By Pete Baxter
Welcome to Tom Brady’s world. It ain’t easy being King.
For the last half decade, Patriots haters and sports pundits jumped on any and every subpar performance by the quarterback GOAT to proclaim that Brady was done, and the dynasty was over. During that time, he took his supposedly broken-down body and snatched three more Superbowl rings.
Just a year removed from said Superbowl, his cranky, footlong wielding, sleeve cutting curmudgeon of a head coach and general manager, who had been subtly undermining him for years including trying to replace him with Jimmy aka “Mr. Glass” aka “Porn Stache” Garoppolo, finally convinced the ownership, the city of Boston, and #PatriotsNation to move on from their king TB12. He was going on 43, coming off a solid but less-than-great campaign. Surely this was it, and Brady was beginning the rapid freefall into washed-ness.
Wrong. Through week 8 of this season, with a new home, team, system, and head coach, Brady was at the forefront of MVP conversations, his leadership was being praised for the culture of winning that he was cultivating in Tampa, and he was proving who the true driver of the Patriots dynasty had been for the past two decades as Belichick wallowed in the ruins of New England. Pundits were praising Brady and the Buccaneers were considered by many (including myself) to be the #1 contender to take down Andy and Patty in Kansas City this year.
AAAAAAND here we go again. After a rough outing in Week 9, getting blown out 38 to 3 against division rival (and another aging quarterback legend) in New Orleans, here comes the Brady hate. He is washed up. He isn’t a leader. HE’s an old fart. The Bucs just aren’t that good. It’s over, that’s a wrap.
Yes, he played bad. Yes, he threw three picks. Yes, he was outplayed by Drew Brees and Bruce Arians was out coached by Sean Payton. This marks the first time Brady has been every swept by a divisional foe.
My retort, a hardy WHO CARES.
Players have bad games. Russel Wilson had one against Buffalo this week. Is he washed? Speaking of the Bills, Josh Allen has a bad game every three weeks. Aaron Rodgers had one against this Tampa Bay team just 3 weeks ago. Is he done? Tom Brady had a game this bad once, in 2006. He was three rings deep, with three left to win at that point.
Tom Brady is 43 years old, yes. He is 43 years old, playing his first season in a new system, having had no preseason or training camp to speak of to get to know his players or playbook. He was going to stumble, take a look at virtually any veteran quarterback who has made a late career move to a new team, and they had a bad game or two or 16 as they adjusted, and all of those guys had a preseason and a full-fledged training camp to get to know their new squad. In fact, it was truly remarkable just how quickly he had adjusted and how well he was (and is) playing. This can’t be ignored, and this is nothing new.
The Buccaneers had the second most efficient defense in the league prior to that loss to the Saints. That squad will bounce back. They didn’t just get their talent sucked out by the Space Jam monsters. This unit is more than good enough to back up an efficient Tom Brady-led offense.
Tom Brady is the GO-friggin-AT. He had a TD to INT ratio of 20 to 4 (that’s five to one for our math fans out there) going into the Saints game. Gronk is getting better every week, and this team has the best line up of wide receivers in the league (it was close even before the addition of Antonio Brown). Brady is going to bounce back. Again, I don’t believe in talent-sucking aliens, and I don’t believe his talent has randomly fallen off a cliff halfway through his 21st season.
This team is good. Really good.
Perfect? Absolutely not. Invincible? Clearly not. But no one is. Not even Pat Mahomes, just ask Jon Gruden.
They need to run the ball. Running the ball just five times over the course of a game is ludicrous, and that is on Bruce Arians and his staff. Leonard Fournette is no Derrick Henry, but he is d**n sure good enough to keep a defense honest and take some pressure off Tom Brady. And the defense has taken a hit with an injury to top notch defensive tackle Vita Vea, but they still have plenty of young talent to execute Todd Bowles’ plans.
The Bucs are still a contender this year. Brady-haters, enjoy this. I know it’s been 20 years and you’re overdue to have your league returned to you from the hands of the GOAT.
But be prepared, I warn you, because this is just the eye of the Brady storm. The Bucs are going to learn from this loss and, I predict, go on a run.
Heck, maybe Tommy was just a little distracted over the weekend since his spirit animal, Donald Trump, had a rough go of things….
All kidding aside, he will be back. He will be back mad, and he will be back great.
Agree? Disagree? Couldn’t care less? Let me know! And as always, thanks for reading!