By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — ESPN’s NFL insider Adam Schefter caused quite a stir this week when he went on “Monday Night Countdown” and very excitedly connected a few dots — a house for sale, an expiring contract, etc. — that indicated that this could very well be Tom Brady’s final season in the NFL. It was logical, it was likely at least a little bit informed, and it was … provocative.
It was also a carbon copy of what Schefter said exactly two months earlier.
You might never know that, based on the way the sports media world has reacted to Schefter’s fiery pregame commentary, or by the fact that Brady was hit with questions about that speculation in his weekly radio interview.
For your consideration, please compare.
Adam Schefter, “Monday Night Countdown,” Oct. 21, 2019:
Let’s just boil this down to the basic facts once again. When we talk about Tom and his future, let’s look at some simple things. Has he put his home for sale? Yes. Has his trainer put his home for sale? Yes. Has he set up his contract to void after the season to become a free agent? Yes.
So if he’s selling his home and his trainer is selling his home and he’s voiding his contract, what does that tell you?
He’s setting it up — and we’ll see — to move on.
Now listen, there are many times people set up things in their life to move on, and they walk to the abyss and they look down and they say, ‘Whoa! I’m not jumping now!’ So he could change his mind. I’m just telling you, if you look at it, in his mind, it has to be clear. He’s thinking about leaving New England!
I don’t know whether he’s going to play, not play, [or] move on.
Adam Schefter, WEEI, Aug. 21, 2019:
[Brady’s contract is] going to be an issue that just hangs out there all year long. … Again, if it is me looking at it from the outside, I am just reading the signs, right? His home is for sale. He’s on a contract that voids. I mean, it’s just saying — it’s just saying — that this has the potential one way or another for this to be his last season in New England.
Let me repeat that. His home is for sale. His contract voids. It has the potential — I’m not telling you it will be! But I’m just telling you, the elements are in place for it to be. That doesn’t mean it will be, but isn’t that odd? All those things, doesn’t that make you go, ‘Hm, that’s interesting’? It makes me go, ‘Hm, that’s interesting.’
Again, we’ll see what he does. I’m just telling you …
Did I say he was leaving? No. Did I say it’s curious and interesting? Yes.
Again, if you were in the last year of your contract at WEEI, and you put your home up for sale, and you structured your contract to be up for that year, and you had ties in other places, and your wife was an international star and celebrity, wouldn’t that raise your eyebrows a little bit?
That … is quite literally the exact same statement.
And sure enough, when Schefter speaks — whether he’s reporting or speculating — it is news. So when he said that back in August, it crashed through the local sports news cycle as you would expect. Everyone clipped the quote, every radio and TV show discussed it, and we were all left to wonder — is this Brady’s final season?!?!?!?!
Yet, because we apparently have all been thwacked in the head by a shovel too many times, we do what we always do. We moved on, and we forgot it. And now we get to live the whole cycle all over again. Wash. Rinse. Repeat.
Brady’s also spoken about the house being on the market, but those comments have been seemingly forgotten, too.
Tom Brady, WEEI, Aug. 12, 2019
You shouldn’t read into anything. I think it takes a long time to sell a house. My house is a little bit of an expensive one, so it doesn’t fly off the shelf in a couple weeks.
I think I’m at a point in my life where there’s a lot of considerations that go into playing. I have a very busy professional life, I have a very busy personal life. Any decision that’s made has to consider everything. I’m certainly at a place where I’ve been in the same place for a long time, and I love playing for the Patriots. I have such a great relationship with Mr. Kraft, Coach Belichick and our team.
We’ll just worry about that when that happens. This isn’t the time to worry about it.
Tom Brady, WEEI, Oct. 23, 2019
That is the great part for me, I don’t know. I think that has been a unique situation that I have been in because I think when you commit to a team for a certain amount of years you kind feel the responsibility to always fulfill the contract. For me, it’s been good because I am just taking it day-by-day and I am enjoying what I have. I don’t know what the future holds and the great part is for me, football at this point is all borrowed time. I never expected to play 20 years and I am playing on a great team and it’s just been an incredible 20 years of my life. To play for Mr. Kraft, and Jonathan and the Kraft family and for Coach Belichick and to have so much success is a dream come true.
One day I will wake up and I will feel like, ‘OK, that will be enough.’ When that day comes, that day comes. I don’t know if it will be after this year. I don’t know if it will be five years from now. I don’t have to determine those things right now, either. That is kind of a good part of where I am at. Just take advantage of the opportunities that I have this year and do the very best I can do and then those decisions come at probably more appropriate times.
Perhaps this is just the airing of a personal pet peeve, but working in the thick of this industry, I’ve long held the belief that after a certain period of time passes, any news story could be repackaged and resurrected. Most folks seemingly wouldn’t even recall that news ever breaking.
Maybe that’s true. (It is.) Maybe it isn’t true. (It’s not not true.) I don’t have all the answers. (I do, though.)
But I do know that it’s easy to occasionally feel as though my multivitamins have been replaced by crazy pills.
So, if Adam Schefter speculates on December 21 that Tom Brady might retire or leave the Patriots after the 2019 season, just please remember that you’ve heard this song before.