One Year Ago Today Tom Brady Broke Our Hearts

I can’t believe it’s already/only been a year since Tom Brady officially announced he was leaving the Patriots after 20 seasons. Less than a week later Boston Mayor Marty Walsh officially shut down the entire city and so began the worst year of all of our lives. Coincidence? I think not. Since then so much has happened including the absolutely apocalyptic global pandemic, every professional sports league pausing and resuming games, we had perhaps the most virulent Presidential election of our lifetime, rioters stormed the Capitol, Zoom became more common than brushing your teeth, everybody is going on their 2nd straight birthday in quarantine, oh and Tom Brady won yet another Super Bowl except this time for a different team. That all happened in just the last 365 days.

I actually just finished the excellent Patriots book by Jeff Benedict, The Dynasty, and while it definitely does have a friendly slant towards the Kraft family, it still may just be the most complete historical retelling of the entire Tom Brady/Bill Belichick/Robert Kraft era in New England. Benedict’s book does a superb job navigating through all of the drama, hearsay, history, the highs and the lows of the past 20 years and it really is nothing short of amazing the levels of success this franchise reached.

“The New England Patriots of the Tom Brady era are in the pantheon of greatest sports dynasties. No team in the twenty-first century formed a deeper emotional connection with its fans–or aroused more passionate disdain from opposing fans–than the Patriots under Robert Kraft, Bill Belichick, and Tom Brady. Together they created a golden era of football that started in the year of the 9/11 terror attacks and continued for two decades. If the Patriots’ dynasty had behaved like its football predecessors in Green Bay, Pittsburgh, and San Francisco, the run in Foxborough would have ended much sooner, perhaps as early as 2010 or 2011. But Kraft’s biggest achievement as an owner was keeping Belichick and Brady together for so long. They needed each other to reach heights that had previously seemed unimaginable.”

Well put.

Here’s what I wrote a year ago today about Brady officially leaving the Patriots.

I can’t believe the day has finally come. Tom Brady is leaving the New England Patriots. Despite days, months, and even years of preparing for this it still doesn’t feel real. I feel like Cameron in Ferris Bueller’s day off right now: catatonic.

We all knew this day was coming, but it still sucks to see the end of an era. I don’t fault Brady, especially if he did get a massive payday somewhere else and the Pats offered him peanuts. Can’t blame the guy for wanting to make market value after taking discounts his entire career. Especially if the Patriots and Belichick wanted him to sing for his supper just to lowball him again.

Then? Then Brady immediately proved Belichick and any remaining doubters wrong as he won his 7th Super Bowl only this time with an entirely new team. It only made it crystal clear that if the Patriots had put a better supporting cast around Brady that he could still be an elite, championship winning quarterback. So yes, I still have a lot of hard feelings about how it all ended, but everything ultimately runs its course and that’s what inevitably happened here. If you are one of the few fans out there who blames Brady for leaving then I highly recommend you read The Dynasty because that guy gave everything he had, which led to a legitimately heartbreaking final meeting with Robert Kraft.

Tom Brady may be living it up down in Tampa Bay, but now and forever, that’s my quarterback.

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