When Tom Brady announced his retirement from the NFL following the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ somewhat shock defeat to the Los Angeles Rams in the NFC Divisional round, losing 30-27 after a dramatic fourth quarter at the Raymond James Stadium, there was always a sense that the dust wouldn’t be allowed to settle on the 44-year-old’s decision and we’d see him back in a Bucs jersey next season after all was said and done.
At the time of the shock decision, that was perhaps nothing more than a glimmer of hope amongst the more pessimistic American football fans than anything else. But just six weeks later, Brady has confirmed his decision to overturn his retirement plans and will regroup with his teammates in Tampa when preseason starts this summer ahead of the exciting 2022 campaign.
The star quarterback was seen with the Glazer family, who own both the Flordia-based franchise and Manchester United, at Old Trafford as the Red Devils took on Tottenham Hotspur in a Premier League encounter on Saturday night and with the decision to call off his retirement coming shortly after, he may have been in England for crunch talks with the Bucs’ chiefs.
“These past two months I’ve realized my place is still on the field and not in the stands,” Brady tweeted on March 13th. “That time will come. But it’s not now. I love my teammates, and I love my supportive family. They make it all possible. I’m coming back for my 23rd season in Tampa. Unfinished business LFG.”
It is, of course, an announcement that would have been met with a lot of excitement on the Gulf Coast of the Sunshine State. After all, Brady proved last season that he is not even close to being past his best despite now being in his mid-40s — throwing 5,316 yards (a new seasonal record in his playing career) for 43 touchdowns and with a completion of 67.5%.
It was a rash decision made with his family at the fore and whatever has changed behind closed doors since January that influenced the U-turn will not make any difference to his form on the pitch. But it is Brady’s presence back behind Tampa’s line of scrimmage that is going to make a huge difference in the NFL betting odds on sites like Betdaq.
The Bucs have already drifted back into contention for Super LVII, which will take place at State Farm Stadium in Arizona, with their odds being slashed from as far out as 28/1 to as short as 8/1 following the reversed decision — throwing them right in amongst the favourites, including the Buffalo Bills and the Kansas City Chiefs.
That is the Brady effect though. We saw how influential he can really be when he first arrived in Tampa back for the 2020 season, guiding the Bucs to their first Super Bowl success since 2003 with a monumental victory over the Chiefs on their own field at the Raymond James Stadium.
It is also the influence Brady has on his teammates that means the Bucs will continue to thrive this season. On the same the 44-year-old announced his intention to carry on playing, Ryan Jensen signed a new $39m deal with the franchise — meaning the quarterback still has key protector in center — while his good friend Rob Gronkowski could also now agree a new contract after also heading for free agency.
Of course, Brady sticking around for at least another season will fire the Bucs back into contention for the Vince Lombardi Trophy, it already has. He makes the franchise a lot more appealing for others and there is no question of his ability on the field. Will the drive and demand of the 44-year-old be enough to carry the Bucs through another tough season and a grueling set of play-offs once again? We’ll just have to wait and see.