Columnists, Sports

Instant Replay: Super Bowl hangover or is Brady just old?

Tom Brady will look to beat father time and continue his dominance. PHOTO COURTESY KIETH ALLISON

Just like the Titanic, Brady will sink — just, you know, eventually.

To be fair, one bad game (albeit the first game of the season) isn’t a predictor of much. In fact, our favorite New England team has three Super Bowl rings to prove it doesn’t mean anything. But why, then, is New England so rattled?

The obvious reason is pride. New England’s arrogance is unparalleled by any other team’s (sans maybe the Dallas Cowboys, but besides Dak Prescott, what do they really have to be arrogant about?) and, although I speak as a Patriots die-hard myself, we needed that. The Super Bowl hangover is a very real phenomenon, a phenomenon whose history speaks for itself. Teams that have won the Super Bowl not only rarely make it back, but have unextraordinary post-Super Bowl seasons in general.

“But the Patriots are a dynasty team!” Shouts the lone Gronk jersey-clad, middle-aged man in the back of Boston Beer Works.

Well, yes — in the early 2000s, a time when Brady was young and not the recipient of Deflategate allegations, suspension, a hatred from the majority population and concussions, apparently (thanks, Gisele). And yes, they had a two-year gap between their wins in 2015 and 2017, but it still doesn’t change the fact that Brady’s 40.

Yes, the GOAT is 40, the prime age for an athletic meltdown. Peyton Manning retired at 39 and barely even made it through the fight for starting QB against no-namer Brock Osweiler. Joe Montana was replaced by the 49ers with a younger model and was out of the league after his age 38 season. Even John Elway, Dan Marino and Brett Favre all ended around the big four-oh. So, why not Brady?

The Patriots organization has made it clear that Jimmy Garoppolo is the chosen one. Not only is Jacoby Brissett officially gone (and turning heads, might I add, in Indianapolis), but at 25, Garoppolo is in the peak of his performance. There are conversations that put Garoppolo in one of the top 10 ranks for National Football League quarterbacks — and this kid hasn’t even started more than two games! But clearly, all that side-line strategizing and clip-board holding with Bill Belichick and Brady has given Robert Kraft something to believe in — so much to believe in that he’s still here, even after pre-season speculations put him high on our “bye-bye” list.

Or, maybe, it’s so easy to believe in Jimmy G because it’s getting that much harder to believe in Brady.

Let’s face it. Every time so much as a gust of wind knocks Brady down, the whole world waits with bated breath for him to arise again. Brady knows his time is limited, and so do we. But Brady’s smarter than that.

First of all, let’s get one thing straight. Even if Brady’s body deteriorates, he gets hurt and he gets benched, he’s not worried about giving up his million dollar Brookline home. He’s still married to, perhaps, the most successful super model of all time, and really, when you compare his salary to what the Missus makes, being a franchise quarterback is basically just a hobby. But it’s more than just the money he’s after — it’s the legacy.

So, then, that’s the real question: for Brady to remain untouchable, unsinkable, does he retire now while on a high note, or wait for Garoppolo’s inevitable takeover?

I’m on the retire bandwagon, quite honestly. Selfishly, I’d rather see the team go down in his absence than take the chance. Let him play the rest of this season, let him win another AFC East title, and then if we don’t make it all the way, call it quits. The entire world would have a field day if Tommy went down, and all that he’s done — all that he’s persevered under — will be diminished against the laughs, boos and jeers of delighted NFL fans. And Brady deserves better than that.

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