Nobody likes serving up a plateful of “Shut the hell up ..." to his doubters more than the 199th pick in the 2000 NFL Draft.
And Tom Brady has never had more doubters than he does right now.
He’s going beyond the wall. He’s leaving the relative safety of the empire he helped build. He’s putting 20 years of unparalleled and never-to-be-matched dominance in peril … why?
To, at 43, play for an old dude with a white goatee, hipster glasses and a trademark Kangol who may be more style than substance?
To go from the Athens of America, to a GENERIC FLORIDA CITY remarkable for being unremarkable?
To go from the beauty, splendor and seasons of New England and embrace a haven of strip malls and strip clubs? A place where one of life’s daily challenges is getting from air-conditioned car to air-conditioned home without your back sweat irrigating your entire ass?
Can’t work. Won’t work.
I asked Brady by e-mail this week if the nationwide chorus of voices singing, “Ain’t gonna work…” is a motivator.
He’s not playing that game.
“I’m always motivated to do the best I can do for many reasons,” Brady wrote. “The main motivation I have is the love of the sport and that I want to continue to do something I love to do. It’s not any more difficult than that.”
Somewhere among those “many reasons” would we find “Making the Patriots regret they never gave me the very simple, reasonable deal Tampa just gave me?”
Or, “Showing that worrying about my age now is as stupid as it’s been since 2013?”
But playing the game at a high level in a different environment than he was in trumps the rest.
He’s going from a team that was unsure how much it wanted him to a team pinching itself that it got him. The greater motivation may be proving the Bucs right rather than proving the Patriots wrong.
I also asked Brady how hard extracting himself from New England after 20 years is going to be on him and all his loved ones.
“As for the past/present/future, I think one thing we all have ahead of us is ‘one day at a time,’ ” he said. “It’s always hard for us to follow that, but the world has a way of reminding us that we better focus on just that.”