A year after guiding the Buccaneers to the Super Bowl and winning his NFL-record seventh Lombardi Trophy, Tom Brady will have no chance of winning an eighth this season, as Tampa Bay’s comeback against the Rams fell through in of Sunday’s divisional round. Now all eyes are on Brady’s future. Coach Bruce Arians wasted no time in telling reporters after Sunday’s loss that he would be back in 2022, but amid reports of a potential retirement this offseason, Brady, 44, was noncommittal, saying he hadn’t “put much thought into” his next steps and is “taking it day by day”.
A tweet from @TB12sports, the Brady health and wellness company account, suggests he could be back for a 23rd season in the NFL, but a number of teammates entered this weekend’s playoff game without know the longtime QB’s future, as CBS Sports insider Jason La Canfora reported. ESPN reported Sunday that Brady intends to take at least a month after the season to sort out his plans for 2022 and beyond.
What should Brady do? Send them back or hang them up? Let’s do the case for each possibility:
Why Tom Brady should retire
What else is there to prove? Seriously. At 44, TB12 is already a living legend. He’s literally the only player in NFL history to win seven league championships, and that includes stars from the pre-Super Bowl era. He owns nearly every significant record for playoff QBs. He’s also proven over the past two seasons that he’s not just a product of Bill Belichick’s Patriots dynasty, but rather, perhaps, the driving force behind it, posting MVP-caliber numbers. – among the best of his career – in Tampa Bay.
If Brady walks away now, he’d obviously leave with a sour taste in his mouth, losing a playoff game at home on a field goal, but no one will ever blame him or blame him for Tampa Bay’s early exit this year. . The Bucs were plagued with injuries down the stretch, and yet Brady still had them on the verge of returning to the NFC Championship. Retiring now would allow fans to celebrate both his unprecedented legacy and imagine two or three or four more titles, knowing that he came away with his physical abilities intact.
Then there is the team factor. The Bucs aren’t in dire financial straits heading into 2022, but they do have at least half a dozen starters or key players — including running back Leonard Fournette, tight end Rob Gronkowski, center Ryan Jensen and cornerback Carlton Davis — ready to hit free agency. Chris Godwin, starting wide, will also come out of a torn ACL, and the offensive line needs improvement. Each year, the Bucs get a little older and stand out more from their Super Bowl winners. That’s not to say Brady couldn’t keep them in contention, but is the wear and tear worth it when a number of post-football endeavors – broadcasting, entertainment, coaching – not only the will wait but beg him?
Why Tom Brady should keep playing
Are you kidding? What if this guy had proven everything a Hall of Fame QB can prove? He played the best football of his historic career well into his 40s. Much like Aaron Rodgers with the Packers (except to a greater extent), he seemed to kick into high gear as he got older in recent years, gaining as much confidence, comfort and – inexplicably – arm strength as he did hair. Gray. Let’s not forget that this man went to a brand new team after 20 years in New England and literally threw himself into a seventh Super Bowl ring as his Buccaneers. start. This year he was even smoother, especially as his supporting cast was eventually depleted by injuries.
Of course, he’s already won enough big games to cement his legacy. But for him, for the good of the buccaneers, for the whole leaguefor love, it belongs on the ground. Family and other matters off the pitch should obviously come first – it’s his life, after all! — but there is nothing good Soccer reason why Brady should hang up now or soon. As long as it’s properly protected, it delivers top-five production at worst. We take that for granted, given his age, but it’s true. Any team would pay a premium to have their intangibles at the top of their QB depth chart, even at 45. Why? Because no one is as trustworthy as him.
It’s also not like the Bucs offer a lousy situation. The NFC South is still under the control of Tampa Bay. With the Arians back and more financial flexibility than after their 2020 Super Bowl win, the Bucs take on the still-in-transition Falcons; the Panthers, still under reconstruction; and the Saints, who may or may not have Sean Payton and/or a real starting QB. Make investments upfront, at scale and in secondary; and you cook again. As a bonus, Brady’s mere presence would be sure to attract point guards leading into and through the 2022 season, helping the team remain a force in the NFC.
It should be obvious: if Brady’s life away from football allows him to return, he absolutely should be back. And at this point in his career, every football fan should be in favor of that. The ageless wonder has been a villain for many over the years, through Patriots controversies or his own relentless presence in the biggest games, but there’s no storyline the NFL is better off without him. Here is at least one more trick.