BOSTON (CBS) — Tom Brady is leaving the Patriots.
We knew it was a possibility. I thought that possibility grew when it was clear he would become a free agent. It’s hard for one’s current team to show the same kind of love that other teams will on the open market. We see it over and over again.
Add in the fact that Brady wasn’t going to take a hometown discount this time around, and you could feel it coming. And now, it’s over.
Winning. That’s really the only word we need to use when summing up Tom Brady’s 20-year stint with the Patriots. Six Super Bowl titles (along with setting 15 Super Bowl records), nine AFC Championships, and 17 Division titles. The most career wins at 249 (219 regular season and 30 more in the postseason). Those 30 playoff wins are 14 more than the man behind Brady — Joe Montana.
To quote a song, “All he did was win, win, win no matter what.”
What I loved about covering Tom Brady was simple. He was true to himself both on and off the field. Yes, he had all the money he could ever want, but his true love was football. His passion shined through. He loved everything about it. He was consumed by the game. He started his day at 5 a.m. driving to work, where he did everything in his power to help his team win. He was constantly studying film, trying to figure out a way to win. Practice, fix his body, eat. In bed by 8:30 p.m. during the season. That’s Tom Brady. That’s his dedication to his craft.
He also separated himself as the greatest ever to play the game by the way he played in the biggest games. He won six of the nine Super Bowls he played in, and in the games they lost, he had his team in position to win late.
If you have the ball with two minutes to go while trailing, in need of a score to win, give me Tom Brady to lead the charge every time Every. Single. Time.
Brady handled himself with the utmost class over his 20 years here as well. He’s one of the biggest celebrities in the world while also being married to an even bigger one. He had to go through Deflategate, arguably the most embarrassing period in Roger Goodell’s tenure. He handled that with class. Much of Brady’s demeanor came via his down-to-earth parents, who raised him right.
And now he’ll begin the next chapter in his life. He’ll play football, raise his children, and continue his business ventures.
On a day like this, where emotions are running wild for so many reasons, there is really only one thing to say to Tom Brady: Thank you.
Thank you, Tom, for the greatest ride we could have gone on over the past twenty years.