Tampa Bay Buccaneers QB Tom Brady’s Decision To Unretire Was an All-Time Own Goal

Bucs quarterback Tom Brady's awful performance in Monday night's Wild Card loss to the Dallas Cowboys should be his final act as an NFL player.

Even the biggest Tom Brady hater had to feel a twinge of sympathy for what we saw Monday night.

The GOAT looked cooked, and his poor play was a leading reason why the Dallas Cowboys stomped the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 31-14 in the Wild Card round.

Tom Brady’s Possible Swan Song Was Ugly

Brady threw the ball 66 times. He completed just 35 of those attempts. That’s a little over half for those who struggle with arithmetic.

Monday night was his 48th career playoff appearance. It accounted for his third-lowest yards-per-attempt average (5.32), sixth-lowest completion percentage (53%), and second-largest margin of defeat (17).

“You know, we lost tonight — it’s a team sport,” Brady said after the game when asked to assess his performance. “So, I’ve never considered any individual things like that, and obviously, we came up short as a team. That’s really all that matters.

“That’s all I’ve really cared about was team success and how well we did as a team, how
well we performed under pressure — and tonight was obviously not one of our best
nights.”

Or one of his best years.

For anyone who watched Brady play this year, Monday was utterly predictable. Brady — who announced his retirement a year ago only to unretire weeks later — played some of the worst football since the earliest days of his career.

ESPN has been releasing QBR ratings since 2006. In 2022, Brady had the lowest QBR of his career (52.5).

But his struggles were best understood by those who watch the tape. PFN’s Dalton Miller does just that, and he had this to write about Brady in the aftermath of Monday’s game:

“Father Time has finally caught up to Brady. Despite breaking the league record for attempts and completions, he was clearly a much different player this season. He consistently missed passes at 44 that he wasn’t missing at 43. And despite still showing flashes of the brilliance that made him the greatest ever, the flashes are fleeting.

“He had the chance to go out on top, but he wasn’t done playing yet, and neither was his body. Now, he has a choice to make. Brady is entitled to play as long as he desires.

“But that comes with the inevitability of an even steeper decline in his play. Or, he can hang up the cleats, put on a suit, and head to the booth whenever he’s tired of playing the family man.”

Well said, Dalton.

Tom Brady Should Retire — For Real

Brady never should have come back. His legacy is of course safe. With seven world championships, three league MVP awards, and every major NFL passing record, he’s the greatest team sport athlete in American history.

But the inner drive that made him so great also compelled a much-diminished former champ to return to the ring — at perhaps the cost of his marriage.

And for what? 10 losses in 18 games? He should have followed Bruce Arians’ lead and stayed out.

Very early on Tuesday morning, Brady met with reporters to discuss the carnage that just ensued. It’s entirely possible it will be his final postgame news conference.

MORE: Tampa Bay Buccaneers Offseason Preview 2023

While there’s speculation he might join Josh McDaniels in Las Vegas, any team considering signing the soon-to-be 46-year-old better have big-time doubts after seeing the product he put on the field Monday.

“Not the way we wanted to end it, but we didn’t deserve it,” Brady said. “I give them a lot of credit, they played a good game — made a lot more plays than we did. So, tough night.”

When asked about what comes next, Brady responded:

“I’m going to go home and get a good night’s sleep, as good as I can tonight. … [There] has been a lot of focus on this game, so yeah. It’s just been one day at a time.”

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