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Tom Brady Buying a Piece of the Raiders is the Weirdest Thing That's Happened in His Career

Jeff Bottari. Getty Images.

Living in the Tom Brady Era for 20 years in New England, one of the most common perceptions was that someday in the distant future, when he was finally done blackening the skies over the south end zone at Gillette with Super Bowl banners, that Brady would own a piece of the team. That idea was floated pretty much every time the team restructured his contract in such a way that he wasn't one of the five or even 10 highest paid players in the league. The idea being that he was sacrificing for the greater goal of winning championships, and the Kraft family would make it up to him in the end. 

This always sounded ludicrous to me. Less because it sounded like the kind of arrangement that the other NFL owners would never sit still for (hell, there were rumblings that just letting TB12 Fitness to rent space at Patriots Place between the bowling alley and Wormtown Brewery was a salary cap violation and should cost the team draft picks), than because it would've been a gawdawfully terrible business decision. The sort of thing a self-made mogul with Mr. Kraft's acumen would never sign off on. And to find someone stupid enough to agree to such a thing, Brady would have to look to one of the Lucky Spermer owners who inherited their franchises from the brilliant, business-savvy pioneers of the game. 

Which brings us to one who is the very embodiment of that description:

Source - Las Vegas Raiders owner Mark Davis acknowledged Monday he has "come to an agreement" with Tom Brady for the retired quarterback and future Pro Football Hall of Famer to join the organization's ownership group, pending NFL approval.

"We're excited for Tom to join the Raiders," Davis told ESPN in a phone call from the NFL spring meeting in Minneapolis, "and it's exciting because he will be just the third player in the history of the National Football League to become an owner."

The other two: George Halas and Jerry Richardson. 

Davis, though, had no comment when asked if Brady finally admitted to him if the Tuck Rule play was actually a fumble. …

Brady also is part of Davis' WNBA champion Las Vegas Aces ownership group, acquiring a stake in March.

At least 24 current NFL team owners have to approve Brady's partnership, which is the case with all minority and majority owners.

Maybe it's just me. The rest of the world seems pretty nonplussed about this, like it's the most natural thing in the world for a player to retire and own a piece of an NFL franchise like he just bought a share in the Green Bay Packers or something. But I'm a Ball of Confusion right now. 

This just makes no sense on so many levels. Let's count the ways:

This is an awful business decision.

To be clear, I mean for Mark Davis. For Brady, it's the no-brainiest of no brainers. He's gone from trusting in FTX cryptocurrency to owning a piece of the most solid investment in America over the last 75 years or so. Getting in on an NFL franchise is like having your own branch of the US Mint. By way of example, in 1994 Mr. Kraft purchased his team for $175 million. Today it's estimated to be worth $6.4 billion. That's increasing his asset by more than 36 times its original value in less than 30 years. You'd have to be either really hard up for money or insane to sell any portion of that. And since the property owners of Las Vegas just built Davis a $2 billion stadium, we know which option applies. Cut Brady in on that action and you're reducing your family's inherited wealth in perpetuity. Which is why such a thing would never have been considered in New England.

Fox is now going to have conflicts of interest all over the place.

Say what you want about the current state of NFL broadcast booths, but for the most part we can at least agree these guys are neutral. More or less. I mean, sure you go into a Cowboys game knowing where Troy Aikman's emotional attachment is. But you know that's where it ends. He might have something riding on the game through Barstool Sportsbook, but that's the end of his financial interest. How the hell can you have a guy doing your No. 1 game every week when he's literally invested in one team? I mean, no one ever slid Jerry Richardson in alongside Al Michaels and asked him to call a Panthers game. Or a game involving anyone his team was competing against for a playoff spot. And I for one would've loved to hear his Sad Puppy tears (cued up to 1:15 mark):

But it would never happen. It doesn't matter how small a percentage a guy owns, you can't serve two masters. 

Tom Brady is the cheatingest cheat who ever cheated, remember?

How has the rest of the world managed to move on so quickly? Because I'll tell you right fucking now, I haven't. In January of 2015, he was accused of a nefarious plot to undermine the integrity of this sacred game. It went on for two years, through multi-million dollar investigations, multiple court cases and appeals, and an absolute conviction in the court of public opinion that was unanimous in 44 states. During which time, everything he'd ever accomplished in his incomparable career was considered, as the kids say, sus. Now the league is just going to pretend it didn't happen? They're going to let bygones just go by? Not today, Satan. They don't get to just move on and let him into the club without admitting they conducted a witch hunt, they were wrong, their findings were biased and corrupt, and apologize. MLB wouldn't let Pete Rose own part of the Yankees. And as far as the NFL is concerned, Brady is just as guilty of disgracing their game as he is. Until they exonerate the GOAT, letting him be a part owner is blatant hypocrisy and they can't get away with it.

Speaking of conflicts of interest, Brady's now his friends' boss. 

I'm sure the Raiders will talk about Brady like he's just a silent partner and not involved in any decision making. But what happens when one someone he's boys with from way back needs to be let go? Beginning with with Josh McDaniels, but by no means limited to him. McDaniels brought a ton of personnel with him when he moved to Vegas. Dave Ziegler, Mick Lombardi, various assistants. Plus he's got old teammates like Duron Harmon and Chandler Jones. To hear the anti-Patriots jihadists in Boston media tell it, every time Bill Belichick made a business decision on a player Brady liked, it bred resentment and caused the fabled "rift" we heard so much about. I mean, just look at film from the 2019 season after Gronk got sick of Belichick's harping on him and noped out of there. Brady was visibly miserable. And speaking of that, he now has an entire organization to unleash Alex Guerrero on. The presence of his TB12 Fitness business partner around Gillette started the Pliability War that eventually led to him leaving the team. And caused a lesser controversy in Tampa. Now that he's not just the most important player but wields the power of an actual owner, good luck to any Raiders player who prefers weight lifting and red meat to resistance bands and kale smoothies. 

The Tuck Rule.

I saved this for last, not because it's the most important point, but as more of a footnote. It might be a minor consideration, but it's not nothing. No fanbase in North America hold a grudge like Raider fans do. They're like some Eastern European ethnic group that went to war with a rival group generations ago, when their ancestors belonged to some kingdoms that haven't been on a map for a thousand years, but still haven't gotten over it. Just ask any Raiders fan over the age of 65 about The Immaculate Reception. Then clear the rest of your schedule, because you'll be hearing about it the rest of the night. ESPN might have asked Davis about the Tuck Rule as a joke, but they don't see it that way. It is still very much in their minds and they are shook to this day. If the Krafts sold a piece of the franchise to say, David Tyree, it wouldn't make me not want to stop being emotionally attached to their team or quit going to games. But it would make me question why him of all people and breed resentment they do not need. 

Anyway, it's a great financial windfall for Brady. But other than that, him becoming an owner in Vegas is just bizarre every way you look at it. And once they get around to approving it, the league is going to have a lot of explaining to do.