Tom Brady’s NFL legacy extends off the field

Six rings, four Super Bowl MVPs and 14 Pro Bowl selections define Tom Brady’s legacy on the field. TB12 will go down as one of the greatest, if not the greatest quarterback of all time. Despite being 43 years old, Brady is still kicking around and trying to win his seventh ring with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

After spending 20 seasons with the New England Patriots, Brady shocked the football world by taking his talents down south. His deal with the Buccaneers had direct repercussions on and off the field with the team. For starters, Brady has led the Buccaneers to a 6-2 record. The Buccaneers are currently in first place in the NFC South. If the Bucs can continue their impressive 2020-21 season, they could make the playoffs for the first time since 2007.

Leaving New England and having success in Tampa Bay surprised a lot of football fans including Assistant Professor of Chemistry Matt Betush. He explained that Brady’s performance with a different team has added to his legacy.

“I think he has been doing pretty well,” Betush said. “There were a lot of questions if he would be successful out of a Bill Belicheck led club and outside of (Buccaneers) stumble in Week 1.”

John Duron, ’23, added that many fans believed that Brady was a “system” quarterback — in other words, a mediocre quarterback that can follow a coach’s game plan. Belicheck has a history of signing low-drafted players who can follow his game plan and have success. While Brady was still in New England, there was a discussion about whether his success should be accredited to Belicheck. However, to Duron, Brady’s accomplishments with the Buccaneers have ended the “system” quarterback debate.

“For the most part, Brady has been breaking the (“system” quarterback) stereotype,” Duron said. “Throughout the season he has been doing a lot better than what the haters have been saying about him.”

Brady’s presence on the Buccaneers extends off the field, too. He has recruited former Patriots Rob Gronkowski and Antonio Brown. Jack Parker, ’23, recognizes Gronkowski’s recent impact for the Bucs.

“Apparently Gronkowski has been playing well,” Parker said. “He’s scored a touchdown in the last two games and is coming into his own.”

As for Brown, Parker does not think too highly of him. Parker predicts that when Brown joins the Buccaneers in Week Nine, he will do more harm than good for the team.

“I think Antonio Brown’s too much of a headcase,” Parker said. “He’s a deterrent to the team.”

Marcus Wolf, ’21, mentioned that it is unusual to see a NFL player successfully recruit other players. Additionally, Wolf remarked that there are few quarterbacks that have as much influence as Brady off the field.

“Brady is definitely the most influential quarterback because he’s won so many Super Bowls and he’s proven to be a great leader, but now players want to go play with Patrick Mahomes over in Kansas City,” Wolf said. “Mahomes may not have the opportunity to (recruit players) because their cap situation is not the greatest.”

Wolf later mentioned that Mahomes helped recruit Le’Veon Bell, one of the top running backs in the game. Above all, Wolf wants teams to be competitive and does not want to see dynasties such as the Patriots.

“I don’t really like the idea of having these legacy teams,” Wolf said. “The Patriots did a good job of having a complete unit and they never really had stars. I think that’s kind of why everybody didn’t like the Patriots when they were controlling the NFL for however many years Brady was there.”

Without Brady on their team, the Patriots may have their first losing season since 2000. After losing 24-21 to the Buffalo Bills last weekend, the Patriots fell to 2-5. Brady’s replacement and former MVP Cam Newton continues to struggle with his new team and was benched earlier this season. According to Betush, Newton can be blamed for the Patriots’ shortcomings this season.

“Belicheck can still win you a football game with a mediocre quarterback,” Betush said. “He showed that when Brady had to be out for whatever reason. Look at Sunday: they were in position to win that game, they were going to at the very least tie it with a field goal, and (Newton) had a fumble that handed over the game.”

Many fans were hoping that Newton could lead the Patriots back to the playoffs. Newton drew a lot of attention through social media and other mainstream outlets such as Bleacher Report and House of Highlights. Duron described one video in particular that hinted at a Cam Newton resurgence.

“Everyone was hyping (Newton) up throughout the preseason,” Duron said. “It was one video that really set him up for the hype. He was listening to gospel music while working out. Everybody in the comments section believed Newton was on focus mode and were surprised when he got benched.”

The NFL season is not even halfway through. There still could be time for Newton and the Patriots to turn it around. Nevertheless, Brady’s influence has not only helped his current team but his absence has negatively affected the Patriots too.