Let’s go back in time.
The year is 2002. It’s the middle of February. You’re flipping back and forth on TV between Joe Thornton setting up Glen Murray for one timers, and Antoine Walker doing the wiggle in front of his bench after a big three, all while wondering if Johnny Damon’s recent signing will help the Red Sox finally win a World Series.
Chances are you’re wearing a Patriots “Super Bowl Champions” t-shirt. But you’re not spoiled yet. You might even still be in shock over Adam Vinatieri’s 48-yard field goal just a few weeks prior that put an end to the “Greatest Show on Turf” and gave the Patriots their first championship in franchise history.
Now imagine being told, in that moment, that Tom Brady would still be New England’s quarterback 17 years later, in October of 2019, and the Patriots — having won six total Super Bowls during Brady’s career — would be 7-0 and on a mission to finish the regular season with a perfect 16-0 record for a second time.
You’d probably laugh, take a sip of your beverage, and yell at your TV for Jumbo Joe to “shoot the puck!”
But you should’ve believed it, because it’s true.
Yet, here we are in 2019, as spoiled as spoiled can be, and the top story revolves around Brady’s plans for next year. Not this year. Next year.
“Will Brady play for another team?”
“Is Brady thinking about retiring after this season?”
“Brady put his house on the market. What does that mean?”
“He voided the final two years of his contract extension that has a clause which prevents the Patriots from placing the franchise tag on him next year. Is Brady getting ready to walk?”
The speculation only gets worse whenever Brady is asked about his future, as he continues to leave the door open to any and all possibilities. But here’s what I know about next season: Brady is not playing for another NFL team.
Will he retire? It’s obviously possible, and that day is certainly going to come soon. But if he does play next year, will it be for another team? No way.
That’s my own personal opinion. And it’ll be my opinion until I see the news that Brady has signed somewhere else.
It’s been reported that Brady recently bought a home in Connecticut. For the people who say, “He’ll never commute to Foxboro” — what, you think he’s going to commute from Connecticut to Chicago and play for the Bears? You think Brady will commute from Connecticut to Tennessee for practice every day with the Titans? If anything, Brady purchasing a home in Connecticut tells me that he’s getting closer to retirement than he is to playing for another NFL team.
Don’t let Adam Schefter’s speculation fool you. The ESPN insider was on Monday Night Football pregame this week saying he believes Brady is “setting up” for leaving the Patriots after this season.
Allow me to remind you that it wasn’t too long ago Schefter was dead wrong for scolding us all about how “the Patriots are not trading Jimmy Garoppolo!” He was so sure about it that he took it personal and yelled at you if you questioned him, in a way that I had never before seen an NFL insider react.
Well, the Patriots ended up trading Garoppolo. And really, to nobody’s surprise other than those who thought Bill Belichick was going to slap a $23 million franchise tag on the backup quarterback.
We spend so much time worrying about Brady’s successor and Brady’s future, that we rarely get to enjoy what he’s still doing in the present. And right now, he’s still doing something that you would’ve never believed, had I told you back in 2002, before we were spoiled with championship after championship.
Times are a lot better now, thanks to Brady. Embrace it. Embrace him. Because eventually, we’ll all be back to yelling at our TVs every February.
Listen to “The Danny Picard Show” on PodcastOne, iTunes, and Spotify. Watch “dPs LIVE” on YouTube and Twitch. Follow him on Twitter @DannyPicard. Check out all his work at dannypicard.com.