The Last Hurrah?

Whatever your feelings are toward the New England Patriots, you’ve got to hand it to them. A lot of people think they have cheated on their way to all those Super Bowls. Spygate and Deflategate are still fresh in a lot of people’s minds. Then there is the adage that fans get tired of seeing the same team win again and again. Unless they are your favorite team, most folks want to see a different team once in a while. Any other team.But you have to give the Patriots credit. Getting to the Super Bowl is difficult. Getting there 8 times in 16 years is incredible. That is the case for the Tom Brady Bill Billichick duo. The star QB and the hoodie are headed to yet another Super Bowl with a chance to go back to back. It’s not hard to recall the stirring comeback against the Atlanta Falcons last year.

One has to wonder though if this is not the end of the line. Offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels is reportedly headed to the Indianapolis Colts for their vacant head coaching position. Defensive coordinator Matt Patricia is leaving for the Motor City as he will take the helm of the Detroit Lions. Then there is the rumblings of the top man Bill Belichick leaning towards retirement. You can’t really blame him. What more does he have to prove?

That leaves Tom Brady. The 40 year old says he would like to play for another 5 years. After watching another MVP type season out of the ageless one, don’t bet that he couldn’t play several more years at the same level, even though most of us mortal human beings have already lost our abilities athletically by the time we reached our fourth decade.

So it begs the question: “Is this the last hurrah for Brady, Belichick and company? If the Patriots win this Super Bowl, the chance to go out on top and more significantly on your own terms would never be greater. So what will happen? Here’s my take.

Patricia is gone as is McDaniels. They may feel like it’s time to move on. More likely they are being presented with a chance to be a head coach in the NFL. Those opportunities are indeed rare, but they may know more than we do. For example, they may have already been told that Belichick is retiring and getting out of Dodge may seem like a good idea.

That leaves Brady. If Tom’s former model wife has her way, he would stop playing NOW! She would like to see him healthy twenty years from now. Continuing to play would jeopardize that hope. He may bow to her wishes. He may not. Athletes find it hard to step away from a sport that they have dedicated their entire lives to.

The view from my seat suggests that Bill Belichick will retire. Tom Brady will keep playing – one year, maybe two – and then he will step aside to go down as one of the best QB’s to play the game. The Belichick/Brady Era will come to an end eventually. Then we will have to agree on one thing. It was awfully impressive.