In case you are completely detached from the world of sports, Tom Brady, the greatest quarterback in NFL history, just un-retired from the NFL.
Back in February, Brady posted an announcement of his retirement on Instagram, thanking numerous people for the “thrilling ride” and saying he was not going to make the “competitive commitment” anymore. Well, apparently he’s committed once again.
On Sunday, the 7x Super Bowl champion posted a reversal of his decision on, where else, Instagram, announcing that he’s returning to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for an incredible 23rd season.
Brady has an interesting place in the public sphere. He was widely despised during his time with the Patriots, even though his status as the NFL’s GOAT is pretty much undisputed. As we reluctantly said when he released his surprisingly stylish sunglasses line with Cloos, ever since Brady left the Patriots, he’s become somewhat more likable.
Despite public vitriol somewhat subsiding since he arrived in Tampa Bay, sports fans everywhere are having a variety of reactions to the end of Brady’s quasi-retirement. A quick look at the timeline shows everything from joy to disgust and annoyance. His haters definitely aren’t hiding their disappointment that Brady is not, in fact, done with the sport after more than two decades. The internet is alight with theories, speculation and lots of feelings about what this means for the next NFL season.
Damn, even Tom Brady saw 7.9% inflation and record-high gas prices and decided he needed to go back to work.
— Joe Pompliano (@JoePompliano) March 13, 2022
Things that last longer than Tom Brady’s retirement:
– the MLB lockout
– Pete Davidson in bed with Kim K
– The new Batman movie
– Big Ben running a QB draw
– Antonio Brown getting off a field
– Urban Meyer coaching in the NFL
— Annie Agar (@AnnieAgar) March 14, 2022
There are numerous theories about his change of heart — perhaps other GOATs like LeBron James and Cristiano Ronaldo successfully convinced him to return? Maybe domestic life was too quiet and boring for him alongside his even-more-successful supermodel wife Gisele Bündchen? Maybe he peeked at the landslide of online trolls slamming him for not retiring the year prior after winning his record-breaking seventh Super Bowl? Who knows what goes on in the recesses of Tommy B’s mind.
There’s also speculation about whether he’ll actually return to Tampa Bay, or whether another team will sign him during the free agency period that begins this week.
Frankly, I’m not concerned with any of that.
Sure, if he signs with the 49ers I will be happy. As a native San Franciscan, I’d be marginally excited to watch my home team win a Super Bowl with him at the helm.
What I’m more concerned about, however, as an e-commerce editor, is the fate of his “final” touchdown ball, which just sold for $518,000 the day before he reversed his decision. What a change of fate for that auction recipient, huh?
Mike Evans doing Mike Evans things.
— Darius Butler (@DariusJButler) January 23, 2022
Just hours before Tom Brady reversed his decision, an unidentified person spent upwards of $518,628 on the football Tom Brady threw 55 yards to receiver Mike Evans during the Buccaneers’ final game of the 2021-22 season. It was a game they ultimately lost against the Los Angeles Rams in the NFC divisional round, and 23 different bids were made for the ball, starting at $100,000. Before it went for sale, it was estimated it could go for as much as $1 million.
Now, it’s pretty much worthless, assuming Brady will score another touchdown during his 23rd season playing professional football. Last summer, the same auction house that sold his “final” football sold his first-ever touchdown ball for close to the same price, at $428,861.60.
The question becomes: should Brady compensate the recipient of this ball for his now-defunct investment?
Sure, he’s not legally obligated to in any which way, but as a courtesy to an extremely devoted fan whose now experiencing a financial pitfall as a result of his unprecedented reversal?
I think so. It’s the least he can do. Imagine spending half a million dollars on a precious parcel of sports memorabilia, only to have it rendered worthless in a few hours because the 45-year-old player of a sport that averages folks half that seniority decides he’s not, in fact, finished.
The fan will probably write it off as an even more interesting acquisition now that it symbolizes the moment when a star NFL quarterback left the game after a historic run, only to return a few weeks later. However, from a financial standpoint, it’s definitely a blow.
Brady ended his un-retirement announcement with a rallying declaration: “We have unfinished business.” The “We” in his post is him and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. However, we’d argue he also has unfinished business with the now-owner of this previously special football. Time will tell whether he ties up all loose ends.