Commentary: Tom Brady, welcome to Florida’s quarterbacking graveyard

  • Jarrett Stidham (4) of the New England Patriots looks on next to Tom Brady (12) before the gamein 2019. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images/TNS) Maddie Meyer

Orlando Sentinel
Published: 3/25/2020 5:29:11 PM

As excited as we all are about Tom Brady coming to Tampa Bay, isn’t there a part of you that doesn’t want to see the inevitably ugly ending?

Do you think Brady knows what he’s getting into?

Do you think he and his agent actually did their proper historical research?

Did the GOAT — Greatest Of All Time — fail to comprehend that he is coming to a state otherwise known as “That Great NFL Quarterbacking Burial Ground?”

My first thought when I heard the news a couple of days ago: “Tom Freaking Brady playing for the Tampa Bay Yucks? Are you kidding me?!!! We’re still two weeks away from April Fool’s Day, right?”

Don’t get me wrong, I love that the Yucks somehow, someway convinced Brady to sign with one of the most moribund franchises in league history, but I feel a little bad and little sad that this how Brady is going to end his brilliant career. I fear he will be like an old Willie Mays stumbling around in the outfield for the New York Mets. Or Johnny Unitas, with hardly anything left in the tank, getting traded to the San Diego Chargers and being unceremoniously benched in the fourth game of the season after going 2-for-9 with two interceptions and 19 passing yards.

It’s just unfathomable to believe Brady, after 20 years and six Super Bowls as the quarterback of the New England Patriots, is going to end his career with a franchise that hasn’t been to the playoffs in 12 seasons and hasn’t won a playoff game since winning the Super Bowl two decades ago.

As I’ve written before, Tom Brady playing for the Bucs is like hanging the Mona Lisa on the bathroom wall in Room 217 of the Red Roof Inn. It’s like the Rolling Stones playing their final concert at the Holiday Inn lounge right outside of Yeehaw Junction. It’s like Tiger Woods ending his amazing career at the Panama Dunes Member-Guest.

Let me stress, this is a great signing for the Bucs in that Brady makes one of the most irrelevant franchises in the league relevant again.

He will sell tickets for a franchise that had the third-worst attendance in the league last season.

Who cares if Tampa Bay is reportedly going to sign the soon-to-be 43-year-old Brady to a pricey two-year contract worth $30 million per season? The Bucs will make that money back in jersey sales and season-ticket deposits. Within hours of reports that the Bucs were getting close to signing Brady earlier this week, the team website showed more than 2,400 people in a queue waiting for an opportunity to buy season tickets.

So, yes, from a Bucs’ standpoint this is a no-brainer, but for Brady I think it’s a hare-brainer. Why would he go from one of the greatest dynasties in sports history to one of the worst franchises in league history? In New England, he was driving the Lamborghini of NFL franchises, but in Tampa Bay, he is being handed the keys to a 2003 Ford Windstar.

Memo to Tommy Terrific: It’s hard to be the man when you’re driving a minivan!

I hope I’m wrong; oh, do I hope I’m wrong. But I’ve been a football fan in this state my entire life and I’ve seen the awful franchises in this state ruin too many quarterbacks for me to get my hopes up about Brady. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me 27 times, shame on me!

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Here’s all you need to know about Tampa Bay’s track record with quarterbacks: In the Bucs’ 43-year history, they have NEVER drafted a quarterback and then signed that quarterback to a second contract. They didn’t sign Doug Williams to a second contract because they were too cheap and then he went on to win a Super Bowl with the Washington Native Americans. They should have signed Steve Young to a second contract, but they thought he was a bust and he went on to become and NFL Hall of Famer in San Francisco.

And don’t even get me started on the Dolphins, who have been searching for a decent quarterback ever since Dan Marino retired two decades ago. Remember these names: Damon Huard, Jay Fiedler, AJ Feeley, Sage Rosenfels, Gus Frerotte, Joey Harrington, Cleo Lemon, Chad Henne, Trent Green and Daunte Culpepper. That’s right, the Dolphins even ruined Daunte Culpepper.

Then there’s the Jaguars, whose incompetence in dealing with quarterbacks can be illustrated in a recent sample size: Two years ago, they signed Blake Bortles to a lucrative three-year extension and then cut him the very next season. And last year, they signed Nick Foles to a monster free-agent contract with $50 million in guaranteed money and then unloaded him Wednesday for a fourth-round draft pick.

With this backdrop, let us welcome Tom Brady, the greatest of all-time, into our state.

Good luck, GOAT.

You’re going to need it.

(c)2020 The Orlando Sentinel (Orlando, Fla.)

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