You would think that, by now, people would learn to choose their words carefully when talking about Tom Brady, the greatest quarterback to ever play the game of football.
Brady, who has carried a chip on his shoulder since being drafted in the sixth round of the 2000 NFL Draft, left the Patriots last March after 20 seasons and joined the Buccaneers, one of the least successful franchises in the league over the last decade-plus. That certainly got people talking. Did Brady still have it? Could he win without Bill Belichick? Or had Father Time caught up with the 43-year-old at long last? Was this move to Tampa Bay going to prove damaging to what was already a unanimous first-ballot Hall of Fame legacy?
The questions about Brady continued after he threw two interceptions—including a pick six—in the Bucs’ season-opening loss to the Saints. He quieted them down for a bit after that, but once Tampa Bay went from 6-2 to 7-5, all of the talk came rushing back. Was the arm strength gone? Did Brady simply not fit Bruce Arians’ offense? Was there tension between Brady and Arians? Perhaps the Bucs were having buyer’s remorse, some said. Simply put, there were a lot of people looking to dunk on Brady for his decision to leave Belichick behind.
And while a lot of talk surrounded Brady, it wasn’t all about him. It was also about Rob Gronkowski, who came out of retirement to make another run at things with his longtime quarterback. There was also some talk about Antonio Brown and how he would fare after off-field transgressions only allowed him to play one game in 2019 and miss the early part of 2020 due to suspension. Leonard Fournette, the former No. 4 overall pick who was cut by Jacksonville prior to this season, had his doubters as well. Of course, all four guys went on to play big roles in the Bucs’ Super Bowl LV victory over the Chiefs. And in doing so, they made some people look extremely silly.
With his seventh Lombardi Trophy secured, Tom Brady took to Twitter on Wednesday to prove that, yes, he kept all of the receipts. He heard all of the talk. And it’s time for him to throw it right back in everyone’s faces while he awaits the day that he’ll receive yet another Super Bowl ring:
Again, you would think people might understand by now that giving Tom Brady ammunition is a dangerous game. Maybe the lesson hasn’t been learned, though. The Bucs probably hope that it hasn’t, actually. Because if folks in the media and others around the NFL world want to keep talking, Brady may very well go out and get ring No. 8 next season.