It wasn’t meant to go like this.
When Tom Brady came out of retirement in March, his 23rd NFL season was meant to be a final celebration and an opportunity for the G.O.A.T. – greatest of all time – to challenge for a eighth Super Bowl title.
However, the first seven weeks haven’t gone to plan for the 45-year-old.
Brady and his Tampa Bay Buccaneers slipped to 3-4 on the year with a catastrophic 21-3 loss to the lowly Carolina Panthers on Sunday.
Despite facing a team with an interim head coach, a backup quarterback under center and which traded its best player earlier in the week, Brady and the Bucs offense failed to score a touchdown as the presumed Super Bowl contenders slipped to a sub-.500 record.
Although the Bucs still sit atop the NFC South division, Brady has suffered humiliating defeats against both good and bad teams alike this season, as what is likely to be his final season goes from bad to worse.
After the loss, Brady said that “no one feels good about where we’re at, no one feels good about how we’ve played or what we’re doing,” once again reiterating the need for his team to execute details with more precision.
“We talked about execution the other day, and it still comes up. I think we all just need to do our job better,” he told the media.
“There’s no easy way about it. They’re trying to keep us from doing our job, we’re trying to do it, and they’re doing a better job than we are. Anytime you score three points, that pretty much sums it up.”
Brady has been pensive about his future in the NFL, suggesting in recent months that his second, and presumably final, retirement might not be far away.
With sideline outbursts captured during games and reports of marital issues, Brady’s typical fiery competitiveness has at times seeped into anger and frustration.
For someone whose desire to win and drive has separated him from others, this hasn’t been the season he would have wanted to go out on.