Few quarterbacks in NFL history can relate to Tom Brady’s success with multiple Super Bowl rings on his finger and more than a decade spent with one NFL team. Hall of Famer Terry Bradshaw is one of the few and the Pittsburgh Steelers legend admits that he was baffled by Brady’s decision to leave the Patriots.
Bradshaw, drafted with the No. 1 overall pick by the Steelers in 1970, spent his entire NFL career in Pittsburgh. After winning four rings and spending 14 seasons with the Steelers, he stepped away from the game rather than play for another organization.
In an interview with The Athletic, Bradshaw made it clear that he would have never played for another team. Even if he was traded, Bradshaw said he would never play anywhere else and would have retired. After seeing Brady make the shocking decision to leave the Patriots for the Buccaneers, Bradshaw questioned Brady’s decision and whether or not it was driven purely by ego.
“Why in the world does he want to keep on playing at 43 other than to prove to New England he’s more important than Bill Belichick?” Bradshaw said, via The Athletic. “That’s the way I would look at it. Why the hell do you want to go to Tampa? The only thing I can think of is ego gets involved and you decide, ‘I’ll show ’em who’s more important.’”
Bradshaw made it clear he wouldn’t make the same decision as Brady. While he admitted Brady’s success in New England is unprecedented, he’s never known a great quarterback finishing their career that joined a new team and found success.
“I would never have done that, and I was shocked he was leaving,” Bradshaw said, via The Athletic. Shocked. I’ve never known a great quarterback — a great quarterback — at the end of his career, go to another team and do anything.”
It’s a unique perspective from a legendary quarterback that has at least achieved a similar level of success to Brady with one team. However, it’s clear that Brady’s relationship with the Patriots was deteriorating and Bill Belichick isn’t a coach known for being sentimental. Because the Patriots’ pursuit of Brady was left up to Belichick, rather than owner Robert Kraft, it likely influenced the offer and push the team showed for him.
The Buccaneers made Brady feel wanted, which certainly helped recruit a quarterback who wanted to prove skeptics with the Patriots wrong. Just as importantly, though, Tampa Bay offers a far better supporting cast of weapons to help Brady.
Set to enter his age-43 season, Brady needs more help and that’s something the Buccaneers offered more of than the Patriots. Now in a better situation and with a new chip on his shoulder, Brady will likely be determined to prove critics and his former coach wrong.