By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com
One Patriots topic that was the subject of much scrutiny and divisiveness was Tom Brady’s decision to sit out OTAs in the 2018 and 2019 seasons. There’s no debating the results on paper, which includes a sixth Super Bowl championship. But those on-paper results also include a marked dip in production for Brady and the Patriots offense in his final two seasons.
The fighting and squawking will probably rage on now that Brady himself has addressed that topic, which he did on the Howard Stern Show on Wednesday. It turns out that, as Brady alluded to all the way back before 2018 OTAs in Tom vs. Time, he needed to spend more time with his family. And he describes it as a complicated and troublesome situation with wife Gisele Bundchen. He needed to do more for his wife and children – which meant less for the Patriots.
“That was important to me, what was important to her, is our family and our relationship. And at different times, like any married couple, things need to be changed. A couple of years ago, she didn’t feel like I was doing my part for the family. She felt like … I would play football all season, and she would take care of the house, and all of the sudden the season would end and I would say, ‘Great, let me get into all my other business activities, let me get into my football training.’ And she’s sitting there going ‘When are you gonna do things for the house? When are you gonna take the kids to school and do that? And that was a big part of our marriage. I had to check myself. Because she’s like ‘I have goals and dreams, too. So you better start taking care of things at the house.’ So two years ago, as it related to football for me, I had to make a big transition in my life, to say ‘I can’t do all the things that I wanted to do for football like I used to. I’ve got to take care of things in my family.’ Because my family – the situation wasn’t great. She wasn’t satisfied with our marriage. So I had to make a change in that.”
Brady went into even more detail about his marriage with the semi-retired supermodel, and refers to a “State of the Marriage”-type letter she wrote him that changed his life.
“She actually wrote me a letter, and it was a very thought out letter she wrote it to me and I still have it and I keep it in a drawer and I read it. And it’s a very heartfelt letter for her to say, ‘This is where I’m at in our marriage.’ It’s a good reminder for me that things are gonna change and evolve over time. What worked for us 10 years ago won’t work for us forever, because we’re growing in different ways and I’m influenced by different people and situations and so is she, and we’re not together all the time. Then when you come back together, she may have moved on an opinion or a feeling or a thought. I may have moved on an opinion or feeling or thought. And then how do you figure out a way to get it together? But for me, a healthy marriage wasn’t what always works for me and it shouldn’t be what always works for her. There are family decisions that are made. I think most men want to focus on their career and it’s very easy for men to focus on their career.”
So those gossip people were actually onto something. Hm.
Since people for some reason are going to feel the need to point this out as if it’s not common knowledge by now … no, Brady’s decision to skip OTAs in 2018 didn’t stop the Patriots from winning a Super Bowl championship. And they won that title in part because Brady put together a vintage drive with Rob Gronkowski to lead the Pats to the only touchdown of Super Bowl LIII. But how do you explain the 2019 edition of the offense? The personnel around Brady was a big part of it, but did the Patriots really get the best possible version of Brady in his final season there?
Couple facts: Brady in 2016-17 had a collective passer rating of 106.8. In 2018-19, his passer rating plummeted to 92.6. The two spans are tied in Super Bowl wins, and he played in one more Super Bowl over 2016-17 to go with an MVP award in 2017.
So it’s actually fairly easy to argue that Brady and the Patriots got more out of each other in his final seasons when he did attend OTAs. Every QB in the league participates in them for a reason. But it’s also fair to say that, in human being terms, it’s understandable that Brady would do it in order to repair a marriage that apparently wasn’t at its best at the time.
… Alright, fine, let’s keep debating the stupid OTAs thing for another couple years now. But at the end of the day Brady won six Lombardis in New England and that’s that.
Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.