The New England Patriots cast their all-time best quarterback Tom Brady adrift after the 2019 season. No great revelation there so why bring it up again?
The reason is quite simple, as the years fly by, the damage caused by that one monumental act of ineptitude by owner Robert Kraft and head football guy BiIl Belichick keeps on resonating for the now, mired in mediocrity Patriots.
The team sits one loss away from being eliminated from the NFL playoffs for the second out of three years since Brady left. No prediction here yet, but they play the Buffalo Bills at Buffalo Sunday. Don’t bet the farm on the Pats in that one.
Most likely New England will emerge from that tilt bloodied and bruised by a far better Buffalo team and its brilliant young quarterback Josh Allen. If so, as expected, they’ll finish with an 8-9 record, smack dab in the NFL’s never-never land, the mediocrity zone, the worst place you can reside.
The New England Patriots have paid dearly for their foolish mistake
Brady was essentially out-the-door after he signed a 2-year contract after the 2018 Super Bowl-winning season. The team allowed that to be signed without a franchise clause, making it a de facto one-year deal.
What would possess an otherwise pretty astute owner and a top Super Bowl-winning coach to sanction such a ridiculous move? We’ll know when the tell-all books are published maybe by all three in a few years.
But one thing is perfectly clear three years post-Brady, the Patriots are a lot worse off and the Tampa Bay Bucs, the huge beneficiaries of the Patriots’ largess shall we say, are flying high.
First, the Bucs. They have just cinched their second-straight NFC South Division title. The year prior to those titles, Brady’s first at the helm, they didn’t win the Division, they just won the Super Bowl after securing a Wild Card berth. That was a very nice “consolation prize”!
For the Bucs, it’s a pretty solid return on a player the Patriots evidently felt was washed up and no longer “title-worthy”. Clearly, that’s a gaffe for the ages and one of the worst mistakes not only in the Patriots’ history but in the history of the NFL and team sports generally. And the optics get even worse.
New England Patriots still had a great quarterback in 2019
If Brady had fallen off a cliff performance-wise one might have been able to somewhat understand this monumental blunder. Though, frankly, the temptation here would have been to let him play in Foxborough as long as he wanted anyway. He’d earned that right.
Yet, in 2018, he won yet another Super Bowl for the New England Patriots. And in the 2019 season, after basically being given a “get out of the Foxborough jail free” contract prior to the season, that “has-been” of a player took the Pats to a 12-4 record. They haven’t sniffed that win total since.
Want your voice heard? Join the Chowder And Champions team!
The Pats missed the playoffs in 2020. Then, Though the Patriots went 10-7 in 2021, a respectable season, their late-season collapse ended with a completely embarrassing blowout loss to Buffalo in the Wild Card game. A loss to Buffalo in their final game this week and they’re totally out of the playoffs again.
The post-Brady Patriots have regressed to their norm of mediocrity. They sit not good enough most likely to earn a playoff spot (or if they do, they’ll likely be broomed in the Wild Card game anyway), and not poor enough to get a draft pick high enough that maybe even they can’t botch it.
So the relevance of the Brady fiasco keeps on keeping the pain flowing for the Foxborough faithful. As his record shows, without TB12 Belichick is just another decent coach. The unofficial tally is 80 wins and 85 losses. And his current team is just another mediocre borderline playoff team with a bleak prognosis going forward.
The lesson to be learned here is simple, and both Kraft and Belichick should have known it from the experiences of Harry Frazee in selling Babe Ruth, and Chaim Bloom in trading Mookie Betts.
That lesson is when you have the best, you keep the best at all costs. Could they re-sign him after this season and rectify their mistake? Possibly, but unfortunately, it’s highly unlikely.
As previously quoted, George Santayana wrote, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” The New England Patriots never learned that lesson and they’re paying the price for it now in their sustained mediocrity. It’s really a darn shame.