Tom Brady is a player who divides people. This is true primarily in the sense that not everyone likes him or pulls for him, but not in regard to opinions over his quality or achievements as a player. With seven Super Bowl rings in ten appearances, and every passing record that matters in the NFL, he’s certainly the most productive quarterback the league has ever seen. And all of this off the back of being drafted just inside the top 200 players in the graduating college class of 2000. Nobody can deny that he has earned the right to choose the time and the manner of his departure from the league he has graced for 23 seasons.
That being said: is now the time? 2022 saw him post his first losing record as a starter, and while Tampa Bay squeaked into the playoffs by virtue of being the least terrible team in the NFC South. In flashes, he still showed why people head to sites like wishcasinos.com to back the Bucanneers even against the odds, but when his team came up against a genuinely competitive side, they were ragdolled 31-14 by the Dallas Cowboys, and there were no signs of Brady mounting the kind of comeback that has made him an inevitable Hall of Famer.
Has Brady lost his dominant edge?
The signs of decline in a quarterback are usually there for all to see. Their release slows down, they get sacked more often, they miss games and they force throws they’d usually check off. Brady hasn’t missed a game since 2016 and hasn’t been sacked any more this season than in an average campaign. But certain of his numbers have trended way down this season: fewer yards than usual, far fewer touchdowns, and, by his standards, a mediocre passer rating of 90.7. And then there is the fact that the Bucs went 8-9. TB12 has always been about doing what it takes to win. This season, he’s not been able to do that.
He could still do a job for a lot of teams
Even a 46-year-old Brady with less juice in his arm than before would still be a better QB than many starters around the league. He’d be an invaluable mentor for a younger passer just by being around. Until he makes his decision on what to do in 2023, with his contract finished in Tampa there will be teams considering whether they should call him to see if he wants another season. Miami tested the waters with him before he landed in Tampa. With Tua’s future still in some doubt, and with the supporting cast Brady would have there, he’d likely be tempted by a short contract for a shot at one last ring. But should he be? More to the point, should Miami?
If not now, when?
Brady himself once said that he’d like to play until he was 45, and he’s done that. He’s done everything a quarterback realistically can, including showing that he could work the same magic with an underachieving Tampa that he did with the unremittingly competent Patriots up until 2019. If he plays on, he risks being slammed by the law of diminishing returns in a way that could taint his legacy. Plenty of people would like to see Brady struggling to recover the old magic, and being forced into retirement by the visible loss of what made him great. It would be a surprise to see him giving his “haters” what they want.