January 14, 2020
Jacob D. Nemit
Photo by Jeffrey Beall
The NFL has undergone many changes over the past 100 years, some of which are monumental. For example, Kyler Murray, the first pick of the 2019 NFL Draft, has a contract with the Arizona Cardinals that is worth a guaranteed $35,158,645 million over 4 years, plus a signing bonus of $23 million. In contrast, Jay Berwanger, the first player ever drafted in the NFL, declined to play and instead started a company that produced plastic and rubber. Other changes within the NFL have ranged from equipment, jerseys, teams, formations, playbooks, and more. However, some are speculating that 2020 will be one of those years that leaves its imprint on history, and it all involves the career of New England Patriot, Tom Brady.
The New England Patriots selected Brady for the 199th pick in the 2000 NFL Draft. No one could have predicted that this sixth round pick would lead the Patriots to a Super Bowl victory only two years later. Brady has taken the Patriots to the Super Bowl on nine separate occasions, having won six of them. The Pittsburgh Steelers, the only team that is tied with the Patriots for the most Super Bowl wins, had won their first Super Bowl in 1975, and had won their most recent Super Bowl in 2009. In less than half the time, Brady and the Patriots won the same amount of Lombardi trophies as the Steelers.
Last week, the Patriots lost to a young Tennessee Titans team, where Brady’s last throw was a pick six. At the age of 42, Tom Brady’s contract with the Patriots has ended, and the question that is on everyone’s mind is, “What is next?” Youtuber Flemlo Raps, who has a channel with over 500 thousand subscribers and who discusses all things football, conducted a poll asking that very question. With over 26 thousand votes, 39 percent predicts that Brady will retire, 35 percent predicts that Brady will re-sign with the Patriots, and 26 percent predicts that Brady will play for another team. NFL Analysts, Bucky Brooks, noted that “[Bill Belichick] allowed other Patriots legends (like Ty Law, Willie McGinest, Mike Vrabel, Vince Wilfork and others) to walk out the door in the past,” so why would he not let the 42 year old walk out the door, as well?
The partnerships of Robert Kraft, Bill Belichick, and Tom Brady, has been considered the leading factors of the Patriot organization. However, many have overlooked the offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels. McDaniels has been a coach at New England since 2001 and has been Brady’s offensive coordinator since 2004. The future of McDaniels is unknown as well. He “has emerged as a top candidate” for the Head Coach position for the Cleveland Browns and the Carolina Panthers, said writer for the New England Sports Network, Zack Cox. If McDaniels leaves the Patriots, does that mean that Brady will leave? No one knows the answer, not even Brady himself.
When asked about retirement, Brady answered, “Who knows what the future holds?” He added that “it’s pretty unlikely,” but after some stutters and a slow pause, he concluded, “hopefully unlikely.” With all of America in suspense, one can make the claim that this is likely the start of a new era for the NFL.