Two weeks ago, it seemed so obvious. First, Tom Brady restructures his contract, seemingly in part to protect himself against a release by the New England Patriots with which he’s played his entire career. Then Deflategate goes down; Bill “Mr. Personality” Belichick appears to throw Brady under the media bus as part of a well-attended press conference, setting his quarterback up as a potential fall guy should recrimination result from Roger Goodell’s next hastily-prepared punishment.
And despite brilliant play from Brady throughout Super Bowl XLIX that had his Patriots up 28-24 late, this happened with 1:15 or so in the fourth quarter…
…blowing wide open the exit door from Patriotville for Brady, with a path leading right to St. Louis – and then back to his California home.
The downside of Brady’s career features some interesting parallels with that of his hero Joe Montana. After helping build a juggernaut that went from perennial afterthought to perpetual championship threat, Montana was shown the door at age 37 after earning four Super Bowl wins and three MVPs in the big game in favor of an enticingly promising draftee called
Jimmy Garoppolo Steve Young.
Closer to home, let’s not forget the Los Angeles Rams’ well-aged Hall of Fame quarterback of 1977.
Except Brady’s story would have also featured a swell Hometown Boy Returns angle when the Rams set up shop in L.A. in ’16. Of course, this in turn assumes that something resembling an offensive line could be assembled lest Brady or any other poor sucker meet the same fate as the ultimately hamburger-kneed Namath.
Meanwhile, back in Arizona, Malcolm Butler suddenly bailed the Patriots out…
…slamming the exit door shut and immediately flipping Brady’s script: Simply put, no way does any NFL team, with or without Belichick, release the Super Bowl MVP. Dreams of Brady in the blue and gold for 2015 were blown away, as the nicest possible concurrence of events for Rams fans and Brady devotees (after the slavish multitudes could get past the whole, you know, losing the Super Bowl thing) did not come to pass.
Of course, Garoppolo is still waiting in the wings, and memory is short in the NFL. One can easily imagine the Patriots “stumbling” through a 10-6 season on the progressively weaker arm of Brady, followed by an early bouncing from the playoffs, chased by his exit based on “a mutual decision to part ways” or some such doublespeak.
So … Brady to the Rams in 2016, anyone?