Could this be it? Are we finally here? Could Father Time finally have caught up with the Greateast of All Time, Tom Brady? As we enter into the NFL Playoffs on this Wildcard weekend (where we have a rare appearance from the aforementioned Brady and his New England Patriots), I’m sure we’ll be hearing this question from many people that cover the NFL. As I’ve said in a previous article, I’ll be the last to that party.
But I must admit, there is something different about this particular season. For starters, Father Time as we know is undefeated. Tom Brady is 42 years old. Though he was quoted saying he wants to play football until age 45, let’s face it… he looks old (in football years). He can’t move around in the pocket like he once could. He can’t throw the ball as hard or far as he once could. More importantly, this might be one of the worst cast of characters surrounding him that we’ve seen in a very long time. Think about it – no more Gronk, Julian Edelmen is banged up, the Josh Gordon and Antonio Brown experiments failed – not to mention the weak offensive line he has in front of him.
Perhaps the most alarming sign was what happened in Foxboro last Sunday. All the Pats needed to do was beat the Miami Dolphins at home to secure the #2 seed for the AFC playoffs, and more importantly, a first round bye. The Patriots have never made it to a Super Bowl once when playing in the Wildcard round of the playoffs. And shockingly, they lost at the hands of their supposed great defense on a game winning drive led by Dolphins journeyman quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick! AND, Miami’s star wide receiver DeVante Parker had his way with elite Patriots corner Stephon Gilmore all day.
The other looming factors that could point to the potential demise of Tom Brady are, albeit purely speculation, the fact that he is not under contract after this season, which has never been the case for Brady and the Patriots. That, and the rumors about Brady’s house being on the market, and possibly wanting to relocate to Los Angeles to pursue other career interests after his football days are over. When that will be? Who knows. Is this the last we’re seeing of Brady and Bellicheck’s dynastic run? We’ll see. Although the Patriots probably won’t make a Super Bowl run this year, it’s still foolish to count them out, until they’re actually defeated. Whether this is it for Brady and Bellicheck and Brady finishes his career elsewhere… or he retires… or he works out an extension to play with the Pats another few seasons, I think we can all sit back in awe as we reflect on the near 20 year dominant run these two have been on together. They’ve won 6 Super Bowl championships (have been to 9), have won the AFC East virtually every year (except for when Brady was injured for the season), and are seemingly in every AFC Championship game. We’ll be watching the G.O.A.T, but just remember – Father time is undefeated.
And what about the NFC? Of course we have the Seahawks, led by Russell Wilson who will have something to say about the MVP vote. Wouldn’t be shocked to see Pete Carrol and Russ back in the big game. How about the Saints? They feature the (currently speaking) all time leader in passing touchdowns in Drew Brees, with the bitter taste in their mouths of last year’s non pass interference call in the NFC Championship Game against the Rams. I could easily see Sean Payton and Brees back in the Super Bowl. Then there’s the 49ers – coached by a brilliant offensive mind in Kyle Shanahan, to go along with an impressive defense. Can’t forget about the Packers, led by an innovative young coach and of course, the discount double check himself, Aaron Rodgers. And, you never know, a team like the Cowboys or Vikings, who each might have just played their best games of the season, could get hot and make a run.
been tough to watch. And even in this most recent game, where he was reinserted as the starter on Monday night in Philadelphia against the Eagles, we saw signs of how good Eli once was, and maybe even still is… only to watch the game slip away in the second half.