The clip was less than 10 seconds, but Tom Brady still managed to provide some of the spiciest NFL commentary of the offseason in a preview for an upcoming episode of HBO’s “The Shop.”
In the clip, Brady – who will be a guest on Friday’s episode – was recalling his 2020 free-agency journey when he threw serious shade at a team who pursued him, but decided to stick with their incumbent quarterback instead.
“One of the teams, they weren’t interested at the very end. I was thinking, ‘You’re sticking with that motherf–ker?’” Brady says in the clip.
The question on everyone’s mind is: who is the “motherf–ker” in question? Based on what we know about Brady’s free-agency courtship – which ended with him signing with the Buccaneers – we can narrow it down to a few suspects:
Twitter really seems to think Brady’s former teammate and one-time heir apparent is the target of his scorn. The 49ers were linked to Brady throughout his search in 2020, and at one point there were rumors San Francisco was interested in moving Garoppolo to New England if they were able to land the future Hall of Famer.
Brady grew up in the Bay Area as a 49ers fan, and there was obvious mutual interest. So for his hometown team to then decide to stick with the guy the Patriots tried to replace him with a couple years earlier? One can understand why Brady would call him a “motherf–ker.”
The Titans were quite publicly in the running for Brady’s services. The quarterback has a close relationship with Tennessee coach Mike Vrabel, as they were former teammates with the Patriots. Vrabel was caught on camera FaceTimeing Brady at the Syracuse-North Carolina basketball game last March, just days before free agency began.
However, the Titans locked up Ryan Tannehill on March 17, three days before Brady signed with the Buccaneers. It’s quite possible Brady used the phrase in jest to his friend Vrabel for going with the former Dolphins QB instead. You can’t really blame him: Tannehill was unquestionably excellent in 2019, leading Tennessee to the AFC Championship game, and followed it up with another playoff season in 2020.
A surprise piece of news came out right around the beginning of the 2020 season, saying the Bears were one of the finalists for Brady’s services. Dan Patrick reported that Chicago was in the running until the very end, along with the Chargers and Buccaneers. The Bears ended up giving Mitch Trubisky one last year before letting him walk in 2021.
Could Trubisky be the “motherf–ker?” Bears fans have certainly called him similar things on more than one occasion, as the team infamously took him over Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun Watson. The same report said Brady didn’t go to Chicago because he preferred not to play in cold weather, but one can imagine a world where the seven-time Super Bowl champion didn’t take the team seriously for its questionable quarterback decisions.
A wild card was thrown into the equation on Tuesday morning, when ESPN’s “Get Up” had a panel discussing this very topic. Insider Jeff Darlington waited until the last possible moment to reveal that Brady nearly signed with one of the Bucs’ biggest rivals.
“I think that people still underestimate how close Tom Brady was to signing with the New Orleans Saints up until he ultimately decided on the Bucs,” Darlington said, per NESN. “I know that that’s gonna be a statement people try to question. It’s the truth.”
If Brady were indeed calling Brees a “motherf–ker,” it would be a term of endearment, as Brees is one of few QBs in NFL history that rivals Brady in terms of career accomplishments. But it’s an interesting revelation, and a fascinating what-if for the balance of power in the NFC South (and the NFL as a whole.)