The Celtics could go off the grid at any moment over the next few years. The Red Sox have better odds of finishing in the basement of the AL East this year than finishing first. The Bruins play in the NHL, a league in which nearly every team in the 16-team tournament each spring has a legit shot at winning a title.
After all these years, there is just one sure thing left in the Boston sports universe – Tom Brady and the Patriots will challenge for a championship this fall and next winter.
Brady ensured that the good times will roll Monday. The quarterback signed an extremely team-friendly deal ($27 million total), that will keep him in a Patriots uniform until he is 40-years-old, according to Sports Illustrated.
Now, anyone who makes $27 million over any period of time can’t really be called “selfless.” If Brady was truly selfless he’d tell Bob Kraft over a Grey Goose, “Hey, Gisele makes more money than God, just give me as much as Matthew Slater and we’ll call it a deal.”
But in today’s warped sports world, No. 12 is the closest thing to “selfless” as you’ll find. By just looking at the numbers of this deal (cap numbers of just $13 million in 2015, $14 million in 2016, $15 million in 2017), Brady is guaranteed to be the most underpaid player in the NFL over the next four years. He is also putting his football legacy ahead of his financial legacy. He is saving the Patriots a boatload of cash that they can now spend elsewhere (think Wes Welker has a grin today?).
His football legacy is, of course, already sparkling in these parts. But there have been more than a few people that have questioned whether or not Brady can get it done in the big spot anymore like he used to? Like, you know, it’s possible to just wake up one day and lose a clutch gene.
Regardless of fictitious DNA, there is one thing that should be clear as day to Boston sports fans today: Tom Brady is still hungry as hell for a fourth Super Bowl ring, so much so that he’s leaving millions of dollars on the Patriots’ table.
It’s hard to remember a Boston sports star that cared more about his legacy. Bill Russell, he of the 11 championship rings, is certainly in the discussion. But he once demanded to be paid one dollar more than Wilt Chamberlain or he’d retire. It’s clear that money sometimes equalled respect with Russell.
Brady knows that he still has a bit to go to earn everyones respect as one of the greatest quarterbacks of all-time, but without even completing a pass yesterday, his legacy as the leader of the New England Patriots grew.
Yup, we still know that the Patriots will challenge for a championship this fall and next winter. And yes, we’ll be able to say that same thing next year and the year after and the year after.
It’s one of those rare sure things in sports, so much so that you can take it to the bank.
Matt Burke is the sports editor and a columnist at Metro Boston. Follow him on Twitter @BurkeMetroBOS