The three-time MVP, six-time Super Bowl champion, 14-time Pro Bowler, three-time first-team All-Pro, and Hall of Fame career quarterback has been the face of the New England franchise for almost twenty years.
In the foreseeable future, both the Patriots and Brady will experience a period of rebranding. Brady’s new team is ranked third offensively, a level which the Patriots have not achieved in quite some time, with weapons like Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, O.J. Howard, and Cameron Brate. Brady’s two-year 50-million-dollar guaranteed contract may have also been a factor. The Buccaneers hope his skill and experience will lead their team to the playoffs, which they have not been in since 2007.
For the many Patriots fans at Hopkins, however, the news saddened them, but they understood that both Brady and Belichick needed to move on and prove that each could succeed without the other. Die-hard Pats fan Ethan Piazza ’22 said, “It was a phenomenal run... It’s going to be weird because I’ve never known anything other than watching Tom Brady lead the Patriots onto the field every Sunday. Given everything he’s done for the Patriots and the fan base, I think he deserves to make whatever choice he thinks is right for him...no matter how sad that makes me.” English teacher Stephen May added, “I'm of two minds about the Brady thing. The sentimental part of me sees him joining the Buccaneers, of all cheesy teams (sorry Bucs fans), as almost tragic.... At the same time part of what makes life worth living is that we have the ability to define ourselves: we don't have to live in the shadows of the past.” Judge Sarah Merriam ’89, a Hopkins alum and now a United States Magistrate Judge, commented, “It's been a nice ride, these last two decades. A lot of folks have jumped on the Patriots' bandwagon and even more...have become haters. We have been reliably good, and often historically great. With Brady getting older...that era was winding down. Even the GOAT [Greatest Of All Time] can't beat Father Time..And now, he's leaving...Perhaps it's better to end with his departure than a slow, sad decline...It was a great run, and now maybe it's time for us to go back to being underdogs...Plus, no matter how rough things get, we'll almost certainly still be better than the Jets. And really, that's what matters.”
O’Neill puts a different spin on the situation: “I think the next football season will be cancelled and this will go down as one of Belichick's greatest decisions - move on without Tom!” Jackson Weisman ’20 said, “[His move was] not completely unexpected but heartbreaking all the same; I am excited to see what he can do on another team, and the Pats nation won’t stop rooting for him or supporting him.”
Even the avid Patriot haters understood Tom Brady’s motivation to move on. Director of Communications John Galayda noted, “I believe an athlete's love for the game precedes an athlete's love for a franchise... Tom Brady doesn't owe the Patriots anything...I loathe the Patriots and I won't be sad to see that dynasty implode. I've actually gained more respect for Tom Brady with his decision to leave.”
The change of location will hopefully bring a fresh renewal to Brady, while the Patriots will be building up a new dynasty still led by Belichick. Hopkins alumnus Noah Schmeisser ’19 remarked, “Sad to see the GOAT go, but Belichick is the greatest coach of all time and so we [the Patriot Dynasty] chillin.”
And, as always, a portion of the Hopkins community, to put it bluntly, did not care. Arts teacher Michael Calderone remarked, “I don't follow hockey.” Andrew Woolbert ’22, when asked for his thoughts, inquired, “Wait, why is he leaving again?”