Brady's decision to come back is looking like a big mistake


Tom Brady almost certainly didn’t have this in mind.

The greatest of all-time is playing on a middling team and seeing his reported marital problems splashed all over the tabloids. On Friday, Brady was photographed attending Robert Kraft’s star-studded wedding solo, and on Sunday, he was filmed ripping into his offensive linemen, many of whom are 20 years his junior.

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All the while, his air of infallibility begins to wane.

Brady’s offseason and training camp were entirely unconventional. First, he suddenly retired, and then returned 40 days later, amidst reports that he was colluding with the Dolphins to join their front office.

Ex-Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians curiously retired within days of Brady coming back, though he’s been spotted on Tampa Bay’s sideline during games, acting just like a coach. The NFL sent a warning letter to the Bucs about Arians’ strange behavior.

Brady skipped voluntary OTAs in June and then was absent from training camp for 11 days, reportedly to try and reconcile with Gisele. But it doesn’t seem like that worked.

Brady and Gisele have retained divorce attorneys, according to Page Six. Brady's insistence on playing pro football at 45 years old is reportedly at the crux of their issues.

And right now, he's not even playing on a good team.

Ever since arriving in Tampa Bay, Brady’s peculiarities have been dismissed as a small price to pay for the honor to lease his greatness. Through two years, it was hard to argue with that point. Brady led the Bucs, who previously owned the worst winning percentage in NFL history, to a Super Bowl win in his first season, and almost completed a 24-point comeback in last season’s Divisional Round. At 44 years old, Brady led the league in passing.

The incredible on-field success was worth giving Alex Guerrero an office.

But as Brady knows, the NFL is unforgiving. The man who famously says his favorite ring is “the next one” is the quarterback of a 3-3 team that just lost to a rookie quarterback on a last-place club. It was the first time Brady has lost to a rookie pass-thrower in 13 attempts.

The Buccaneers’ previous two losses could be excused. The Chiefs are the Chiefs, and they were playing without any NFL-caliber receivers against the Packers, who just lost to the Jets. But Sunday’s performance can’t be explained away.

Brady had his full compliment of weapons, and the Steelers were without star safety Minkah Fitzpatrick and their three best corners. Perennial Defensive Player of the Year candidate T.J. Watt is out for the season.

Yet, the Buccaneers only scored once on four trips inside of the red zone. Brady finished 25-of-40 for 243 yards and one touchdown.

The most memorable image from Sunday will be Brady tearing into his O-linemen. Keep in mind: Brady skipped the Buccaneers’ walkthrough Saturday to attend Kraft’s wedding. He flew to the game on his own jet.

Brady exploding on his teammates is nothing new. But now, he’s doing it without his ultimate trump card: his commitment. There’s no doubt that Brady prepares himself to play every Sunday.

But he’s not there for his teammates quite as often. Brady is running his own operation.

For the first time, some holes are starting to show.

Featured Image Photo Credit: USA Today Sports