By Sterling Pingree
“Just when they think they have the answers, I change the questions.”
- Rowdy Roddy Piper
Monday night, while everybody was thinking about the Patriots making additions, Bill Belichick made a subtraction, when he dealt backup quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo to San Francisco for a second round pick in 2018. Fans and pundits predicted the Patriots would add pieces to a defense that was Swiss cheese to start the season and has only lost assets like Dont’a Hightower since. There is one thing that the Patriots did add on Monday night; that is that assurance that Tom Brady will retire a Patriot.
How important is it that Brady never plays for another organization and retires a member of the New England Patriots? In a single word; very. When a player has meant as much as Tom Brady has to this team, the mere thought of seeing them strap on the helmet of another team is physically repulsive.
Don’t believe me? Here’s a partial list of NFL legends who have finished up their careers someplace else.
Johnny Unitas- San Diego Chargers
Joe Namath- Los Angeles Rams
Joe Montana- Kansas City Chiefs
Brett Favre- New York Jets AND Minnesota Vikings
Emmitt Smith- Arizona Cardinals
Picture any of the aforementioned with these teams and it’s enough to turn your stomach. The only one who didn’t look completely foolish in another uniform was Montana, but that’s only because both teams wore red, but that number 19 made it seem like we were living in the bizarre-o world. Emmitt Smith wearing Cardinals red or Brett Favre, gasp, wearing Vikings purple? That should be illegal.
Just imagine for a second, if you can, and this is something you might not want to do on a full stomach, but just try to imagine Tom Brady playing for another team. Just try to picture him putting on a Bengals uniform? A Redskins helmet? What if it hit closer to home, can you even fathom TB12 wearing the horrid turquoise jersey of a Miami Dolphin? It would be like if Batman started wearing pastels or Sinatra sang a song by 2 Chains, it would go against nature.
With the trade of Garoppolo, we get a fair amount of assurance that we will never have to witness these horrors. Brady says that he wants to play until he is 45; now there is a pretty good chance that he will have the opportunity and won’t have to wear purple, teal or green to do it. Fans are selfish, Tom Brady is our guy, he’s New England’s guy and this most provincial area wouldn’t be able to share him with another city or fan base.
Sometimes our last memories of Boston athletes remains the most vivid: Ted Williams circling the bases in his final at-bat, Carl Yastrzemski circling the field after his final game, David Ortiz waving goodbye one last time from the mound or Larry Bird night at the old Boston Garden. I understand the sentiment of wanting to win and the lack of sentiment that explains why the Patriots should have kept the younger quarterback to prolong this run of prosperity. However, without Brady this run wouldn’t have been possible and it has already lasted longer than any other era of the NFL. In this case, Brady deserves the chance to finish what he started, where he started.
Sterling Pingree (@SterlingPingree on Twitter) is a co-host of The Drive, weekdays 4pm to 6pm on 92.9fm The Ticket and streaming live at DriveShowMaine.com. Follow us on Twitter, @DriveShowMaine and “Like Us” on Facebook, Drive Show Maine.