March 17, 2020

Tom Brady Says Goodbye to New England Patriots: Tom Brady posted a goodbye letter Tuesday to the only team he's played for in his legendary 20-year NFL career. "I wanted to say thank you to all of the incredible fans and Patriots supporters," it began. He didn't say which team he's signing for.

posted by rcade to football at 09:09 AM - 11 comments

I think this is going to end up being closer to "Olajuwon as a Raptor", "Orr as a Blackhawk", or "Mays as a Met" than it is "Jordan as a Wizard" or "Smith as a Cardinal".

posted by grum@work at 09:55 AM on March 17, 2020

So long and thanks for all the rings.

posted by yerfatma at 09:55 AM on March 17, 2020

I'm just now getting word that the Birmingham Barons, the AA affiliate of the Chicago White Sox, have just signed to its roster a well-known athlete from another sport. Not sure who it is yet, but the rumor has it that this mystery athlete is considered to be the best in his former sport.

posted by NoMich at 09:56 AM on March 17, 2020

I think this is going to end up being closer to "Olajuwon as a Raptor", "Orr as a Blackhawk", or "Mays as a Met" than it is "Jordan as a Wizard" or "Smith as a Cardinal".

Or beaverboard as a Seattle Pilot. Remember how sad that seemed at the time?

posted by NoMich at 09:59 AM on March 17, 2020

NoMich is not only working from home, he's partying from home. Work hard, play hard, that's my man.

The league has identified each team's scheduled home and away opponents for 2020 but hasn't set the dates or calendar order of the games. The Pats play the AFC West and NFC West. If Brady doesn't go to the Raiders or Chargers (or Rams), there might be a mad scramble to swap in the Bucs for one of the Pats current at large opponents. One way or another, the NFL would surely want to see Brady to face the Pats in the fall. The ratings, the numbers, the money, it would be an irresistible dream come true. Even bigger than the Manning brothers facing each other if you can believe that.

Gisele is not being told where she'll be living in a few months. She's being told where her husband will be staying during the season. She'll live where she wants to live. If Tom goes to the Chargers, I hope Gisele trusts him out in LA in close proximity to looney tunes Bridget Moynahan, which reminds me, Happy St. Patrick's Day, take-out only social distancing edition.

posted by beaverboard at 12:20 PM on March 17, 2020

The words of Omar Khayyam are appropriate:

The moving finger writes, and having writ
Moves on: nor all thy Piety nor Wit
Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,
Nor all thy Tears wash out a Word of it.

Brady will always be associated with the Patriots, no matter what he might do elsewhere. Ray Bourque's name is on the Stanley Cup with Colorado, but he is still greeted with a loud and long ovation whenever he appears in TD Garden. So it will be with Brady. The time had come for Belichick to rebuild the Patriots, and this could not include Brady. Alas.

posted by Howard_T at 03:02 PM on March 17, 2020

To me, it was not mainly about money. It was about Belichick worrying about having to bench or cut Brady in mid-season due to an abrupt fall off of skills. That's what happened to Bill in Cleveland. He cut Bernie Kosar around 9 weeks into the 93 season, and I don't think he wanted to go through something like that ever again.

It wasn't just the difficulty of the call, but the ensuing tidal wave of grief and outrage among Browns fans. If Belichick had felt the need to bench or cut Brady, what he went through with Kosar would seem like a walk in the park compared to how Pats fans would react.

Maybe cutting him wouldn't be realistic due to the likely cap hit, but even benching him would have been painful. If he had re-signed with the Pats and played this coming season like Peyton Manning did during his last year in Denver, Belichick would have benched Brady by Thanksgiving.

posted by beaverboard at 08:12 PM on March 17, 2020

After posting above, I found an article in the Washington Post by Leonard Shapiro on the release of Bernie Kosar and decided to paste portions of it here so that non-subscribers won't smack headlong into the Post's vigorous paywall.

League economics were a bit different back then, but many details are still pertinent.

Nov 9, 1993

Bernie Kosar, one of the most popular and cerebral players in the history of the Cleveland Browns, was cut yesterday by his home-town team five weeks after the quarterback signed a seven-year, $27 million contract that may make it difficult for him to catch on with someone else.

National Football League sources said yesterday that only the first year of Kosar's contract was guaranteed, meaning he will receive $4 million for the '93 season.

A native of Boardman, Ohio, Kosar always said the Browns were the only franchise he ever wanted to play for. In the end, though, Cleveland owner Art Modell, who described Kosar as being "like a son to me," sided with Belichick.

"This is the most difficult decision I've ever made or been a part of," Belichick said. "I have a tremendous amount of respect for Bernie as a person, as a competitor, his toughness."

Earlier in the day, during a staff meeting of coaches and player personnel men called by Modell, the opinion was unanimous that Kosar's skills had diminished and that "it was time to move on," according to one Cleveland source.

That opinion was echoed by another general manager who said "the book on Bernie is that he can't throw long, that his arm is weak and he has no mobility. When he goes deep now, he slings it."

In Cleveland, there was outrage over the dismissal of a quarterback first taken from the University of Miami in the 1985 supplemental draft. Kosar had graduated early after leading Miami to the '83 national championship just so the Browns could select him.

Kosar started in last Sunday's 29-14 loss to Denver and his last pass as a Brown was a 40-yard touchdown to Michael Jackson.

"I don't feel I have to defend myself or my production," Kosar said. "I'm not sure if it's the salary cap. If that's the issue, it's fine. The thing that disappoints me is the attack on my abilities. ... I've known for a while that I don't really fit into their plans. Bill has a way of doing things."

Kosar started the Browns' first five games this year but was relieved by Testaverde in the second half in three of them. Testaverde then started two games before separating his shoulder against the Pittsburgh Steelers Oct. 24.

Until this season, Kosar had started all but two games when not injured for the Browns since coming to Cleveland.

He took the Browns to the playoffs his first five years, with four division titles. In 1986, 1987 and 1989, the Browns played and lost in the AFC championship game.


posted by beaverboard at 08:44 PM on March 17, 2020

Thanks, beaverboard. I was a Browns fan at that time (albeit the 11-year-old son of Ohio expats), but I was not aware of that particular chapter of the legend of Bernie Kosar.

posted by bender at 10:54 AM on March 18, 2020

So the upside of this for Brady is that if he can drag the Buccaneers to the Super Bowl, he absolutely cements his legacy as the GOAT, and eliminates any vestigial "system quarterback" arguments that might remain.

I think the flip side of that argument is more perilous for Brady. If Cam Newton, Andy Dalton, or any other journeyman QB--or newbie Jarrett Stidham--steps into Belichick's scheme and wins a Bowl (or two or three), it breathes life back into the "system quarterback" argument in a big way, doesn't it?

posted by tahoemoj at 03:16 PM on March 18, 2020

I was kind of hoping that the Pats would snag Foles, because it would be straightforward for McDaniels to break down what he does best, just like the Eagles did, and game plan around that.

Meanwhile, by hanging onto Bortles too long and ditching Foles and his guaranteed deal so fast, the Jags are neck deep in QB dead cap money.

posted by beaverboard at 05:39 PM on March 18, 2020

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