Patriots

Tom Brady snubbing New England? Get used to it.

We can be sure that Brady striking any reference of the Patriots from the record was entirely deliberate.

The Boston Globe
Tom Brady spent 20 seasons with the Patriots.

COMMENTARY

Is this what Tom Brady has reduced us to, whining about being overlooked in an Instagram post?

Was Brady supposed to announce his retirement with a parade through the streets of the North End? Sign one of those idiotic one-day contracts with the Patriots? Give a speech atop the lighthouse tower at Gillette, dressed head-to-toe in L.L. Bean?

Please. Brady didn’t owe anything to New England, the place he called his professional home for two decades. The man won six Super Bowls while here. Isn’t that enough?

So count me among those who are not the least bit surprised that Brady, who announced his retirement (officially, this time) from the NFL in an Instagram post Tuesday, failed to mention the New England Patriots, Bob Kraft, Bill Belichick, Patriot fans, and Jim McNally by name over nine pages of gratitude. In almost 1,000 words, Brady thanked Buccaneers fans, Bruce Arians, Jason Licht, his shady trainer, and the Glazers. He did not mention anybody from his time in New England.

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Besides, he said his thanks and peace almost two years ago before high-tailing it to Florida. Why should he have to do it all over again? You got your own Instagram post, New England. Bucs fans had to share theirs with Steve Dubin.

Whether you’re offended by Brady’s omission or feel the need to chastise other adults for being offended by Brady’s omission, perhaps the one certainty we can come to is that his striking any reference of us from the record was entirely deliberate. The Brady Team doesn’t release anything without a thorough review. The fact that Brady thanks each person in the letter individually, and does not mention Kraft or Belichick is not so much telling as it is a sign of what’s to come. Brady had put us in his rear-view mirror long before his official announcement.

It’s petty, for sure. Intentional, no doubt.

The underlying message of it all is that Brady’s ties to this entire region were broken when he left here in 2020. It’s not like he’s coming back anytime soon, except to bring his kids on a college tour. He’s got a jacket to collect from the Patriots Hall of Fame. Other than that, name another scenario when we can expect Thomas Edward to again step foot in these parts.

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What does he owe us anyway, right? Twenty years of a memorable, Hall of Fame career should be enough. That’s the easy answer to asking why Brady left us off the will. The more pertinent has to do with the why. Why did he allow his social media team to do something so deliberate that he knew it would come back to bite him? Maybe it’s just the reality that Brady will never embrace New England the way it embraced him. He played here. He did well here. He left here. He thanked you. That was it. That was the chapter.

But we’re New Englanders, and we’re easily offended when those we welcome into our home with reverence don’t immediately bitch about something or other within the first five minutes of a conversation. Ya mean Brady isn’t going to spend his retirement with a crowd like that?

Just get used to it. If Brady snubs New England on the day he calls it a career, be prepared when he treats us as an afterthought, a vehicle, if you would, for what he accomplished.

In the hours following Brady’s heartfelt message, Kraft released his own statement about Brady, a letter that emphasized Brady’s importance here in a way that Brady’s missive refused. Brady probably took that as an opportunity to try and save face from the criticism he’d been hearing all morning. “Thank You Patriots Nation,” Brady tweeted. “I’m beyond grateful. Love you all.”

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It’s not like Brady was supposed to work with the Patriots in announcing his retirement, but the way he did it left little doubt to where his head is at as far as New England is concerned. This was a nice spot for him to work in. But it was never going to be his life. Brady isn’t going to move to a cul-de-sac in Canton and join Bob and Jonathan every Sunday in the high-chair booth. Brady’s stage is much larger.

It was never going to end well for Brady in New England. His own father said that years ago.

But it’s fine, I guess, to understand just how Brady feels about New England. After all, Bucs fans got a carefully-crafted, nine-page letter.

You got a re-tweet.

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