The year is 2041, and 63-year-old Tom Brady and the Las Vegas Raiders just defeated the Los Angeles Chargers in the AFC Championship game. This marks Brady’s 50th playoff win and 15th Super Bowl appearance.
The more things change, the more things stay the same as Brady will once again play in the Super Bowl after the Tampa Bay Buccaneers defeated the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship 31-26. Brady finished the game 20/36 for 286 yards for 3 TDs and 3 INTs. Brady almost handed the Packers the game with three INTs in the second half, but the 43-year-old weathered the storm and helped a Tampa franchise reach the Super Bowl for the first time since 2002.
The Bucs do not reach the Super Bowl without Brady. That is a fact. If Jameis Winston or any other free-agent quarterback signed with the Bucs this past offseason, they would struggle to make the playoffs. Brady changed the culture on day 1.
It’s also fair to say that Brady played for a team with elite receivers and stacked front-7, something that wasn’t present towards the end of his tenure in New England. Brady needed the Bucs just as much the Bucs needed Brady. It was a perfect relationship that could end with a Super Bowl victory.
Brady’s success brings me back to last offseason when eight teams were supposedly interested in the free agent’s services. However, only two teams made real offers, the Bucs and Chargers.
Hindsight is 20/20, but due to his success, many of those interested teams look silly for not courting Brady’s services. Maybe those teams listened to Max Kellerman, who in 2016, proclaimed that Brady would “fall off a cliff.” Meanwhile, Brady threw for 40 TDs this past season and will play in his third Super Bowl since that comment.
It’s fair to say Brady wasn’t going to settle for just any team. If it wasn’t the perfect situation, he wasn’t going to sign. However, think about how many teams would have been better off signing Brady last offseason. Why weren’t teams with quarterback issues lining up to talk with the six-time Super Bowl winner? For some teams, it’s time to apologize.
Teams That Must Apologize For Passing On Tom Brady Last Offseason
New England Patriots – Uh, ya think? The Patriots let Brady walk without a true succession plan. Cam Newton was good for two games and Jared Stidham looked awful. It’s back to the drawing board for Bill Belichick.
Indianapolis Colts – Imagine sitting down at a meeting with your front office and saying, “We’re choosing Philip Rivers over Tom Brady.” Try saying that with a straight face. Although Deflategate could have complicated matters, the Colts still had the right infrastructure for Brady to succeed. The fact the Colts looked at Brady and passed on him in favor of Rivers is a punhsiable offense.
Las Vegas Raiders – Would you rather have Brady or a platoon of Derek Carr and Marcus Mariota? The Raiders missed the playoffs, but they did beat the Chiefs in Arrowhead. Some could make the argument that’s bigger than a Super Bowl win.
Tennessee Titans – Ryan Tannehill proved his critics wrong with a stellar year at quarterback. Tannehill led the Titans to an NFC South Title and home playoff game. However, the Titans’ offense was nowhere to be found in their 20-13 loss to the Ravens in the Wild Card Round. Tannehill finished 18/26 for 165 yards, 1 TD and 1 costly INT. With AJ Brown, Corey Davis, Derrick Henry, I’d put money on Brady beating the Ravens with that roster.
Chicago Bears – I have an unhealthy obsession with Mitchell Trubisky. I really like the kid and think he can find success in the right system, but the Bears should have moved on from Trubisky in favor of a run at Brady. Instead, they chose to trade for Nick Foles, who threw for 10 TDs and 8 INTs. Poor Chicago fans.
San Francisco 49ers – At least the 49ers considered this option. Instead, they chose the other former Patriots’ QB, Jimmy Garoppolo, who most likely won’t be on the roster in 2021-2022.
Denver Broncos – Drew Lock?
Once again, Brady was not going to sign some of these teams. The fact remains that more teams should have made serious offers to Brady. In the end, Brady came out on top while everyone else goes back to the drawing board. It’s a tale as old as time.
Which teams should have signed Tom Brady last offseason? Leave your thoughts in the comments below or tweet us, @unafraidshow.