Tom Brady sounds less like he took his last shot and more like he’s not sure where his next shot will be

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TAMPA, Fla. – After throwing 66 passes and being mostly knocked down and ultimately out of the 2022 season playoffs by the Dallas Cowboys, Tom Brady took a stage to explain what went wrong.

“Kind of typical how we played all year — inefficient on the passing game, not very good on the run, so it’s hard to beat such good teams,” said Brady after a 31-14 drill at the hands of the Cowboys. .

He dodged questions about his future, then slipped back into the Buccaneers locker room, through the bowels of Raymond James Stadium, and finally into a black Tesla where, videographer in tow, he drove off for… what?

What’s next for Tom Brady will be the number 1 question of this off-season.

Is he ready in Tampa? Will there be an opportunity elsewhere, perhaps in Las Vegas, Miami or Tennessee? Is it time to move to the broadcast booth?

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His attitude after Monday night’s debacle did not predict a 23-year-old veteran knowing he had just played his last game. He smiled as he chatted with backup QB Blaine Gabbert as he changed into street clothes, gave a quick pat on the back to his offensive linemen as they sat in front of their lockers, and told more than a few Bucs players and representatives: “See you tomorrow .”

He was light, perhaps relieved that this tough season was finally over, but mostly emotionless.

Is this – a 35-of-66, two touchdowns, one interception, mostly forgettable performance – how Tom Freaking Brady comes off?

Was Monday Tom Brady’s last game in Tampa Bay? Was it the last of his NFL career? It didn’t quite sound like the postgame. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

If there’s one thing Monday night’s loss in 45-year-old Brady exposed, it’s that his game has largely been reduced to think and dunk. There is very little stretching the ball downfield. Instead it’s a collection of swing passes and shallow crossings and just trying to get rid of the ball before it gets drilled.

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His average of 9.6 yards per completion is the lowest of his career and the second lowest in the NFL this season, behind only Kyler Murray. That translated to defenses that didn’t worry about Brady going over the top, but instead held on and created tight windows for even the easy throws.

Does that sound just like what Las Vegas could use to get the ball to Davante Adams, or what Miami needs with Tyreek Hill?

And yet, even at age 45, in a season where he posted the worst record of his entire 23-year career, he still managed and completed more passes than any other quarterback in the league – more than he had ever done in one sitting. season.

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How do you rhyme those two?

This isn’t OJ Simpson stumbling to the finish line in a Niners uniform, or Willie Mays pulling the strings like a New York Met. Brady is a year away from leading the league in passing yards and touchdowns, nearly winning his fourth MVP.

The only reason his future is in question is because of his age. And yet here we are.

Brady’s entire career has been marked by proving people wrong, from that first Super Bowl victory over the mighty Rams to the seventh over the indomitable Chiefs… and everywhere in between. Counting him down, even as the calendars moved beyond the historical comparison of any other quarterback in NFL history, became so dangerous that most of us called it quits.

“I’m going home and getting a good night’s sleep,” he said when asked what the next step is.

Does the end of this one feel different from last year?

“It just feels like the end of the season,” he said.

And with that he was gone.

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