NFL: Why did Tom Brady leave the Patriots?
In the crazy year that was 2020, one of the craziest events to occur in the NFL was future Hall of Fame quarterback Tom Brady leaving the New England Patriots after two decades and joining the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
After 20 seasons with the Patriots, Tom Brady became a free agent in the 2020 offseason and signed with the Buccaneers on a two-year, $50 million contract. The move marked the end of what has been called the greatest dynasty in the NFL and questioned what was truly happening in New England.
Was Brady tired of not having enough help? Or was the relationship between him and head coach Bill Belichick beginning to go downhill?
What made Tom Brady leave?
It's likely that multiple aspects made Brady leave his team of 20 years. In 2019, the Patriots went 12-4 and reached the playoffs but in wild-card fashion. They lost to the Tennessee Titans in the wild-card round 20-13, ending the Patriots playoff push.
Brady and the Patriots had won Super Bowl 53 the previous season, which ended up being the last Super Bowl the Patriots would win with Brady.
Then 2019 came and Brady simply had no help. Tight end Rob Gronkowski had retired, the team traded away veteran receiver Josh Gordon, and first-round pick receiver N'Keal Harry could not stay healthy. The only trustworthy receiver Brady had was his longtime friend Julian Edelman, who was the MVP of Super Bowl 53.
It seemed like Tom Brady got tired of seeing stars like Patrick Mahomes and Russell Wilson get some help on the outside. But we'd all think that the man who is the leader of the team and has been with the organization for over two decades would be allowed to voice his concerns to Belichick.
That's why it seems plausible that the biggest reason Tom Brady left was that his relationship with Belichick was dwindling. As one of the greatest dynaties in the league, there were frustrations sometimes with the team. There were many games in which the Patriots did not seem like the team they were. With losses to the Chiefs, Ravens, Texans, and the Dolphins in 2019, it initially seemed like the Patriots should have gone 15-1 for the season.
Could Tom Brady have been proving to the Patriots organization and the league that he can be successful anywhere he goes?
By leaving the Patriots and joining the Buccaneers, Brady has certainly exposed Belichick in a way that shows the team cannot do much without Brady under center. It couldn't matter who plays receiver or cornerback for the Patriots, Tom Brady was the true key to success for the team.
Either way, we will truly never know what made Brady leave. Once he does retire eventually, which we don't know when he will, it would be hard to imagine that he won't retire as a Patriot.