New England Patriots fans, myself included, received some very sad yet surprisingly not shocking news on March 17; quarterback Tom Brady will not be returning to play for the Patriots next season. After playing for 20 years and winning six Super Bowls with the Patriots franchise, Brady announced the news on social media. In an Instagram post he said, “I want to say thank you for the past 20 years of my life and the daily commitment to winning and creating a winning culture built on great values.” Shortly after this news, Brady made another Instagram announcement on March 20 that he officially signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Being a Patriots fan myself, this was sad news to hear because our quarterback who had been on the Patriots for literally my whole life the past 20 years, would not be returning to the team next season. It is sad because it’s hard to imagine Brady not running out onto the field in the red, white and blue uniform. However, this news was not very shocking for me and I’m actually okay with it. Of course, there was the initial thought of “Wow he’s actually leaving,” but then it was fairly easy to come to terms with it. This was mainly because of how much coverage this topic and Brady’s free agency had in the media before anything was officially announced. Many opinions were shared in the media. Bleacher Report said that Brady was “more likely than not” to leave the Patriots. USA Today reported Hall of Famer and former quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers, Joe Montana’s advice for Brady to stay with the Patriots based on his own experience of being traded and having to transition to a new team, the Kansas City Chiefs, so late in his career. Amidst this media frenzy, of course many Patriots fans did not want Brady to leave simply because he had been such an integral part of the team for so long and people hate change; but, it started to become clear that there was a good chance he would be leaving before Brady confirmed it on March 17.
Brady’s option for retirement from football was also something that was mentioned. The 42-year-old is definitely getting up there in years for a professional athlete, but honestly, any sports fan who knows of Tom Brady, whether you love him or hate him, knows that he’s not done. However, I do hope that he comes to a point in the future when he knows it’s time to stop because I would hate for him to have to leave the sport because of some career-ending injury that he gets because he pushed himself too far and can’t make the choice to leave for himself.
One thing that I have noticed about being a Patriots fan is that for many people it just meant being a Tom Brady fan. This can go the opposite way too, people who hate the Patriots often just mean they hate Tom Brady. What is important for Patriots fans to realize from this news is that, sure it’s the end of an era, but the Patriots team is not just Tom Brady. There is still a whole team of hardworking football players who play for New England and are determined to make their fans proud. Tom Brady leaving does not mean that Patriots fans do not have a team anymore. I’ll be honest, I am not a die hard Patriots fan (I’m more of a hockey fan…Go Bruins!), but when it comes down to it, they are the football team that I support. Speaking for myself, there’s no bad blood with Tom Brady and I wish him all the best in his new football journey. He will be missed and it will be weird to see him in a different uniform, but I’ve decided to face it with as much emotion as Bill Belichick expresses on the sidelines (pretty close to none) and just keep rooting for my team.
Fun fact: My mom has the same birthday as Tom Brady, so my family will always be connected to him in that way!