Tom Brady never loses and we all just need to come to terms with that.
Every single year, the discourse surrounding Tom Brady is always the same. Pundits get on National TV and discuss whether or not Brady is due to "fall off a cliff" and retire, once and for all. Ever since Brady turned 40 years old, this question has been posed dozens of times, and every time we think we know the answer, Brady proves us to be wrong. For instance, Max Kellerman suggested Brady was off of the cliff back in 2016, although he ended up winning the Super Bowl a few months later.
Back in 2018, Brady and the Patriots had a slow start to the season, and once again, doubters came back with a vengeance, claiming that it was time for Brady to hang up his cleats. In February of 2019, Brady proved people wrong and won his sixth Super Bowl title. Surely, that was going to be the end of it right? At the end of the day, the New England Patriots barely had any weapons left and Brady's accuracy was still on a steady decline. Following their Super Bowl season in 2019, Brady and the Patriots began to deteriorate at a rapid rate and after losing to the Tennessee Titans in the Wild Card round, Brady looked like he was done. As a result of that loss, the Patriots and Brady agreed to part ways, and for many, this was seemingly the final nail in the coffin for Brady's career.
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Less than a year ago, Brady opted to join the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who were a team on the verge of success. They had all of the pieces but it was clear Jameis Winston was holding them back. Regardless, questions still remained about whether or not Brady could actually do anything with this team considering his recent results with the Pats. Haters were banking on Brady to be an absolute failure in Tampa Bay and while he was ready to prove people wrong, there were still many doubters lurking in the shadows, waiting to pounce on any sign of weakness. Thankfully for those detractors, Week 1 of the NFL season proved to be a wonderful time for Brady's most staunch critics as he lost his first-ever game with the team in a blowout against the New Orleans Saints.
While the Buccaneers showed signs of life following the loss, it was becoming clear that this team still hadn't found its footing yet, and Brady haters were making the common mistake of delivering heavy amounts of slander before the playoffs had even started. A second-straight loss to the Saints exacerbated the "Brady is finished" movement and on November 29th, it seemed like Brady had officially passed the torch to Patrick Mahomes, after losing to the Kansas City Chiefs in a close game. The loss brought the Bucs to 7-5 on the season, and it seemed inevitable that the team was going to miss out on a Wild Card spot.
This is what we like to call the "Brady trap." Whenever you think Brady is finished and can't claw his way back to glory, a neuron fires off in his head, and he immediately goes into Terminator mode. The Chiefs loss was followed by a bye-week, and that's when Brady went back into the lab, regrouped, and came out guns blazing. In Week 14, the Buccaneers obliterated the Minnesota Vikings 26-14, and the following week, they edged out the Atlanta Falcons in a come-from-behind 31-27 triumph. The Buccaneers were quickly building momentum and in the final three weeks of the season, they won every single game which helped them secure a playoff spot. Now if you've watched football for a very long time, you know that a playoff spot, regardless of seeding, is all Brady really needs to do his thing.
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Despite this strong end to the season, the critics were still on Brady's case, as they felt his path to the Super Bowl was simply too difficult. Of course, this doesn't count the Washington Football Team, who should have never been in the playoffs to begin with, although such is life when all you need to do to get in the playoffs is win your division. When the Buccaneers played the Saints in the Divisional Round, analysts harkened back to the first two times these teams played each other, and how the Saints won both times. This led to a false sense of security that Brady immediately took advantage of. Again, Brady made sports commentators look stupid, and he was about to do the exact same thing in the NFC Championship Game.
Oddsmakers and commentators were giving this game to the Packers from Day 1. Who wouldn't? For the most part, the Packers defense seemed competent, all while Aaron Rodgers and his offense were unstoppable throughout the season. It seemed like a perfect opportunity for Brady to be left in the dust, and, as always, Brady soaked in the hatred and delivered yet another win, cementing the Buccaneers' spot in the Super Bowl. At this point, you can probably spot the pattern. Every time Brady offers even just a tiny seed of doubt, people start to jump on him. This is then immediately followed by a stretch of brilliance from the quarterback, which then leads to denial from all of the armchair quarterbacks. With every passing game, people continue to bet against Brady, and time and time again, he makes us all look like idiots.
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On Sunday, the cycle hit its peak as Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers astonishingly blew out the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LV. For many, the Chiefs were the obvious favorites here and the game would be an opportunity for Patrick Mahomes to usher in the new era of championship quarterbacks. Brady, however, was not going to let this happen as he exploded for three touchdowns, all while securing yet another Super Bowl MVP. It was the moment where every single Brady doubter had to stop tweeting, go to bed, and reflect on just how shortsighted they'd been this whole time. Brady's triumph was a reminder that you never bet against the guy who has proven people wrong time and time again. This is a man who was drafted in the sixth round, because teams didn't think he had the goods. For the last 20 years, Brady has consistently made those scouts look like fools, and even in 2021, he is making the average fan and analyst eat crow, myself included.
The question remains, when will Brady finally fall off the cliff? Well, the cop-out answer is simple: stop banking on him ever falling off of a cliff, because you'll just drive yourself crazy. You might as well enjoy the greatness while he's still playing. Your blood pressure will thank you.