It hasn’t even been a month since Tom Brady signed a free-agent contract with the Buccaneers after 20 incredible seasons with the Patriots.
During the infancy of the divorce, public sentiment among Patriots’ Nation overwhelmingly supported Brady, since most fans felt that Bill Belichick didn’t want Brady back for season 21. But, over the last two weeks, the pendulum has swung as Brady has gone public about the breakup while Belichick, as usual, has remained silent.
Brady held a conference with reporters shortly after signing with Tampa Bay. He also posted a piece on his friend Derek Jeter’s Players’ Tribune. Recently, TB12 joined Howard Stern for an, at times, revealing two-hour interview on Stern’s Sirius Channel.
A lot of what Brady said or wrote during these posts and interviews were his usual politically correct dribble which can best be described as appealing as eating applesauce. You eat it and forget about it seconds later.
However, the most revealing nugget was Brady telling Stern that his marriage to Gisele Bundchen was on the rocks a few years ago. At that time Gisele wrote Brady a letter to voice her displeasure, feeling that her husband was not carrying his weight as the glamorous couple was raising two young children.
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Brady told Stern that was the reason why he did not attend voluntary Optional Team Activities the last two off-seasons.
Full disclosure, I’m on ‘Team Tom’ and hope he leads the Buccaneers to the playoffs this season, but blaming marital problems for not attending OTA’s seems shallow and weak.
The NFL off-season is short compared to other sports. Even if your team reaches the Super Bowl, the next five months consist of three separate OTA sessions which last a total of approximately 15-18 days.
Brady was the only quarterback in the league that did not attend OTA’s the previous two off-seasons. During these exercises, the players come in for a few hours and head home every evening. Brady blew these off to pull his weight in his marriage and household? Really?
Tom and Gisele are not your “average” couple. I’m sure they have a staff (nannies, cooks, and attendants) to do many of the tasks and chores that a “normal” couple does on a daily basis.
I believe Brady stopped attending OTA’s in the spring of 2018 & 2019 to protest the lack of a contract extension from the Patriots. Also, it was a sleight at Bill Belichick for him benching cornerback Malcolm Butler in the Patriots 41-33 loss to the Eagles in Super Bowl LII. A game in which Brady threw for a postseason record 505 yards.
In comparison to Brady, Saints’ quarterback Drew Brees has four children and doesn’t have the benefit of being married to a famous, financially successful model/businesswoman, who has a larger net worth than her husband. Yet, the 41-year-old Brees has never missed OTA. A simple explanation is that the Saints accommodated their future hall-of-fame quarterback contractually.
Brady could have attended the OTA’s and still fulfilled his spousal and parental duties. He has more downtime and financial flexibility than the “average” husband and dad.
I would have had more respect for Brady if he had explained why he really didn’t attend OTA’s the past two off-seasons rather than blaming his marriage. By the way, Brady plans to attend the Bucs OTA’s this off-season, if they are held.
Emotionally, Patriots fans blamed Belichick for the breakup. But since Brady has opened up, although, in a very limited way, he hasn’t helped himself with Patriots’ fans.
Meanwhile, Belichick, as usual, has remained disciplined and hasn’t uttered a word about the end of the Brady-Belichick dynasty.
Often the best way to win an argument or the narrative is to remain silent. Belichick, not Brady, clearly understands this. Silence is golden.
John Sapochetti is Co-Host
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