The ‘tampering’ period of NFL free agency is finally upon us and Tom Brady is unsurprisingly garnering all of the league’s attention. While Bill O’Brien gave him a run for his money on Monday, there has never been a situation in league history that is more intriguing than where the six-time Super Bowl champion quarterback will land once the dust settles.
It is Brady’s first time experiencing the free agency process and he seems to be having fun dragging prospective teams and their fans along with his every move.
First it was putting up his home in New England for sale, then the 42-year old QB stepped down as the honorary co-chair in the Best Buddies organization, which raised the nation’s eyebrows to the fact that Brady might actually be closing the chapter on his 20 season run as Patriots QB.
He was even caught FaceTiming with the Tennessee Titans’ head coach, Mike Vrabel, two weeks ago.
There is no question that Brady is loving life off of Bill Belichick’s leash.
The most comparable analogy that comes to mind is that Tom Brady’s free agency experience is stunningly similar to the Amish tradition of Rumspringa.
Hear me out.
The word Rumspringa directly translates to “jumping/hopping around.” Rumspringa is a rite of passage in the Amish community and the ‘holiday’ typically occurs shortly after one’s 16th birthday, when Amish parents allow each teenager to explore the world outside of the Amish church. This enables teens to expereince what life is like in the big cities – partying, dancing, traveling, etc. – all activities that are not accepted in the Amish culture. The goal is to give them an opportunity to see what life is like outside of the simple living and overall reluctance of any new age advancements including, but not limited to, technology.
As is tradition, each teenager is allowed to do all of these things that many consider to be normal for a span lasting up to two years. Once Rumspringa is over, the teenager is faced with a decision – leave the Amish community for the real world, or make a permanent commitment to the Amish Church.
Back to Brady.
Brady has been gallivanting around all offseason, flirting with the idea of signing elsewhere. As of Tuesday morning, the QB made his aspirations clear by electing not to return to New England.
With this being Brady’s first free agency experience at the ripe age of 42, there are many options that he has not had the luxury of entertaining in the past.
Brady has made his decision. He is forgoing the rigid and overbearing lifestyle under Belichick’s extreme surveillance. Brady is relocating. To exactly where remains to be seen, but whichever team he picks will indubitably differ from his last home in more ways than Brady probably realizes.
Tom Brady in 20 seasons with the Patriots:
▪️6X Super Bowl winner
▪️4X Super Bowl MVP
▪️9 Super Bowl appearances
▪️17 AFC East titles
▪️14X Pro Bowl
▪️5X All Pro
▪️3X NFL MVP
▪️2nd all-time in passing yards and passing TD
▪️Won 77% of games he started
Greatest to ever do it.
— Field Yates (@FieldYates) March 17, 2020
With Ryan Tannehill and Dak Prescott staying put, along with the Las Vegas raiders acquiring Marcus Mariota, his options are dwindling. Could he saunter down the east coast and suit up for Bruce Arians and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers? Or will he choose the Hollywood lifestyle out in Los Angeles where the Chargers play? There may even be a dark horse team that nobody is hearing a peep from.
Each potential environment will come with adjustments. New England will always have a home for Brady, whether or not he wants to return to the same culture he has been entrenched with for two decades is a decision he will make when he decides to hang up his cleats.
The only thing left to do now is to admire his final pass attempt for the New England Patriots.
Tom Brady’s final pass as a New England Patriot was a beauty. pic.twitter.com/qF6Quq5sVt
— NFL Memes (@NFL_Memes) March 17, 2020
Feature image via Greg M. Cooper of USA TODAY Sports