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Brady’s time had come to go

Twenty years ago, Tom Brady was drafted by the New England Patriots and began a long and successful run that included nine appearances and six wins in the ultimate NFL game, the Super Bowl.

On St. Patrick’s Day, a day used to celebrate Irish heritage, or for most people, just an excuse to party heavily, Brady broke the hearts of Irish-heavy New England by announcing he was leaving the franchise. He officially signed his deal on March 20, leaving many people with questions, and not just those in Patriot land.

Where did he decide to go? About the most unlikely NFL city you could come up with. Rather than retire, Brady embraced his inner retiree and decided to go to Florida, specifically Tampa Bay.

He went from a franchise that he turned into a perpetual championship contender to a team that for the most part has been one of the most hapless in league history.

Yes, the Buccaneers have won a Super Bowl, but they’ve only made the playoffs 10 times in their existence, most recently in 2007. That’s tied for 29th with Arizona and the only teams with fewer started their existence in the mid-1990s or early 2000s.

That’s not exactly a franchise that you’d think would make one of the best quarterbacks ever eager to go from a Patriot to a pirate.

And that’s the biggest question. Why did Brady leave? People had been wondering how much longer he’d stick around with the Patriots as his age started to approach 40.

However, that curiosity reached its peak in January when New England was upset in the first round of the NFL playoffs by Tennessee. Brady’s last pass as a Patriot was a pick-six interception that clinched the win for the Titans.

It was eerily similar to Brett Favre’s last pass with Green Bay when people started to wonder the same thing about him.

Brady avoided the drama Favre had, though, by leaving and signing fairly quickly. Still, the questions remained and according to ESPN, Brady showed signs he wanted to go at the postgame press conference after the loss to the Titans.

They said he looked “liberated” and when he left the stadium, he walked quickly and did so to “put off a clear vibe that he did not want to be stopped.”

What makes a person walk like that? Someone who finally felt free, which he was at that moment.

He was a free agent and could sign anywhere he wanted. Most importantly, he was free from his head coach, Bill Belichick.

A notorious control freak, Belichick seemed for awhile that he was more than willing to move on from Brady, more than Brady was to move on from him and the team.

It was no secret that Belichick wanted current San Francisco QB Jimmy Garoppolo to be Brady’s heir, as he was his backup for four seasons, and according to ESPN, Belichick “repeatedly offered” Garoppolo expensive four-year deals.

Just imagine being your company’s top guy, the Tom Brady of the outfit, and behind the scenes, they’re throwing money at a guy to potentially replace you, even though you’re doing a great job. You probably wouldn’t take that well and neither did Brady.

The Sporting News also said Belichick banned Brady’s trainer, Alex Guerrero, from the team plane and the sideline. Now, Guerrero’s wellness ideas were, shall we say, questionable, but there’s another reason Brady had to be irked.

His coach is trying to replace him and his trainer/friend won’t be allowed around the team, but the biggest factor in Brady wanting to bolt was that he wanted an extension and the Patriots didn’t want to give him that.

ESPN also said after the Patriots lost to Philadelphia in Super Bowl LII (52), Brady was upset and the vibe he gave off was that he was fed up and it appeared to be mostly with his coach.

During his Facebook docuseries “Tom vs. Time,” Brady’s wife, Giselle Bundchen, told people that he tells her “I love it so much, and I just want to go to work and feel appreciated and have fun.”

As ESPN pointed out, that sounded like a different Brady. He didn’t want to just win championships, he wanted his bosses to appreciate him and wanted to enjoy coming to work. To be honest, isn’t that what we all want from our jobs?

Even after he helped get the Patriots their sixth title, New England still wouldn’t give its QB the respect he deserved. NBC Sports Boston said that the Brady was set to leave, but the Patriots eventually gave him a new contract.

However, it was just a one-year deal and he could void it at the end of the season. Brady then made it pretty clear that he was prepared to do so as he put his house up for sale.

During the course of the season, ESPN stated that Brady told NBC that he was “the most miserable 8-0 quarterback in the NFL.” Think about that for a second. The man had multiple Super Bowl rings, was a multimillionaire and was basically a step below God in the Boston sports world, but he was extremely unhappy.

So Brady left and I don’t blame him. He’s going to suit up for the Bucs, who may not have had the most success over the last four decades, but they have a more relaxed atmosphere led by head coach Bruce Arians, better receivers and a chance to start over.

Brady now has an opportunity to join a team that appears to be on the rise, just like New England was two decades earlier.

Most importantly, though, he has a chance to be happy again, and to do that he had to leave New England. It was time for him to go and he made the right decision.

Ryan Stieg can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 252. His email address is rstieg@miningjournal.net.

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