Tom Brady Retires But Snubs Patriots Teammates, Coaches, Fans
We all knew this was coming. I started thinking about how this day would feel about seven or eight years ago. What would it be like to watch football without my favorite player? Tom Brady can't play forever. I knew it would be such a bummer when he retired – but I never dreamed Brady would do this.
Brady mindfully excluded all things Patriots from today's retirement announcement, but the biggest question of the day is: why?
For more than 20 years, Brady was more than a terrific player; he was a role model to how to be a great teammate and how to work hard to achieve your wildest dreams in life. While talking with my son, I would often point to him as an example of how to be a leader, and a gracious winner.
That's why it's so baffling that a guy who was a first-class teammate for 22 years never mentioned his teammates with whom he spent the majority of his career. Brady spent more than 90 percent of his career on Route 1 in Foxboro, but couldn't even bring himself to acknowledge the team that had faith in him when no one else did.
It was the Patriots that drafted Brady after every other team in football had SIX chances to do so. It was Bill Belichick that withstood the fierce media pressure during the Pats' first Super Bowl run. He started the kid over the proven veteran, Drew Bledsoe. He gave Brady his first shot. Those two men created a lifetime of memories for one another and for Patriots fans around the world.
I feel sad for Brady that he felt the need burn his Patriots roots.
In today's goodbye to the NFL, Brady thanked everything and everyone Tampa Bay. Thank you to his Bucs teammates, Bucs trainers, coaches, janitors, cafeteria workers, ushers, the Bucs mail carrier, the Bucs box office workers, and the Bucs bus drivers. He thanked the landscapers that maintain the mulch and flowers outside of the stadium, but somehow, Brady forgot to mention one single Patriot. Not one coach. Not one teammate. Not one fan. No one.
It's like New England never happened.
So many Patriots fans, including me, didn't turn our back on Brady when he broke our hearts and brought Gronk to Tampa Bay for one last hurrah. We took his side. We loved him. Yet, Brady added insult to injury today when he made the conscious decision to omit all things Patriots.
It seems the rift between Brady and the Patriots is deeper than we could have imagined. Even if TB12 has a problem with Robert Kraft and Coach Belichick, why would you intentionally leave out a tip of the cap to your fellow brothers that helped you win six Super Bowls? As Giselle famously said after the second Giants Super Bowl loss, "My husband can't throw AND catch the passes." No he can't. His success with the Patriots was a team effort, and Brady inexplicably forgot his team and his fans who feverishly spent the past 22 years cheering for him to win.
There's no way that Brady wrote his retirement speech without at least 10 people proofreading it before publishing. Someone must have said, "Hey Tommy, did you forget the Patriots? What about the fans?" And he must have said, "Forget them."
Disappointing isn't the word.
My only hope is that Brady has something bigger and better planned for Patriots fans. Maddie suggested maybe he's going to release an amazing video. A co-worker wondered if Brady isn't planning a return to Foxboro on Thursday, the 20th anniversary of the Patriots' first Super Bowl win.
For 22 years, Brady has been Mr. Perfect. He’s done everything right. He’s been an incredible athlete and an ambassador for the game. Leaving the Patriots out of this announcement after a beautiful 22-year story is like fumbling on the 1-yard line of his career. Why be remembered like this by so many New England fans? Why leave us with salt in our mouths?
Hopefully he comes to his senses before the G.O.A.T. becomes just a goat.
UPDATE: It should be acknowledged that later this afternoon Brady ended up “sharing” the heartfelt message from Mr. Kraft posted to social by the Patriots to his Instagram story. The Instagram share included a quick “Thank you @patriots and Patriot Nation.” To me, it feels a little like saying “you too” after someone says “I love you.” With Edelman’s “Foxboro forever” pic of Brady post there is hope that something bigger is brewing here. Then there was the fake tweet that suggested Brady would make a speech at Patriot Place tomorrow that has since been debunked. So many emotions today. It’s too much.