‘A loss of Ruthian proportions’: Boston sports media questions Patriots’ decision to let Tom Brady leave following Super Bowl berth

"All precincts have reported and it’s official: Brady has beaten Bill Belichick and Bob Kraft in a landslide."

Jim Davis
Robert Kraft and Bill Belichick's decision to let Tom Brady leave is being questioned again. Jim Davis

If you haven’t heard by now, Tom Brady is going to the Super Bowl for the 10th time in his career.

Brady and the Buccaneers upset the Packers in Sunday’s NFC Championship Game, winning 31-26. While the Packers were the losers on the field on Sunday, the Boston sports media scene has determined an even bigger loser: the New England Patriots.

In his first year away from Foxborough, Brady has accomplished everything that’s possible up to this point in the season while the Patriots watch the playoffs from home for the first time since 2008.

Boston Globe sports columnist Dan Shaughnessy was quick to declare Brady the winner of his divorce from the Patriots.

“All precincts have reported and it’s official: Brady has beaten Bill Belichick and Bob Kraft in a landslide,” Shaughnessy wrote. “Ten months after leaving New England because the Patriots were done with him, Brady showed the world he’s still got the goods. The Patriots, who had no real plan to replace their quarterback, finished 7-9 and out of the playoffs. Meanwhile, Brady is going to his 10th Super Bowl; with the clown car Tampa Bay Buccaneers, no less.”

Shaughnessy continued by saying that Brady’s success is worse than the Red Sox watching Mookie Betts win a World Series with the Dodgers months after trading him. He also wrote that this “loss” was worse than any Belichick-coached Super Bowl loss or any controversy the franchise has had to deal with.

Remember all those years when everything went the Patriots’ way and it seemed like the folks on the other sideline lost their football minds at the sight of Belichick? Well, it’s becoming evident that it was the sight of Brady that made all those coaches step on their appendages when they played the Patriots. The Packers made this quite clear at Lambeau Field,” Shaughnessy wrote.

NBC Sports Boston’s Tom E. Curran, who’s covered the Patriots for decades, also took time to criticize the team. In an article titled “Brady’s win a loss of Ruthian proportions for Pats,” Curran analyzed the state of the Patriots, writing that they hope to just be a viable suitor for Matthew Stafford – the reportedly disgruntled Lions quarterback who has never won a playoff game. Curran compared what they hope could happen this offseason to what they had.

“[Brady] that was the guy who actually wanted to be with the Patriots,” Curran wrote. “Could be still. Should be still. The one that did everything but wear a sandwich board asking the team to sign him through the end of his career. The guy who banged his head against the wall and worried himself sick about what he’d do if he couldn’t play here.”

Curran continued, writing that likely no quarterback the Patriots bring in this offseason will be better than Brady next season and that the Patriots “really had to work to get this far on the wrong side of history.”

Even though Curran admits that the Patriots probably wouldn’t be at the same stage as the Bucs if they still had Brady, that didn’t stop him from comparing this to what’s seen as the worst transaction in Boston sports history.

“What’s a comp for what Brady is doing? What fanbase had to digest success like this from a former player?” Curran asked.

“The one that stuck out for me? The Red Sox selling Babe Ruth to the Yankees a hundred years ago,” Curran wrote. “At least the Sox got $100,000 back and owner Harry Frazee was able to bankroll the play “No, No Nanette!” What did the Patriots get? A vacancy for Matt Stafford? If things go well?”

Boston Globe Patriots beat writer Ben Volin wasn’t as harsh on Belichick and the Patriots for letting Brady go, but asked a simple question: “Why is Brady doing this for the Bucs and not the Patriots? Robert Kraft and Bill Belichick have to be feeling pretty sheepish about this.”

Volin focused more on how Brady’s win Sunday meant a lot to his legacy, even if Brady’s legacy was already cemented.

To think that entering December the Bucs were 7-5 and barely clinging onto a playoff spot,” Volin wrote. “Now they have won seven straight games and are heading to the Super Bowl.

“This may be Brady’s 10th Super Bowl run, but given all that he has accomplished this year with a new team, it’s definitely the best of his career.”

Both hosts on 98.5 The Sports Hub’s “Felger and Mazz” took time to mock the Patriots for letting Brady leave.

“Humble pie! That’s what they’re serving down in the cafeteria today in Foxborough,” Tony Massarotti said while making a sniffing sound. “I think [the smell] is coming from Belichick’s microwave. Humble pie!

“Look, at the end of the day, here’s the bottom line. Tom Brady left the Patriots as we all know. There was a duel there. There was a fight there. One guy showed up. The other guy didn’t. One guy showed up. The other guy didn’t. Plain and simple. Brady against Bill. One guy was ready for the duel. One guy wasn’t. And the guy who wasn’t got his a– kicked.”

“He made the plays he had to make as usual. And the opponent did not,” Michael Felger said of Brady’s performance in the win over the Packers. “Stupid me! Stupid me and those like me. I thought it was the coach. I thought it was the coach more than him. Obviously, not one or the other. I thought it was more of a function of the coaching and the Patriots laundry and that thing vs. Brady — and it turns out it’s just Brady.

“I had the wrong guy. I had the wrong guy, so did everybody. So did Robert Kraft. So did everybody. With every week and every day and every game, I don’t know how you can come off of your spot if that’s the spot you’re on. That’s just a fact.”

While it seems like most people in the Boston media sports scene are killing the Patriots, not everyone is. The Athletic’s Jeff Howe made a point to say that while Brady’s had more success in Year One of the separation, that shouldn’t change how important both Brady and Belichick were in the past.

“If nothing else, this season has validated Brady’s decision to jump ship while the Patriots were tipping toward a rebuild — a job Belichick must still complete,” Howe wrote. “But it shouldn’t, in any way, change the narrative about the previous 20 years.”

Howe went through the 20 seasons Brady and Belichick were together in New England, arguing that Brady made up for the lack of talent on the roster in some seasons and that Belichick coached up teams to better records than they should have.

“They lifted each other time and again, with Brady playing at such a superhuman level that he could mask deficiencies on the roster and Belichick coaching to a level where the Patriots’ worst seasons would have been major successes for most franchises,” Howe wrote. “While Brady plays the most important position in all of sports, consider how many great quarterbacks across the league have been wasted by substandard coaches over the years.”

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