I don’t think I’m alone in saying the last seven days have felt like a year.
It’s only March, but it feels like September.
We’ve essentially gone through a week without sports, and while it’s been different to say the least, we’ve survived.
Not much could take my attention from the coronavirus news this week, but Tom Brady managed to do so on Tuesday when he posted on Twitter a goodbye to Boston and the New England Patriots. On Friday, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers officially announced Brady as their new quarterback.
I’ve never been to Boston. I haven’t even been to a Patriots game. However, there’s something about the former Michigan quarterback that has always appealed to me. And no — I can hear you out loud — it’s not because I’m a bandwagon fan.
Brady’s story has always been inspiring. By now, we should all be familiar with his path to NFL lore.
Brady was selected as the 199th pick in the sixth round of the 2000 NFL draft after a four-year career at Michigan where he threw for 4,773 yards and 30 touchdowns against 17 interceptions. He went 20-5 for the Wolverines as a two-year starter, and led Michigan to Citrus and Orange Bowls.
He didn’t exactly set the draft boards on fire and landed in New England as a clipboard holder to then-starting quarterback Drew Bledsoe.
In Week 2 of the 2001 season, Brady replaced Bledsoe after the latter was injured, and Brady never relinquished the job. The Patriots finished the season 11-5 and beat the St. Louis Rams, 20-17, in Super Bowl XXXVI.
The rest, as they say, is history.
Brady leaves New England with six Super Bowl wins in nine Big Game appearances. He amassed a 219-64 record in 20 seasons, and he threw for a career 74,571 yards to go with 541 touchdowns against 179 interceptions. New England under Brady went 30-11 in postseason contests.
One of the traits I admire most about Brady is his unwillingness to settle for just being good. He’s a competitor, and from what I can tell after watching him for two decades, is he holds himself to the same standard he’s set for his teammates. On more than one occasion he drew the ire of critics who got onto him for unloading on a coach or teammate on the sideline.
These days, it has become less common to see a player retire with the same team that drafted them. Sports have become more transient. As a Washington, D.C., native, I was thrilled to have Michael Jordan join the Washington Wizards. I’d be lying, however, if I said it took a while to get used to seeing him outside of the Chicago Bulls jersey. I was a little younger when Joe Montana departed the San Francisco 49ers for the Kansas City Chiefs, but it still was a sight to see for my youthful eyes.
If you want to delve even deeper in history, former Baltimore Colts quarterback Johnny Unitas was traded to the San Diego Chargers. Penn State and Pittsburgh Steelers great Franco Harris played for the Seattle Seahawks in his later years. There’s a player for every sport.
With that said, it’s going to take a while to get used to seeing Brady don a Tampa Bay jersey next season. Former Penn State wide receiver Chris Godwin wears No. 12 for the Buccaneers, so we’ll see what all Brady offers Godwin to own the rights to the number he wore for so long in New England.
What the Patriots were able to do during their run with Brady and head coach Bill Belichick has been remarkable, and I’m not sure we’ll see another like it in the near future.
At 42, Brady is the NFL’s oldest active player. He’ll likely retire from the game in Tampa Bay. But before he does so, I hope he makes the Buccaneers a contender in the league and bows out on top.