Earlier this year, Tom Brady shockingly said goodbye to the only NFL franchise he’d ever known. By leaving the New England Patriots, he not only created a gaping hole at quarterback but also in Al Michaels’ bank account. At least, that should be the case if the sports media icon is a man of his word.
While Brady’s move to Tampa cost the legendary broadcaster $86,000, it’s clear that relocating was the right move. Because even at age 43, the greatest quarterback of all time continues to play at such a high level that he may just add a seventh Super Bowl ring to his collection in February.
Tom Brady surprised everyone by leaving the Patriots
Despite entering the league as a lowly sixth-round pick, Tom Brady didn’t let that stop him from becoming an NFL legend. Once Drew Bledsoe suffered a near-fatal injury against the New York Jets, the former University of Michigan quarterback stepped in and never looked back.
The early part of Brady’s career featured fewer highlight-reel throws, but that didn’t matter. The Patriots won three Super Bowl titles in a four-year span with the former 199th overall pick playing the role of elevated game manager.
Although New England went on a 10-year championship drought, Brady finally won his fourth ring thanks to Malcolm Butler’s game-saving interception against the Seattle Seahawks. Two years later, he led the largest comeback in Super Bowl history against the Atlanta Falcons. And in 2018, Brady added ring No. 6 in a defensive battle against the LA Rams that included a clutch vintage throw-and-catch to Rob Gronkowski that set up the game’s only touchdown.
Yet, Bill Belichick never gave Brady the long-term deal he desired. In his final season in Foxborough, Brady refused to contain his frustration about an offense that clearly lacked (and still does) capable receivers and tight ends.
So after two dominant decades, he finally became a free agent. And not even his close relationship with Robert Kraft managed to change his mind about taking his talents elsewhere. On March 20, the four-time Super Bowl MVP inked a two-year, $50 million contract with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers that cost Al Michaels a sizable chunk of change himself.
Al Michaels is missing $86,000 from his bank account because of Brady
Back in April, the Al Michaels relayed a story to Mike Tirico about a debt he incurred during the 2019 season that involved a fellow NBC employee and Tom Brady.
Before the Patriots played the Ravens in Week 9 on Sunday Night Football, Michaels brought up the possibility of the iconic QB leaving his longtime team during a meeting. The broadcasting legend believed so adamantly that Brady would remain in New England that he bet on it…right in front of him.
“I said to him, ‘Look, I know you’re not going to answer this questions, but I just can’t imagine you being in any other uniform but New England’s uniform,'” Michaels told Tirico. “And he kind of laughed, and I said, ‘In fact, Tom, I’m going to give you odds of 43,000 to 1.'”
That turned out to be a massive mistake.
“One of our great research people, Andy Freeland, then plunked $2 on the table to take the bet,” Michaels explained. “So I now owe Andy Freeland $86,000 when we do our first Tampa Bay game this year. And, by the way, it will be installment payments of about $3 a year.”
Considering he’s worth an estimated $30 million, the iconic broadcaster shouldn’t have had a problem paying off that $86,000 debt. For Freeland’s sake, hopefully he agreed to a different payment plan.
By taking his talents to Tampa, Brady cost Michaels a major chunk of change (for most people). But for the 43-year-old, the move has already paid huge dividends and could lead to the ultimate prize.
The move to Tampa has paid off for TB12
It turns out that better weapons does lead to better results.
Coming off one of the worst seasons of his career, Tom Brady has stormed back with a vengeance in 2020. Last year, he completed just 60.8% of his passes for 4,057 yards, 24 touchdowns, and eight interceptions.
But with Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, Antonio Brown, Gronk, and plenty of other talented pass-catchers available, Brady has looked closer to 33 than 43. Through 15 games, the future Hall of Famer has completed 65.9% of his attempts for 4,234 yards, 36 touchdowns and 11 interceptions.
It hasn’t been perfect, but the Buccaneers can’t complain about their investment.
With one week remaining, Tampa already clinched its first playoff berth since 2007.
Of course, Brady and the Patriots finished one game shy of completing a 19-0 season that year.
All statistics courtesy of Pro Football Reference.