Could Tom Brady actually quarterback the New York Jets in 2020? It’s a question better off not obsessed over at the moment.
Joe Montana or Steve Young? The savvy four-time Super Bowl champ closing in on 40 or the young southpaw whose mobility shocks the traditional quarterback senses?
This was the nagging yet all-critical question the San Francisco 49ers agonized over for the better part of the late 1980s-early 1990s. But after “Joe Cool” missed the entire 1991 campaign due to an elbow injury, the choice was made. It would be Young in ’92 and beyond.
As we embark on a Kansas City Chiefs-San Francisco 49ers Super Bowl (also called the Montana Bowl), one of Joe’s biggest fans finds himself in the crosshairs or another NFL-aging situation, and it’s confusing.
Tom Brady, 42, is the buzz heading into a fun-filled Miami Weekend.
Conventional wisdom is pure fantasy when Brady or the New England Patriots are concerned. Six Vince Lombardi trophies and a quarterback hardly losing a step at age 42 could fill an entire Twilight Zone season. It’s why the thought of the California kid—who saw himself as Montana as a youngster—moving on from New England is rather unbelievable.
More amazing is the idea he’d strap it up for the New York Jets. So unbelievable, in fact, that such thoughts should be tossed aside in favor of realistic team-building aspects in the league that plays for pay.
You’ve already seen the graphics. There you are, scrolling your preferred social media feed only to come across the unthinkable: Brady in Gotham Green. Some killer graphic design artist decided to play the swap-the-jersey game and a solid segment of the Jets fanbase bought in, hook, line and sinker.
Brady’s future has been the subject of rumor for some time now, but the party really started this past week when WEEI’s Dale & Keefe provided information that’ll have any Pats fan shaking in his or her New England-style boots.
TIMEOUT!@DaleEArnold came equipped with the #Scoops today:
– The Tom Brady mural on the TB12 store at Patriot place was taken down Monday
– 11 teams have indicated to the Brady camp that there is some interest
– Three of those teams are the Redskins, Jets, and Giants pic.twitter.com/2NBfkx9tL9
— Dale & Keefe (@DaleKeefeWEEI) January 29, 2020
– The Tom Brady mural on the TB12 store at Patriot place was taken down Monday.
– 11 teams have indicated to the Brady camp that there is some interest.
– Three of those teams are the Redskins, Jets, and Giants.
On Thursday, heads exploded when No. 12 posted a vague tweet of what looks like him walking out of the Gillette Stadium tunnel.
— Tom Brady (@TomBrady) January 30, 2020
ESPN’s Adam Schefter quickly poured cold water on the “Brady is gone” party.
Am told that this tweet is not related to Tom Brady’s football future. Repeat, not related to his football future. But the speculation sure is fun. https://t.co/DmUcn5vCvK
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) January 31, 2020
“Am told that this tweet is not related to Tom Brady’s football future. Repeat, not related to his football future. But the speculation sure is fun,” Schefter tweeted.
What does all this mean? Well… nothing, really. And that’s the point.
The Jets are still—despite a few seasons of “supposed” rebuilding—at the early stages of an NFL rebuild. While the term “rebuild” in the NFL is oftentimes tossed around and used far too carelessly, as one tremendous draft can flip fortunes in a heartbeat, the Jets’ infrastructure ranks among the league’s worst.
Imagine the far-from-swift and agile Brady in the pocket behind this Jets offensive line. Envision the man working with Robby Anderson’s far-from-stellar route-running abilities. It’s not only a recipe that makes little sense, but it’s something that could only be conjured up in a video game.
Similarly to Le’Veon Bell, a man like Brady is a “roster completion” move. Hogs upfront and agile edge players remain the essential building blocks the Jets need to find and subsequently acquire, and, until that happens, do yourself a favor and forget ridiculous ideas such as Brady.
Of course, Joe Douglas does have a shot of turning around the trenches in a sole offseason. He absolutely could, if every button was hit perfectly. It’s just an incredibly tough task to ask. Besides, reports—especially in this day and age of the click-bait-happy sports media world—can never be taken too seriously, especially when not coming from one of the select few trusted sources.
Interestingly, one nagging thought keeps the Brady-to-the-Jets train alive and well. The man is an absolute competitive assassin. Only pure stubbornness can drive such greatness and, if true trouble exists between Brady and the Pats, the Jets would be a destination that makes sense in a revenge-filled way.
Brett Favre said it himself; he wanted to play for any team who played the Green Bay Packers twice a season. And, by the way, it didn’t end tremendously for those Minnesota Vikings teams. Sure, the Hall of Famer played a solid brand of quarterback, and the team qualified for one NFC title game, but Aaron Rodgers and the Packers arrived home with the last laugh (as 2010 Super Bowl champs, in Favre’s final NFL season).
Oh yeah, Montana also played just two seasons for his second team, and also appeared in one conference title game. Steve Young promptly led the Niners to their fifth Super Bowl in 1994, Montana’s final NFL season.
Two older legends, two seconds homes, one final NFL season that saw his former team win Super Bowls. Now, perhaps it’s Brady’s turn. Perhaps not. Scratch that; more likely not.
Would he really choose the Jets considering his bond with the head coach? Bill Belichick hates the Jets. Eric Mangini knew it, yet took the challenge. Three seasons later, it was adios, and the Belichick-Mangini relationship has never been the same.
Until something concrete hits our desks, think of Brady as nothing more than a Patriot. Think of the task at hand, one that features Douglas (finally) solving the infrastructure problem the organization has pinned on itself for the better part of the last decade.
Think of young Sam Darnold finally taking advantage of a true chance to succeed in the NFL. (Through two years, the lack of infused young offensive line talent has made it an impossibility.) Think of the team snagging a true edge rusher—the first since John Abraham.
Don’t think of Brady. There’s no point in such a fruitless, exhausting, fantasy-filled exercise. To build something legitimate while working with a rookie quarterback contract always edges out a couple of seasons with a limited ceiling—especially for an organization seeking an infrastructure like the Jets.
I understand. It’s fun. It brings joy to envision Bill Belichick Brady-less, especially after two decades of pure misery. But continuing on the path that leads to Brady in a New York Jets uniform will only have you meet more of the same misery.
Save yourself the trouble and believe Tom Brady will play 10 more seasons up north.