What is Tom Brady’s unfinished business?
When the NFL’s biggest name retires and retracts it within a month, the rumor mill starts to grind. Especially at those enigmatic last words
In the film Rocky Balboa, when the ageing heavyweight champ announced to his brother-in-law Paulie that he felt the need to climb back into the ring because he “had stuff in the basement”, an incredulous Paulie pulled him up short. “What, you feel like you haven’t peaked yet?”
There was an element of Rocky about Tom Brady’s recent recanting of his barely month-old retirement. In his tweet, Brady signs off with the words “Unfinished business”. This has left Brady’s fans, and even his haters, wondering what in the world he could be talking about.
Surely, if anyone has ever accomplished all there is to accomplish in football, it is Tom Brady. Seven Super Bowl wins, five of which named him as MVP, three regular season MVP awards, 14 conference championships, and he owns most of the NFL’s quarterback records. He has done it all. His tweet has turned all of us into Paulie.
One possibility is that Brady simply meant that he feels he shouldn’t end his career in a season that he didn’t win the Super Bowl. This would be a simple and pragmatic interpretation of his words. Champions go out on top, and so let’s get back on top. Of course, this could be easier said than done for him at Tampa, since they have traded Alex Cappa and lost Ali Marpet to retirement out of that fantastic offensive line. Brady’s favorite target, Rob Gronkowski, still hasn’t made his mind up whether he will stay or go either.
There is a second interpretation that seems to have traction in the media. According to Bleacher Report, an anonymous NFL executive believes that his brief retirement was simply a ploy meant to set the stage for a trade to the San Francisco 49ers. If true, this could provide another, more potent, interpretation to “unfinished business”, especially when taken with the “LFG” tagged on the end (“Let’s F***ing Go”).
The anonymous exec goes on to say, "Brady came out with a statement saying he needed to do it before free agency, but I'm thinking these several weeks have been all about seeing if the 49ers were willing to bring him in."
Fox Sports’ Nick Wright agrees with the exec’s assessment. "I don't think it's going to play out with Tom Brady on the Bucs. I think he's going to orchestrate a trade to the 49ers. The timing isn't a coincidence."
Tom Brady grew up in the Bay Area, in San Mateo, California, and has made no secret that he grew up idolizing Joe Montana. He has spoken before of his anguish when the 49ers declined to draft him out of college, so a move to San Francisco would be, in so many ways, the icing on the cake for his stellar career.
Problem is, Kyle Shanahan passed on the idea of signing Brady back in 2020 and the rumor mill has it swirling that he may have done it again this off-season. This may sound crazy, but Shannon Sharpe seems to agree with Kyle Shanahan’s reticence, saying that Brady is not a good fit for Shanahan’s offense.
So whatever Brady meant by “unfinished business” he has done something that he has excelled at his entire career: shifted the media’s focus entirely onto his next move. MLB deal happens, March Madness starts, and all we can think about is “What did Tom Brady mean?”
Of course, there is always the possibility that the Saintswire has hit on something when they argue that “unfinished business” refers to Brady trying, yet again, to figure out how to win against the Saints.