Even the infallible Tom Brady isn’t perfect.
I understand that Tom Brady is the winningest player in NFL history. He has six Super Bowl rings, more than any other player. He was the cornerstone of the greatest dynasty and longest run of success in professional sports history. He won the AFC East 17 out of 19 years. I get it. He’s the GOAT. 🐐
All of that said, Brady actually kinda sucks on the road in the playoffs, and he’s never had to go into the playoffs as a Wild Card team.
That’s less than ideal.
Brady doesn’t have anything else to prove in his Hall of Fame career, at least not to the likes of us. But, much like many of the greats that have come before him, careers tend to end with weirdness. Rarely do the great quarterbacks change teams and it works out well for them. We saw it with Brett Favre. We saw it with contemporary Peyton Manning. We saw it with Joe Montana, and Kurt Warner, and even back to Joe Namath.
Manning was fortunate enough at the end of his career to ride off into the sunset with a Super Bowl ring on the back of a dominant defense, but his arm was clearly done that season. For quarterbacks, when they fall off, they fall off fast. In 2014, Manning had a great year – 66.2% completion percentage, 4,727 yards, 39 TDs and 15 INTs. In his final season in 2015, the demise was rapid and palpable. After a Week 10 drubbing by the Kansas City Chiefs, Manning completed only one more pass to his own team than to the defense. His stats in that one: 5 completions on 20 attempts, 35 yards, 0 TDs, 4 INTs. After that game, he was benched for six weeks.
He limped into the playoffs where he was essentially asked just not to lose. In the Super Bowl, he completed 13 passes for 141 yards, 0 TDs, and 1 INT. His defense stood tall and got him his second ring, allowing him to retire on top of the mountain.
Brady has not fallen off the cliff yet, as the “TB12 Method” has seemingly staved off Father Time for at least another year. Do not doubt, though, that the end is coming.
I really hate that Brady went to another team, to be honest. Anything less than a Super Bowl ring will be looked at as a failed experiment by pundits and fans alike. Even worse, if the essentially immobile quarterback is thwarted on Wild Card Weekend by the defensive front of a 7-9 Washington Football Team, then the topic of conversation will inevitably return to whether or not it was the ecosystem of New England that was responsible for his hardware.
Nothing that happens this weekend will completely alter the legacy of Tom Brady, but the potential for this fairy tale to end with an ugly chapter is entirely possible.