All offseason, nothing but rumors and wild speculation surrounded Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
In hindsight, it wasn’t rumors and speculation.
It was true.
The topic in mention is Brady’s supposed role in the Miami Dolphins’ grand plan to bring in the seven-time Super Bowl champion as a part-owner with the possibility of him also playing quarterback. Another part of said plan was to bring in former New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton, whom Brady is a fan of, to former a super-team duo at quarterback and head coach.
To his credit, Pro Football Talk‘s Mike Florio was the main pursuer of his story. Many let it fall by the wayside because of the initial absurdity that reflected on the surface of the rumors.
But a recent report from the NFL itself says otherwise. According to the report, the Dolphins did in fact have impermissible contact with both Brady and his agent, Don Yee, both during and after the 2021 season.
Per the report the contact occurred no later than early December, when the Buccaneers were in the middle of an NFC South title run:
“The Dolphins again had impermissible contact with both Mr. Brady and his agent during and after the 2021 season, while he was under contract to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Those discussions began no later than early December 2021 and focused on Mr. Brady becoming a limited partner in the Dolphins and possibly serving as a football executive, although at times they also included the possibility of his playing for the Dolphins. Both Messrs. Ross and Beal were active participants in these discussions.”
You can read the entirety of the report in the embedded tweet below:
"The investigators found tampering violations of unprecedented scope and severity. I know of no prior instance of a team violating the prohibition on tampering with both a head coach and star player, to the potential detriment of multiple other clubs, over a period of years.” https://t.co/Fln0tyStOU— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) August 2, 2022
This certainly throws a wrench in Brady’s legacy as a Buccaneer
This honestly wouldn’t be a big deal if it didn’t happen during the season. It’s not illogical to think that tampering rules are bent every offseason.
But the fact this happened during the 2021 season, and at a moment in time such as early December, is what hits the hardest.
Why would Brady, the one guy whose focus and commitment is never questioned, take part in these conversations during the Buccaneers’ 2021 season? Weighing your options ahead of time is pragmatic and makes sense, but what difference is two months really going to make? The timeline between early December and early February is not one that requires advanced thinking. There’s still a lot more that could shake out on all sides between those two points in time. So, why not wait until after the season to have these conversations?
It’s a disloyal move by Brady, plain and simple. And now, it’s hard to shake off the earlier supposed-rumors that surrounded the team.
The ignorant part of the whole situation is Brady knew he was doing this and he could’ve gotten out in front of this. A long time ago. Instead of letting everything pile up until the breaking point, it’s now become.
It’s short-sighted and honestly, it reeks of egocentrism. Did Brady really think the NFL wouldn’t figure this out? I mean, the dude was suspended for deflating footballs after an investigation that took two years.
Did he really think the NFL wouldn’t dive into this?
And what do his teammates think about all this? That he was considering a post-Buccaneers life with games still remaining on the schedule?
Ultimately Brady has been great for the Buccaneers. Franchise-changing. But this, this will certain stain his legacy in Tampa Bay.
Who knows what he was thinking. Or is thinking. But one thing is clear from here on out: this is going to be a major distraction in 2022.
It’s wild to think that we are at this point. Brady, the king of avoiding all distractions, has become one himself.
Featured image via Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports