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Issue 17 Out Now

Brady's Defying Moment

Tom Brady walks off the field after beating the Denver Broncos ( Justin Edmonds/ Associated Press)

Brady or Belichick, the football worlds constant debate as to who deserves the most credit for the Patriots two decade long dynasty.

The duo of Bill Belichick and Tom Brady from 2001–2020 was an anomaly that likely won’t be duplicated ever again. Six championships in 20 years, nine Super Bowl appearances, 17 AFC East division titles, 13 AFC championship game appearances, nine AFC championship game wins, all NFL records for a player and coach.

In sports we’re often reminded that father time is undefeated. Athletes bodies can’t seem to function at the successful rate it once had during their prime years, especially in a sport that is so physically taxing as professional football. No one understands this aspect of the game better than Belichick. He’s notoriously known for getting the absolute best out of players and when it’s time to pay them or he thinks their best days are heading towards an endpoint, the coach trades or releases them.

Brady, with all of the success and adulation in New England for 20 years, wasn’t enough to hinder the teams future. In the 2019–2020 season it was widely speculated that Brady’s time in the Boston area would soon come to an end. Belichick had finally got the backing of ownership to move forward with his plan and vision of the team without the future hall of fame quarterback. Something Belichick had tried to get done in 2017 until Brady went to owner Robert Kraft, who he’s extremely close with, to nix the plan.

New England’s season came to an end in the NFL Wild card game last season against the Tennessee Titans. Brady struggled in the loss as he did in the regular season. No one knew at the time his final pass as a Patriot would be a game clinching pick-6.

The off-season arrived just a day before his New England Patriots contract would come to an end, Brady announced on social media his reign in Foxborough was over. Brady joined the Tampa Bay buccaneers weeks later, one of the NFL's deepest teams , pretty much everything an aging quarterback wants on the offensive side of the ball.

Year 21 for the quarterback started off shaky, Brady threw 2 costly interceptions to start the season against division rival New Orleans Saints in a 34–23 loss. The voices from critics grew louder, fans called him washed, saying that his best days were far behind him. But, in true Brady fashion, he rose to the occasion. In doing so, he became the first quarterback in NFL history age 40 or older to throw for 40 touchdowns with 4,633 passing yards. Brady’s final regular season stat line read 40 touchdowns, 12 interceptions, 4633 yards, with a 102.2 passer rating. The superb play has Tampa back into the playoffs after having 14 seasons without an appearance.

The Wildcard game in this year’s playoffs was different from last. Brady and the Bucs took care of business beating the Washington Football Team 31–23. Brady’s 381 yards and 2 touchdowns were decent but nothing to celebrate because the job is not yet finished. What lied ahead was the New Orleans Saints, a team that has had its way with Brady all season.

In two division losses New Orleans allowed only two passing touchdowns and five interceptions. Tampa throttled New Orleans 30–20. Ball security was what separated the two teams. Brady was meticulous in his decision making. He didn’t throw any interceptions, but Tampa Bay’s defense played the biggest role in the win, picking off Drew Brees three times in what was likely his last game as an NFL quarterback. There’s speculation the 42 year old plans to announce his retirement in the coming weeks.

A meeting between Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady had been years in the making. The stakes were high, winner advances to the super bowl. The NFC Championship game lived up to its billing. Rodgers out-dueled Brady who didn’t have his greatest game. The Bucs defense for the second consecutive week controlled the tempo of the game. Their quarterback three second half interceptions did not come back to haunt them and the Bucs are back in the NFL Super Bowl since 2003.

For Brady the mere fact that at age 43 he continues to defy everyone’s logic is admirable to say the least. Advancing to another Super Bowl in his first season with a new team, without Belichick, can put to bed any notion that Brady isn’t the greatest quarterback ever. Nor is his success entirely dependent upon Belichick. This Sunday marks his 10th trip to the Super Bowl. Brady is forever grateful for his time in New England and will say all of the right things in public about Belichick when talking to reporters, as he did on Monday.

“I loved my time and two incredible decades there. My football journey took me to a different place. I certainly could never have accomplished the things in my career without his support and his teachings,” said Brady during Super Bowl Media day.

Tom Brady knows what is at stake on Sunday. The ultra competitor that he is, can say all the right things, but don’t think for a fact he doesn’t know what championship number seven would symbolize.


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