Your move, Bill.
Even if we all know you’re no social media influencer and have zero interest in what you once called Snapface, you know the score:
Tom 1, Bill 0.
Tom Won, Bill 0.
Unless you’ve been out of sight, out of mind on pal Jimmy Johnson’s boat, it would have been virtually impossible to miss the replays of Tom hoisting the Lombardi Trophy, Tom hugging Gisele on the field, Gronk dancing during the parade, on and on.
Out of respect for your own GOAT résumé, this column will not so much as mention the last name Brady even twice.
This isn’t about the age-old debate over who meant more to the Patriots dynasty, Bill or Tom. I’ve always maintained that neither of you would have six rings in your safes without the other.
But Tom has seven rings now.
You have six as a head coach.
Tom has one without you.
You have none without Tom.
By no means is this intended as a case of kicking a man who hasn’t been down since he coached the Browns while he’s down, it’s simply fact.
Tom bet on himself and beat Bill to that seventh Super Bowl.
Tom won that seventh Super Bowl with Bruce Arians.
Bill failed to win that seventh Super Bowl — the two with the Giants under Bill Parcells came before Tom was in high school — with Cam Newton.
It sounded like an excuse from you when you said on SiriusXM NFL Radio: “From a salary-cap standpoint, we didn’t have much flexibility at all. I think that was obvious on the Cam Newton contract [one year, $1.05 million].” But if anyone deserves a mulligan, it’s you, and there were those league-high eight opt-outs as well.
The Perfect Storm indeed.
But now there is a burden of proof on you that there has never been since you became the coaching GOAT.
Because what will your most ardent loyalists think should Tom win his eighth Super Bowl championship — at age 44 — and second without you … while you’re still sitting on your six?
It is fair game to measure GOATS against GOATS.
And listen, overthecap.com informs us that you have $62,778,756 in cap space, a figure topped only by the Jaguars, Colts and Jets. If linebacker Dont’a Hightower opts back in for 2021, that would be huge. And some forget that you infused new blood during your unexpected rebuild with 10 draftees in 2020.
Of course, left guard Joe Thuney and center David Andrews are free agents, so there’s that.
Most of all, of course, there’s the tiny matter of finding yourself a Super Bowl quarterback, and a go-to wide receiver.
Getting Cam right, getting him more help than you got him last season looks to me like the only way to go given the Texans’ stated unwillingness — at this juncture — to trade Deshaun Watson.
You always loved Jimmy Garoppolo, a reunion with him wouldn’t be such a terrible idea, would it now?
No coach who will be turning 69 in April — you look great for your age, BTW, even if you don’t look as great for your age as Tom does for his — is interested in any rebuild.
You’ve made a living out of blocking out the noise, and keeping it out of your locker room, but Tom turned up the volume in and around New England. Because we live in a what-have-you-done-for-us-lately? world, your natives are restless, and raging about what you have done lately:
You were OK with Tom walking out the door.
Tom believed the grass was greener on the other side, and it sure was for him.
You didn’t even make the playoffs.
You traded Gronk and a seventh-round pick to the Bucs for a fourth-rounder because he wasn’t coming out of retirement to play for you, he was coming out of retirement to play with Tom.
And win his fourth Super Bowl with Tom.
Let others count you out. Not me. And it isn’t necessarily because you’ll be any more motivated than you normally are every year.
But maybe, just maybe, you will be.
Tom has mused out loud that he expects to be better in his second season in the Arians-Byron Leftwich offense. Drew Brees likely retirement opens the door to an NFC South title for the Bucs.
In your AFC East, the Josh Allen-Sean McDermott Bills are now the team to beat until further notice. The Brian Flores Dolphins are on the rise as long as Tua Tagovailoa is the real deal. The rebuilding Robert Saleh Jets are not a concern for now.
Because you are the GOAT, you have never missed the playoffs in back-to-back seasons as HC of the NEP.
This is no time for you to make that kind of history.
There is only one scoreboard in New England for you now:
Tom 1, Bill 1.
Tom Won, Bill Won.
Make your move, Bill.