During UFC 278 this past Saturday, UFC President Dana White joined the GronkCast on ESPN+, featuring Rob Gronkowski and his family, along with anchor Michael Eaves.
Gronkowski mentioned the Las Vegas Raiders, which sent White on a rant about how he and (of course) Tom Brady almost teamed up in Las Vegas instead of Tampa Bay.
“I’m the one, I worked to put that deal together for Brady and Gronk to come to the Raiders,” White said. “It was almost a done deal. And at the last minute, [Jon] Gruden blew the deal up and said that he didn’t want [Brady]. And all hell broke loose man, it was crazy. Brady was already looking at houses, it wasn’t being said yet that Gronk was coming.”
You can feel the tears streaming down the eyes of Raiders fans hearing this story. Instead of signing with Las Vegas, Brady and Gronkowski took their talents to Tampa Bay, and won a Super Bowl that season. All because Gruden, who had to resign after a series of offensive emails surfaced, didn’t want Brady.
“Dana, that is exactly what happened, and you just told the story,” Gronkowski said. “I am glad it did not go through.”
Hearing this from White all but confirms Brady was referencing Las Vegas quarterback Derek Carr in this clip from HBO’s The Shop:
Brady seemed upset about the situation. He got his chance for vengeance in Week 7 of 2020, when the Buccaneers took on the Raiders in Las Vegas. Tampa won 45-20 and Brady dominated, completing 33-of-45 passes for 369 yards and four touchdowns with no interceptions, and adding a fifth touchdown on the ground.
Brady has four games with at least five total touchdowns in his two seasons with the Buccaneers, and five games with 369 or more passing yards. And that Raiders game was easily one of his best in a Tampa uniform. There seems to be a pretty clear reason behind that.
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – OCTOBER 25: Quarterback Tom Brady #12 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers throws against the Las Vegas Raiders during the first half of their game at Allegiant Stadium on October 25, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Buccaneers defeated the Raiders 45-20. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Raiders owner Mark Davis commented on the situation over the weekend after the story was talked about on the GronkCast:
“I heard about [White’s comments],” Davis said, via Ed Graney and Adam Hill of the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “That was what — two to three years ago or something? I don’t know, man. Talk to Dana. I remember that Tom Brady went to Tampa Bay. That’s basically what I remember.
“I have no idea. Dana has the stories. I love Dana. He is a great, great promoter. Why would this make me upset? I was busy watching [the Raiders preseason game] and the [Las Vegas Aces].”
It’s unclear how much influence White had in convincing Brady to sign with the Raiders, but it boosts his credibility when Gronkowski personally asked him to explain the situation on the ESPN+ simulcast.
The hypothetical “what ifs” around Brady’s free agency will forever be talked about when mentioning the best quarterback of all time’s storied career.