from Brady, I’m excited about Mac Jones and the future of the Patriots. Let’s stop pretending like in Brady’s last year here, the Patriots won the Super Bowl, Brady was the MVP and the franchise was flying high, cause it wasn’t. Brady was never going to win the Patriots another Super Bowl, it was time for the Patriots to move on and despite what happened over the last year and a half, it was absolutely the right move.