As a multiple-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback who only played for one team in his career, Terry Bradshaw can’t understand why Tom Brady didn’t choose to do the same.
The former Steeler and Hall of Famer believes it must have been an “ego” issue for Brady, who left the Patriots after 20 years last week and signed with the Buccaneers.
“Why in the world does he want to keep on playing at 43 other than to prove to New England he’s more important than Bill Belichick?” Bradshaw told The Athletic. “That’s the way I would look at it. Why the hell do you want to go to Tampa? The only thing I can think of is ego gets involved and you decide, ‘I’ll show ’em who’s more important.’
“I would never have done that, and I was shocked he was leaving. Shocked. I’ve never known a great quarterback — a great quarterback — at the end of his career, go to another team and do anything. Now, Brady’s different — nine Super Bowls, six victories. He’s a different cat. But the offense they ran in New England was perfect for him.”
Of course, Bradshaw didn’t have as much of a choice as Brady — NFL free agency did not begin until 1993 — but he said if the Steelers had traded him late in his career, he would have just retired. The former No. 1 pick played 14 years in Pittsburgh before retiring in 1984 at the age of 35. By that time, Bradshaw had won four Super Bowls and was named the game’s MVP in two of them.
The 42-year-old Brady has won six Super Bowls, and was named the MVP in four of them, but opted not to hang up his pads with the only team he’s ever known. Instead, after not being able to get more than a year-to-year commitment from the Patriots and his rift with Bill Belichick growing, Brady will be suiting up for the franchise with the worst winning percentage in North American sports.
“I don’t know what the hell Tom’s doing. I think Tom, at 43, there has to be something going on for him to want to leave there, right? Gotta be,” Bradshaw said. “He’s got to feel they don’t want him, he’s got to feel unappreciated, got to feel, ‘I got to get out from underneath Belichick.’ He knows they’re saying, ‘Who was more important, the coach or the quarterback?’ Has Robert Kraft come out and said, ‘We want him back, we need him back, he’s our guy?’ Is anyone fighting for him? I haven’t noticed any of that.”
In Tampa Bay, Brady will have better offensive weapons in Mike Evans and Chris Godwin, a solid defense and a new head coach that lets his quarterbacks air it out. But will it be enough to win him another Super Bowl?
“He’s going to bring a lot to Tampa, and I can’t say; I don’t have a feel right now if it’s going to be good,” Bradshaw said. “Is it going to be great? I don’t know. Part of me says it ain’t going to work. When you’re 43 years old, I don’t care if you eat grass and sand and whatever it is he does, that’s a tough call, man. He’s no Ben Roethlisberger; he can’t stay in and take the hit. He’s a tall guy, but he’s not a strong guy. I don’t know. Do I want him to succeed? Absolutely. He’s 43. I mean, 43? Forty-three? I can’t imagine that — can you?”
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