Knowing When to Go

As the famous line goes: “You Either Die A Hero, Or You Live Long Enough To See Yourself Become The Villain” and right now, Tom Brady is transforming into a villain. The GOAT has only thrown 9 TD’s at the halfway point of the season and is currently ranked 17th in QBR. In fact, Brady has probably thrown more Surface tablets and tantrums this year than he has touchdowns.  If he doesn’t pack it in at the end of the season, he is in serious jeopardy of outstaying his welcome in the NFL.

Brady has looked mortal this season. He’s been flustered in the pocket, missed easy throws and has been nothing short of lead footed while trying to scramble. His Buccaneers are 3-5, with one of those losses coming against a depleted Pittsburgh secondary and another to the Panthers. Yes, the lowly Panthers.  From what I’ve seen, Brady doesn’t look like he really wants to be out there. Maybe his mind hasn’t caught up with his body. Or maybe he just doesn’t know what else to do with his life other than be a football player.

After announcing his retirement in February , Brady reversed course 40 days later – much to the chagrin of his supermodel wife. The fact that he would risk his marriage and family, just to play one final season speaks volumes about his state of mind. He got a glimpse of life after football and decided it wasn’t for him. Not now at least.  But what exactly would he have done if he’d stayed retired?  We know that he has an eye watering contract in place with Fox to join their broadcast booth that has been put on hold until he properly retires. But will that fill the football void that is left when he finally hangs up his helmet? Somehow, I don’t think calling a game will give him the same competitive fulfilment as playing in one. It’s certainly lucrative, but it wouldn’t drive him in the way that winning Super Bowls does. As we’ve seen in the past, making the move from the field to the booth is tricky and few football players have truly succeeded. In fact, more have tried and failed. Does Brady have the charm and charisma to be a hit?

Well, what about coaching? Transitioning from a player to a coach would at least keep him directly involved in the action, where he so frantically wants to be. He would still have an impact on the game and be involved in running a team. Much like he is now. Coaching however, presents the possible threat of a tarnished legacy. Imagine if the great Tom Brady, fast tracked to a Head coaching position, posted a losing record in his first two seasons? Would people still think he was the GOAT? Probably not. Great players rarely make great coaches, and if he did go into management he’d undoubtedly be more suited to a front office role than the sidelines. 

While you absolutely cannot fault Brady’s desire to win and be the best, if he doesn’t quit while he’s ahead, he’s at serious risk of becoming the bad guy. Whatever he ends up doing, he needs to decide fast because the end of his playing days are looming on the horizon.

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