The Impossible Happened

Sophia Vlahakis, Senior School News Editor

20 years ago, deep in the NFL Draft, the Patriots chose Tom Brady with the 199th pick, and since, it has been a nightmare for the rest of football.

Matched with Bill Belichick, the coach-player combination has been the most successful in the history of the NFL and perhaps, will always be the greatest. The numbers speak for themselves: 6 Super Bowls, 19 winning seasons, 17 playoff appearances and 9 AFC championships.

The duo created not just one of the greatest football dynasties but one of the greatest dynasties in sports. With that, New England drooled and fawned over Tom Brady, a feat few athletes have ever accomplished. Brady is New England’s prince, a prodigy, the one who could no wrong or at least was until the impossible happened: Tom Brady parted ways with New England for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He took with him another Boston prized possession, Rob Gronkowski, and left behind the legendary Bill Belichick and his trusty receiver, Julian Edelman, for $50 million and warmer weather. New Englanders’ hearts shattered while just about everyone else jumped for joy. 

New Englanders hoped the dynasty would not end with a 12-4 season and a wild card loss to the Tennessee Titans. They certainly did not want their last memory of Brady to be an interception that led to a touchdown in complete un-Brady like fashion (fans are usually used to that final hail mary being caught). For New Englanders, the thought seeing of Tom Brady playing for another team is as heart wrenching as it gets, but at a time when the upcoming season of football is in question, maybe they are crossing their fingers they won’t have to just yet.  Though, in the end, Boston will have had the Tom Brady who will live in the history books and will be remembered as a Patriot first and foremost.

The big question now is who needs who more? The greatest quarterback or the greatest coach?

Tom Brady joins a team that has had only 2 winning seasons in the past decade, but the Bucs are going all in. The defense improved dramatically this past season, and the need for improvement on the offensive line was met this past draft.  Other than signing the best quarterback who may have ever lived, the second biggest move was trading for Brady’s buddy of 9 seasons. Rob Gronkowski, a player New England never thought would wear another uniform, is coming out of retirement to help revive the Bucs. If the tight end performs as he did prior to retirement, the offense can put up big numbers. Gronkowski is the type of player who changes the game, but a year of retirement and questionable health may have halted the insane versatility this player once displayed. There is a lot of potential, but ultimately, the season comes down to 42 year-old Brady. Despite seeming inhuman, Brady is aging, and adapting to a new offense and team won’t be easy. While the expectations are always high and usually met when it comes to Brady, success may not be immediate in Tampa Bay. 

As for the Patriots, Belichick has to readjust an offense that has revolved around Brady for 2 decades. The Patriots also failed to draft a quarterback, so sliding into that position will be Jarrett Stidham, last year’s 4th round pick out of Auburn. Last season, the Pats were not as strong offensively without Gronkowski, and that will continue especially since an aging Edelman is arguably the best receiver on the team. Dominating the AFC East is not going to be as easy as Belichick is used to, and this Patriots team has a very unusual uncertainty about them. 

It’s like a fantasy for the world of football: the dynasty that dominated the NFL for the entirety of the 21st century has come to an end and Tom Brady somehow ended up in Tampa Bay. It is unreal that Brady and Belichick are striving to make history without each other and doing so on teams where the ability to succeed is questionable. But Brady and Belichick are far from being done with each other, the race to see who has the magic is just getting started, and these two do not know what it’s like to lose football games. So…Brady or Belichick?

Tom Brady, Bill Belichick
https://www.latimes.com/sports/story/2020-03-17/tom-brady-leaves-patriots-bill-belichick-robert-kraft-statement