Brady’s Win Brings Mixed Emotions


The Tampa Bay Buccaneer’s 31-9 win over the defending NFL Champion Kansas City Chiefs was not only the culmination of the most unusual season in NFL history since World War II, it also twisted the dagger in the hearts of Patriots fans still hurting over his defection to Tampa.  It doesn’t matter who you blame for Brady leaving the Patriots - Brady, Bill Belichick, or Bob Kraft.  The bottom line is Brady hoisted the Lombardi Trophy on Sunday night with another team after winning his seventh Super Bowl and fourth Super Bowl MVP.

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From the perspective of a football fan, and a fan of sports theater in general, it truly was an amazing accomplishment for the 43 year-old Brady.  To leave a team which he helped bring from football obscurity to the become symbol of NFL dominance and in one season elevate another historically floundering franchise is the type of thing you’d laugh at if you saw in a movie.  Yet, there it was played out on the field of Raymond James Stadium Sunday night.

I will admit, I thought Brady was done after his last two seasons in New England.  He looked like he was indecisive and that the game was speeding up on him, as it inevitably does to all the great players.  We saw it with Peyton Manning when he went to Denver, and more recently with Drew Brees.  Though it hurt to see Brady leave, we reassured ourselves that his career was over and it is better to move on a year too soon than a year too late.  In the case of Brady, it seemed just about the right time.

I was wrong about how much Brady had left.  More importantly, so was Belichick.

From the perspective of a Patriots fan, this one really hurt.  Not only did Brady get the win, he did so by throwing two touchdown passes to former Pats Rob Gronkowski and another to short-timer Antonio Brown.  It hurts because you have to wonder if this could have been the Patriots’ seventh championship if Belichick had decided to give Brady a decent offensive line and some weapons with which to work. 

Of course Brady did not win the game single handedly.  Todd Bowles defensive scheme and the execution of it by the Bucs defense against a powerful Chiefs offensive unit is a major story from the game.  The Bucs D limited the Chiefs to just three field goals, and had Patrick Mahomes running for his life the entire game.  Through in a punter who was virtually pooping his pants and shanking punt after punt, and that was the perfect recipe for Brady to pounce.

Andy Reid also helped the Bucs’ cause with his inexplicable decision to take timeouts at the end of the first half when the Bucs had the ball with under two minutes and only one timeout remaining.  Reid has been a great coach in his career, but clock management has long been a knock against him, and his performance in SB LV will do nothing to change that.  Throw in some questionable penalty calls on third down, and Brady did what he always has done.  Scoring a touchdown just before the half to steal momentum from the opponent right.

We’ve seen the story before Patriot fans.  Brady taking every opportunity and fortunate break and using it to stab his opponent in the heart.  Just like he’s always done.  Only this time, he did it in a different uniform, in front of different fans, on the biggest stage in the game.

All this leaves me with serious mixed emotions.  When you have liked and respected a player (or players if you count Gronk) for as long as we did with Brady, it is difficult to root against him.  Good for Tom, he obviously can still play at an elite level and he proved himself and further cemented himself as one of the greatest winners of all-time.

But when you think about how sad it is that circumstances got to the point that he and Belichick could no longer co-exist and bring another championship to New England, to break the tie with the Steelers for the most all-time Super Bowl wins, it just hurts.  What could have been, but wasn’t.  The twenty years with Brady were magical, and last night was a stinging reminder of how exceptional that was, and that we may never see it again.


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Boston Sports Syndicate: Brady’s Win Brings Mixed Emotions
Brady’s Win Brings Mixed Emotions
Boston Sports Syndicate
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