The season didn't end how the Patriots anticipated or for that matter, are used to. It was the first time in over a decade that the New England Patriots had not made it to the divisional round in the NFL playoffs, falling on Saturday evening to the Derrick Henry led, Tennessee Titans.
With Tom Brady's career drastically closing in on the end, it's natural for the Hall of Fame quarterback to be asked about his future playing with the Patriots and if he's entertaining the thought of retirement. Recently, he was asked about whether or not he would come back to play next season. How are we to interpret his answer, though?
Bill Belichick's Comments on Brady's Retirement Speculation
In what was an exclamation point to an otherwise disappointing season, the Patriots fell to a seemingly less talented Titans team. The last game for the team was perfectly anticlimactic as they began to crumble throughout the fourth quarter.
After the game, both Tom Brady and head coach, Bill Belichick, were asked about the signal caller's chances of returning for another campaign. Belichick, not known for being particularly pleasant or transparent, refused to answer questions regarding Brady's return, citing that it was a collective decision based on a number of people including owner, Robert Kraft, Brady, and himself.
Brady's response on the other hand? It was a bit more telling, to say the least.
Tom Brady Addressing Retirement Possibility
When Brady was posed with the same questions regarding whether he would be retiring, he provided a little bit more context about the decision. While he said it wasn't likely he would call it quits, he also was unsure about his future.
"I would say it’s pretty unlikely,” Brady said, adding “hopefully unlikely." The six-time Super Bowl champ was also asked about his desire to return to the New England Patriots, should he decide to come back for another season.
"I love the Patriots. It's the greatest organization. Playing for Mr. [Robert] Kraft all these years, and for Coach [Bill] Belichick, there's nobody who's had a better career, I would say, than me -- just being with them. So I'm very blessed."
He later added, "This team has fought hard. We battled every day, we tried to get better, we worked hard to improve and I was proud to be a part of this team. Not only this year but every year. Again, I just don’t know what’s going to happen and I’m not going to predict it. No one needs to make choices at this point. I love playing football, I love playing for this team. I’ve loved playing for this team for two decades and winning a lot of games. And again, I don’t know what it looks like moving forward, so we’ll just take it day-by-day."
Considerations Going Into His Decision
From Brady's comments that followed the Patriots' surprising exit from the playoffs, we can infer several things that might go into considerations for the signal caller.
First, Tom Brady is one of the biggest competitors in the game, today. It's unlikely that the burning desire to compete and win games is suddenly gone after a premature exit in the postseason. These types of competitors have a lot of difficulty leaving the game they love so much.
Secondly, the manner in which the Patriots lost the game is not the way Brady wants to leave his legacy. His last pass of the game, in an act of desperation, was an errant pass which was easily intercepted and subsequently returned for a touchdown, closing out the final seconds of the game and the Patriots' season.
Lastly, if there is any uncertainty about what he will do, come next season, it most likely centers around the team drafting playmakers or acquiring them through trade or free agency. Having a loaded offense will make the decision for Brady all that much easier.
A Wait and See Kind of Situation
We aren't likely to have an answer on Brady's retirement till at least after the 2020 NFL Draft that is scheduled to take place later this spring. But you can bet if the management does their part and surrounds Brady with talented and skilled players, there's a good chance he could come back for at least another season.
Well, unfortunately, have to wait and see, though. If yesterday's game was Brady's last, it will be a real tragedy to the sport, as a whole. Especially losing the Greatest of All Time to such an unimpressive game and horrible decision at the very end.