RDo you remember a few months ago when Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady retired from the NFL and then didn’t retire? How was this all just weird and awkward, and felt like there was something else going on behind the scenes? Since then, several unconfirmed reports have emerged suggesting this was indeed the case.
What do we know that we know about the situation?
Honestly, not much. On February 1, Brady made an announcement that made it clear he was quitting football. On March 13, Brady retired in earnest, leading many to wonder what exactly had changed in such a short time.
On March 30, Tampa Bay head coach Bruce Arians said he would step down and work in a consulting role instead. Defensive coordinator Todd Bowles stepped in to replace him.
Are these two facts related?
Almost certainly, given the power dynamics of the situation. Arians was entirely replaceable, as head coaches tend to be the league, while Brady is one of the most important figures in sports history.
This is where we get into the tricky realm of speculation, so everything from now on must be framed by the phrase “apparently”, especially since it seems unlikely we’ll get any clarification any time soon. . (Plus, it could trigger an NFL investigation for tampering if any of those rumors are true.)
Stop being shy. Give me the dirt.
Fair enough. On Twitter, Rich Ohrnberger, a former player and current NFL analyst, reported that Brady, along with offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich, felt undermined by the Arians and the two were looking to go elsewhere.
Meanwhile, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk reported around this time that Stephen Ross and the Miami Dolphins wanted to bring in Brady and head coach Sean Payton, but not necessarily in a football role: the goal was to bring him in. make it part of the head office presumably. to begin the next phase of Brady’s NFL career.
So Brady would have been an executive and still playing football?
Apparently yes. This is where the story starts to get silly, though it’s worth noting that ridiculous stuff is basically the norm in the NFL. The next step in the plan would have been for Brady to “step aside,” set up as the lead quarterback, and have the Dolphins find some sort of trade compensation for the loss of himself. There were no rules prohibiting Miami from signing Brady as an executive, but he still would have been under contract to play quarterback with the Buccaneers if he wanted to be on the field.
That’s when former Dolphins head coach Brian Flores filed a racial discrimination lawsuit against the NFL, right?
Yes. Apparently that’s when the whole plan fell apart. The Dolphins, the team that fired Flores, were going to have to try to bring in a white team president and a white head coach while being accused of trying to circumvent the Rooney rule, which requires teams to interview a minority candidate for major coaching positions. . It just wasn’t going to fly.
What incident triggered this lawsuit again?
Well, New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick accidentally sent Flores a text message that was meant for former Buffalo Bills offensive coordinator Brian Daboll. The message informed Flores that the New York Giants had already picked Daboll even before they interviewed Flores, suggesting he was only being interviewed as a formality.
So if Belichick hadn’t sent that text, there’s a chance Brady is currently the Miami Dolphins’ touchdown team president?
If there’s any truth behind these reports — and again, we’re not sure — there’s no way it happened after Flores’ trial. Then yes.
Doesn’t that seem impractical to you, given the not-quite-smooth split between Brady and Belichick?
I see where you are coming from. It would be reckless speculation to suggest that this could have been an elaborate Better Call Saul-type storyline where Bill Belichick “accidentally on purpose” texted the wrong Brian because he got wind of Brady’s plans to join the Dolphins. and felt that would be the way to sabotage them. That’s not to say it’s not extremely funny to imagine it as something he would have done, given his history of extremely convoluted schemes.
What happens now?
Nothing unless the league decides to investigate the Dolphins for possible tampering, which they probably should do at this point. The Dolphins don’t want to dwell on that and the Buccaneers should just be happy to have Brady back. It would be better for them, and for the whole scandal-ridden league in general, if this story went away quickly. Unfortunately for them, in sports, that’s exactly the kind of juicy conspiracy theory that never really exists. Stay tuned.