For some, Tom Brady’s departure from New England was surprising. They never thought that the veteran quarterback would leave the Patriots after 20 years and six Super Bowl wins with the team that drafted him.
However, for those that watched Brady closely during the 2019 season, the split seemed inevitable. Brady and the Patriots were 8-0 to start the 2019 NFL season, but they sputtered badly down the stretch. The offense fell apart as their weapons were either banged up or unreliable.
And as the offense declined, so too did Brady’s demeanor. He grew increasingly frustrated as the season went along and a lot of little mistakes in terms of gameplay and roster management while Bill Belichick’s coaching style finally appeared to wear on Brady.
As such, he bolted for the Buccaneers in 2020 free agency and revived his career in Tampa Bay.
What went wrong in Tom Brady’s final season with the Patriots? Here’s a timeline from his last Super Bowl win with the Patriots to his last day as a member of the team.
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Timeline of Tom Brady’s final season with the Patriots
Feb. 3, 2019: The Patriots win the Super Bowl 13-3 over the Rams. This marks Brady’s sixth title with the Patriots. Julian Edelman is named MVP.
April 1, 2019: Brady joins Twitter just in time to make an April Fools joke.
May 2, 2019: Brady appears on Jimmy Kimmel’s late-night talk show. He had fun doing a sketch involving Matt Damon, but he also explained why he fine not being the NFL’s highest-paid quarterback.
“Actually it’s a salary cap, you can only spend so much, and the more that one guy gets is less for others,” Brady said, per Boston.com. “I think [from] a competitive advantage standpoint, I’d like to get a lot of good players around me.”
June 4, 2019: Brady posted a photo on Instagram that led Patriots fans to believe he might retire.
A post shared by Tom Brady (@tombrady)
August 4, 2019: Brady signs a two-year extension with the Patriots worth $70 million. However, the deal voids after the 2019 season, meaning that Brady will be a free agent in 2020. The Patriots were unable to franchise tag him in 2020 as a part of the agreement.
Brady reportedly wanted a multi-year contract that Belichick and the Patriots simply weren’t willing to give him.
Sept. 7, 2019: The Patriots win their season open 33-3 over the Steelers. Brady throws for 341 yards and three touchdowns in the blowout win.
Sept. 9, 2019: The Patriots sign Antonio Brown after his release by the Raiders. Brown adds to a stacked-looking group of Patriots weapons which also features Julian Edelman, Josh Gordon and first-round rookie N’Keal Harry. Brown is accused of sexual and personal misconduct shortly after joining the team.
Sept. 15, 2019: The Patriots beat the Dolphins 43-0. Brown catches a touchdown from Brady. This was the only game they would play together as members of the Patriots.
Sept. 20, 2019: The Patriots cut Antonio Brown after he allegedly sent intimidating messages to one of his accusers.
Sept. 26, 2019: Tom E. Curran of NBC Sports Boston reports that Brady was irked by the Patriots’ decision to cut Brown.
“Brady was trying to help Brown stabilize. He disagrees with the business decision made by Robert Kraft to jettison Brown.”
Oct. 27, 2019: Brady helps lead the Patriots to an 8-0 start. He passes Brett Favre and Peyton Manning on the NFL’s all-time passing yards list and the Patriots look like a bona fide Super Bowl contender.
MORE: Tom Brady’s Super Bowl history, stats by game
Nov. 3, 2019: The Patriots lose their first game of the season against the Ravens after starting 8-0. Brady would later tell NBC that he was “the most miserable 8-0 quarterback in the NFL.”
Nov. 19, 2019: Brady seems frustrated after a close 17-10 win over the Eagles to improve to 9-1. He’s short with the media and doesn’t say much when asked if he’s concerned about the team’s offense.
“I don’t think it matters what I think,” Brady said. “It matters what we do.”
Dec. 8, 2019: Brady shows up to a press conference wearing a wrap on his non-throwing, left elbow. “It’s fine,” he says. He just got dinged on the elbow during New England’s 10-3 loss to the Chiefs.
Dec. 21, 2019: Brady, who has been listed on the injury report with an elbow issue, is dealing with tennis elbow, according to NFL Network’s Mike Giardi.
Dec. 29, 2019: Brady and the Patriots lose to the Dolphins 27-24 in Week 17. They fail to clinch a first-round bye as a result and are forced to play the Titans in the Wild Card Round of the playoffs.
Jan. 4, 2020: The Patriots lose at the hands of the Titans. Tennessee scores a go-ahead touchdown with less than a minute on the clock and Brady throws a pick-six to his former teammate Logan Ryan to seal the deal.
Jan. 4, 2020: Brady is asked about his future following the Patriots’ loss to the Titans. His response: “I just got off the field.” He said that he loves the Patriots as well, but he wouldn’t commit to returning to the team.
Jan. 6, 2020: Not only did Brady have tennis elbow, he also was dealing with a foot injury late in the season.
Jan. 30, 2020: Tom Brady tweets the photo below, prompting hysteria among New England fans. Does this mean he’s leaving? Retiring? Walking back into Gillette Stadium? It turned out to be a picture from a commercial Brady was in during the Super Bowl.
Feb. 2, 2020: NBC Sports Boston’s Tom E. Curran reports that the Patriots are willing to “extend” themselves to get a deal done. That would mean potentially paying Brady an excess of $30 million.
March 4, 2020: Brady and Belichick talk about a deal, according to NBC Sports Boston’s Tom E. Curran. The talks weren’t productive.
March 7, 2020: Curran reports that Robert Kraft won’t interfere with any talks between Brady and Belichick as they look to get a deal done.
March 17, 2020: Tom Brady announces via Instagram that he will be leaving the Patriots after 20 seasons. Belichick releases a statement saying: “Tom and I will always have a great relationship built on love, admiration, respect and appreciation.”
March 20, 2020: Brady signs with the Buccaneers on a two-year deal worth $50 million.
March 22, 2020: ESPN’s Mike Reiss reports that Brady and the Patriots never had any meaningful negotiations before Brady became a free agent. In fact, contract negotiations in 2018 and 2019 were tense.
March 24, 2020: Brady speaks in his first press conference with the Buccaneers. He thanked Kraft and the Patriots for his time there before expressing his excitement to play in Tampa Bay.
“Mr. Kraft has been a great influence in my life,” Brady said. “I’m so grateful for two decades and I referenced that the other day. It’s been an amazing thing for my family and I’m sure when I’m done playing I’ll look back and have a chance to really reevaluate my entire career.
“At the same time, I’m excited for this opportunity that I have [with the Buccaneers] and I can only speak to how I feel and I wrote about that in my social media the other day. Getting to be a free agent and having the opportunity to join the Bucs was something that I was really excited about and that’s why we’re at where we’re at.”
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