“The Shop: Undefeated” will premiere Friday with the likes of seven-time Super Bowl champion Tom Brady appearing with other stars and entertainment figures in roundtable-like discussions.
HBO gave a brief tease of what Brady’s appearance on the show looked like. To say it’s rather interesting would be an understatement.
Sitting around with three-time NBA champion Draymond Green, Brady opened up about his free-agent process during the spring of 2020. After opting to leave the New England Patriots following a brilliant 20-year run, GOAT had numerous teams interested in him. In the end, Brady opted to sign with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers — leading them to the Lombardi Trophy in his first season.
In talking about the free-agent process, Brady opted to put one “unnamed” team on blast.
“One of the teams, they weren’t interested at the very end,” Brady said. “I was thinking, ‘You’re sticking with that motherf–ker?’”
It’s not too hard to read between these lines. Despite having appeared in the Super Bowl the month before Tom Brady hit free agency, the San Francisco 49ers were kicking the tires on replacing Jimmy Garoppolo with Brady.
For San Francisco, it made sense. Garoppolo was downright disastrous in San Francisco’s Super Bowl LIV loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. It’s one of the primary reasons the 49ers blew a 10-point fourth quarter lead in one of the biggest Super Bowl meltdowns in recent NFL history.
As for Tom Brady and his interest in joining the 49ers, that’s by now well known. A native of Northern California, Brady grew up a 49ers fan. He also sat back and watched them take another quarterback by the name of Giovanni Carmazzi (he’s a real person) over him in the 2000 NFL Draft.
The intriguing thing here is that Brady could have very well been throwing his former teammate with the Patriots under the bus. It was midway through the 2017 season that New England traded Garoppolo to San Francisco for a second-round pick. This is despite the fact that Pats head coach Bill Belichick and Co. wanted Jimmy GQ to be Brady’s eventual heir-apparent.
Of course, Brady could have been talking about another team. He was interested in joining the Tennessee Titans after they earned a surprise trip to the AFC Championship Game that season. In fact, Brady’s final game as a member of the Patriots came in a wildcard round loss to the Titans. Instead of kicking the tires on that possibility, Tennessee retained Ryan Tannehill.
It all worked out for Tom Brady
Brady’s first season in Tampa Bay was defined by an 11-5 mark and an amazing playoff run. Heading into Super Bowl LV against the Chiefs, his Buccaneers were major underdogs. They responded with an eye-opening 31-9 win to earn the franchise’s second title.
For the 43-year-old Brady, this was confirmation that his success in the NFL was not reliant on all-time great Patriots head coach Bill Belichick. In the end, Tom Terrific threw for 4,633 yards with 40 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. Fast forward a few months, and the Buccaneers are the first defending champion to return all 22 starters. They have to be seen as odds-on favorites to repeat.
Jury still out on the San Francisco 49ers, Tennessee Titans
To be perfectly clear, it would have been hard for the 49ers to justify moving off Garoppolo after he led the team to a 13-3 regular-season record and a spot in the Super Bowl. He also put up one of the best statistical regular seasons in franchise history, joining legends Joe Montana and Steve Young in that group.
Even then, San Francisco’s quarterback situation is now as unsettled as ever. The team is bringing back Garoppolo for one more season after yet another injury-plagued campaign. It also dealt away two future first-round picks and change to move up from the 12th selection in the 2021 NFL Draft to No. 3 overall, ultimately selecting North Dakota State product Trey Lance.
The what-ifs are pretty eye-opening when it comes to the 49ers’ quarterback situation. Passing up on Tom Brady is one thing. But if Lance were to bomb out, that decision will end up being placed under a microscope in a big way.
As for the Titans, they are now seen as top-end title contenders after adding future Hall of Fame wide receiver Julio Jones to the mix.
He teams up with Tannehill, two-time reigning NFL rushing champion Derrick Henry and stud young receiver A.J. Brown to form an elite skill-position group in Nashville. It seems unlikely that Titans general manager Jon Robinson is rethinking his decision to retain Tannehill over chasing after Tom Brady.