Tom Brady NE Patriots

Brady gives a backhand to Patriots, New England

It’s beyond reason to claim that Tom Brady’s snub of the Patriots and, more importantly, New England was an innocent “oops.”

Just as he was unrivaled in reading a defense, Brady is completely aware of his image – and its market value. Leaving himself wide open for well-earned criticism from the nation’s most passionate TB12 customer base is beyond careless.

If Brady continues nursing the grudge on which he rode out of town two years ago, someone needs to tell him to get over it, at least publicly. Be as bitter as you wish over Bill Belichick’s and Robert Kraft’s failure to keep you happy after 20 years of incredible service. But discuss it with no one but those you wholly trust to keep it confidential.

For example, say nothing to the flawed confidant who blabbed to ESPN and cost you an opportunity to cash in on a gala, nationally televised retirement announcement.

Brady settled for a nearly 500-word social media post that offered thanks to everyone who helped him along the way during his final two NFL seasons. He thanked the Glazer family, owners of the Bucs. He thanked Bruce Arians, the Bucs head coach whose career included less-than modest success before TB 12’s arrival. He thanked the Bucs general manager and the Bucs staff. He thanked his man-servant Alex Guerrero, the clown who churned a dispute between Brady and Belichick that set the stage for Brady’s departure. He thanked the Tampa Bay fans.

As for the Patriots and their fans, he said nothing until someone pointed out the potential cost of such pettiness

So on Tuesday, Brady authored a brief post declaring his love for the team and its fans, and attaching the lengthy statement he released on his way out the door.

It is hardly the same. And Brady knows it.

Here is something else that Brady knows but is reluctant to public acknowledge:

Belichick took him with the 199th pick in the 2000 NFL Draft. Every team in the league ignored him for five rounds and into the sixth.

It is impossible to know what would have unfolded had Brady dropped into the seventh round. It is at least within the realm of possibility that Brady would have ended up with an inferior team and become a good quarterback with no opportunity to win anything beyond an occasional wild-card playoff game.

Brady did not love Patriots fans unconditionally. More than once he whined about the lack of excitement and noise generated by a packed Gillette Stadium. He also whined about displays of cynicism fueled by the media and stoked by the public.

New England fans are demanding of all four Boston big-league franchises. The flip side is that they treat winners like athletic gods borne from the heavens.

Brady’s status as the greatest quarterback of all time is unassailable.

Being the GOAT doesn’t mean the man is flawless off the field. Anyone who didn’t realize that before Tuesday has been given a life lesson.

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