March 17th has always been one of my favorite days on the calendar. Irish Christmas. A day of celebration. Of barely responsible day drinking, pipers, tin whistles, fiddles and kilts spent in pubs packed with happy Micks. Hell, I had plans to meet some people at 8:30 this morning.
But today? It's a plague. We're all in lockdown. We're one signed execute order away from martial law. The pubs are padlocked.
And I'm not drinking Guinness for breakfast. But that won't last long.
Because the greatest athlete of all time, the 199th draft pick who lapped the field when it came to winning games and championships, is leaving for no goddamned good reason. No matter how Patriots fans tried to prepare mentally and emotionally for this possibility, to brace ourselves for impact, the landing is still a crash. We're walking away from the smouldering wreckage like the survivors in the pilot of "LOST," still trying to make sense of it. And it'll probably take days to locate the black box and find the cause of the crash.
The early reports seem to indicate that it was a standoff. Bill Belichick talked to Brady's reps and said the team's offer from last August still stood. He was waiting for a counter-offer that never came. What the length and dollar amount of that offer was, we might soon know. But apparently Brady took the approach as a lack of interest from the team and decided he'd rather sign with one of the teams that have been tampering with him all this time. As of right now, it seems he hadn't decided which one. Stay tuned on that.
For us, it means this is how his Patriots career ended:
A pick-6 in a playoff one & done where his offense put up 13 points. As TS Eliot wrote, "This is the way the world ends. Not with a bang but with a whimper." At the end of a year where he was visibly frustrated. I'm not the biggest body language guy, but carried himself all season with a sort of general, undefined disgruntledness bordering on pissyness. Either due to his contract or the lack of talent around him or just being sick of his coach after 20 years of dealing with a guy who is the polar opposite of him in terms of personality. Whatever it was, and no matter how hard I tried to convince myself it wasn't real, it obviously was. And is.
I have it on good authority that Tom Brady Sr. believed this decision was all up to Belichick. That if he really wanted Tom Jr., Tom Jr. would be in Foxboro this morning signing on the line which is dotted. If that's the case here, in time I'll be able to handle it. Hard though that may be. Because there is not another human being, living or dead, you would rather have making that call. If Belichick's and his coaches' self-scouting tell him part of his offense's decline in 2019 was due to the quarterback, or that he's concerned about his most important player skipping OTAs instead of working with the first round receiver he drafted for him, or if he simply doesn't trust the abilities of a 43-year-old QB, I'll get to the "Acceptance" stage of grief.
But that is not now. Now, when I should be listening to "Fields of Athenry" in a crowded pub, I'm just going to sit in a corner clutching my knees to my chest and listen to sad Billie Eilish music. With a Guinness. Worst St. Paddy's Day ever.