It started with TB12. The player who was once all about the team first and was in line with this notion that no one player is above the team has all but gone away. Over time, the man many call the greatest football player of all time has become a “me first” guy.
The creation of Tom-MEEE Brady started in 2013 when Brady launched the TB12 center with Alex Guerrero. However, it was not a flip of the switch. If fact, at that time, Brady was still invested in his team first. He attended the offseason workouts. He spoke very highly of the organization in his interviews and he wore Patriots great proudly. With each season that passed, Brady’s ego got a little bit bigger. He became hungry for star treatment…
Then when the Patriots drafted Jimmy Garoppolo in 2014, Brady clearly wasn’t happy. Bill Belichick spoke about needing to plan for the future at the QB position. This drove Brady’s ego and ultimately benefitted the Patriots as #12 got into the best physical shape of his entire career. The Patriots went on win the Super Bowls in 2014 and 2016 with Brady leading them to comeback victories to titles #4 and 5. As this was all happening, we began to see TB12 gear at the Brady press conferences. We saw less Patriots gear. We saw more promotion of his personal brand as he joined social media and marketed his products. In addition, the relationship with his coach began to sour.
Belichick was not going to change his style to accommodate star treatment. That’s not what the “Patriot Way” is all about. So, when the greatest coach of all time was told he needed to trade Jimmy Garoppolo in 2017 to accommodate Brady, he did so reluctantly. Belichick knew what was happening. His job was to win and put the team first. But, he also felt that the team could win with Garoppolo at that point in his career. After the Patriots lost the Super Bowl to the Eagles in 2017, we all got to see the next chapter in the Tom-MEEE Brady story. It was called “Tom vs. Time”. Brady did a documentary focusing on his work in TB12 and how driven he was to win and reach peak performance. In the end when the Patriots lost the Super Bowl, he was quoted saying “what am I doing this for?” “Who am I doing this for”?
That offseason, Brady was the only starting quarterback in the NFL to not attend OTA’s. The Patriots have always put a heavy emphasis on these practices. Brady knew that. He put himself first. He did so again in his final season with the Patriots in 2019. However, it wasn’t until the end of the season what it became evidently clear that Tom-MEEE Brady was now in full effect.
When Brady joined the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in March, he thanked the Patriots and their fans for his years in New England. However, since then made it clear that he knew he was not returning to the team last summer. Essentially, all of the whining we heard from Brady after team wins was due to the fact that he didn’t get his way. Wins weren’t enough. We wanted to win and also put up big numbers to prove to everyone that he could still play at an elite level. As his numbers and play dipped, he grew more frustrated and often blamed his teammates. In particular, the Patriots you receivers took their fair share of the blame from Brady. He even told Howard Stern recently that he would tell Belichick that he will not throw the ball to certain players if they’re on the field. “The Patriot Way”? No-sir-eee.
Now trademark Tom is focused on his newest trademarks.
Drew Brees, the player Brady is battling for all time records with, donated $5 million in relief funds for COVID-19 to the state of Louisiana. The news came out during the same week as Brady’s new trademarks being publicized.
This was also right around the time that Patriots owner, Robert Kraft, had the Patriots team charter sent to China to deliver over one million masks to people in need of protection from COVID-19.
Bad timing on those trademarks, Tom-MEEE…
Now Brady’s sidekick has joined him in “Tompa Bay” (or is it “Tampa Brady”). Whatever Brady wants to call it, it’s been reported that this was planned out that Gronkowski would join Brady wherever he went. This certainly isn’t unprecedented, but sure looks to similar to what another MEEE guy in the NBA has been known for. LeBron James. The difference being that Brady is a winner in every sense of the word…
But, Brady is looking more like the self-centered Lebron every day.
Most Patriots fans are rooting for Brady. There’s nothing wrong with that. He earned that. Tom Brady and Bill Belichick led the Patriots to perhaps the greatest dynasty in the history of professional sports. He was in line with the team being first for the majority of his career and was a great teammate.
With that said, to be clear, it was time for Brady to go. It’s time to get the “Patriots Way” back. It’s time for the team to be bigger than any single player and get back to no star treatment. No missing OTA’s. No excluding players who you don’t spend the time to work with.
We’ll see how Brady does playing for one of the biggest losing organizations in professional sports. The grass is greener in “Tompa” today, but it won’t be long before Tom Brady realizes just how good he had it in New England.