NFL.com - The Tampa Bay Buccaneers' gambit to persuade Tom Brady to leave the only NFL franchise he'd ever known came replete with everything from a sales pitch to a code name. Yes, a code name.
The Bucs called the pursuit of the GOAT: "Operation Shoeless Joe Jackson," per ESPN.com's Ian O'Connor. Tampa brass used the secret verbiage because Brady leaving New England seemed as likely as fabled White Sox hitter, Joe Jackson, sauntering out of a cornfield in Iowa.
Bucs director of player personnel John Spytek -- a former teammate of Brady's for one season at Michigan and an avid Field of Dreams fan -- concocted the code name.
"Just having some fun with it,'' Spytek told Stroud. "And making sure people don't know what the hell we're talking about if they overheard. We wanted to keep it as quiet as possible.'' ...
"If we build it, he will come,'' Spytek used to tell general manager Jason Licht.
Holy moly. I can't believe Brady chose to sign with these amateurs. A secret code name? What are these guy, 12? This is the kind of shit me and friends used to do when we were running around in the woods behind our neighborhood playing army guys with toy guns. Note that we were not running a billion dollar professional organization.
I mean, how is this applicable?
Because Brady is a disgraced right fielder who was banned after throwing a World Series? Because he looks like Ray Liotta? Because he bats righty and throws lefty like Liotta does? No, no and no. Having a code name is stupid anyway. But this one truly blows.
I get that Brady wanted out. That he'd finally reached the limit of working for a man who is in a relentless pursuit of perfection, and therefore impossible to please. But there had to be an alternative to signing on with a football franchise run by grown men who play pretend they're secret agents. And nice job keeping it a secret, since the Bucs were the most rumored landing spot for Brady for a good month before free agency began.
Besides, if you're going to pick a code name for your operation, at least pick something that works. Like when Mac came up with Project: Badass. Or in "McMillions" when the FBI was looking into the McDonald's scams that included the "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire" game, and chose Operation: Final Answer.
Operation: Shoeless Joe Jackson doesn't work on any level. Not one. The metaphor absolutely makes no sense. Because getting him "seemed as likely" as Jackson coming our of a cornfield? That's the dumbest movie reference to describe something unlikely I've ever heard. It would've been better to go with "Operation: The T-Rex Snuck Up on Everybody" or "Operation: Bruce Willis Didn't Know He Was Dead" or "Operation: Goldblum Hacked Into an Alien Mothership with a MacBook." And even "If you build it, he will come" doesn't apply because they weren't building shit except two years and $50 million.
It'll be three weeks tomorrow since Brady said goodbye. And every day presents a new reason to hate that he went to Tampa.