The New England Patriots are arguably better than every other team in the NFL at blocking out distractions. No matter what scandal, off the field incidents or personnel issues, Bill Belichick has created a culture that simply blocks out the noise and focuses on the task at hand -- typically a game on Sunday.
As the defending Super Bowl champions gear up for their first Wild-Card Weekend appearance since 2009 after falling out of the No. 2 seed thanks to a loss to the Dolphins in Week 17, they'll be blocking out another GOAT-sized question looming over the franchise -- Tom Brady's possible final game in a Patriots uniform.
The six-time Super Bowl champion quarterback has spent all 20 years of his NFL career in Foxborough, but for the first time in that two-decade career, he's slated to become an unrestricted free agent. Of course, Brady and the Patriots could come to an agreement on an extension to ensure that he finishes his eventual Hall of Fame career with New England. But, there is a scenario currently on the table that if the Pats fall to the Titans on Saturday, that could be it for this dynastic era at 1 Patriot Place.
With that possibility out there, Bill Belichick and Brady himself are doing what they do best - blocking out the noise and keying in on the upcoming opponent.
"Yeah, we're focused on the Titans," Belichick said Thursday when asked about Brady's possible final game as a member of the Patriots. "That's all I'm focused on, so we'll do everything we can to get ready to go and play our best game on Saturday night."
"I'm not much for nostalgia," Brady added later on Thursday. "I'm just pretty focused on what I need to do. This week has felt pretty much like every other week for the last 20 years. Just trying to focus on what I need to do. This is a team that gives you a lot of challenges and just have to go out there and try to play really well."
He continued: "I haven't thought of those things. I wouldn't be thinking of those things anyways. It's felt like a normal week for me. I just approach practice like I always have and try to do the best I could do."
This formula is the right one for the Patriots to take currently because that's all they can really do at this point. Brady's free agent status in the next few months has no bearing on Saturday's do-or-die showdown with Tennessee, so it doesn't make much sense for that to be at the forefront of their thinking at the moment.
For us, we can dive a bit deeper on it.
Brady has made it clear that his goal is to play until he's 45. In late December, the veteran quarterback doubled down on that desire during an interview withsaying, "I think I've said for a long time, my tune hasn't changed, so, I hope to continue playing."
Brady inked an "extension" with the Patriots just prior to the start of this season, but it was really just more of a pay raise for 2019, as the final years of the deal will be exterminated at the start of the new league year, making him a free agent. Los Angeles Chargers.that part of the motivation for Brady to keep his options open and enter free agency this year is due to the possibility of a new collective bargaining agreement being reached. That could see the salary cap increase, which would benefit all free agents, including Brady. At that point, Brady could work on a new deal with New England or explore other options in the NFL. One club to keep an eye on if Brady leaves Foxborough, La Canfora says, is the
Would it be crazy to envision Brady in another uniform? Of course. That said, it's entirely possibly as long as he's slated to be a free agent this offseason. For followers of the Patriots, it's THE story heading into the 2020 offseason. For the 2020 Patriots, however, it's all about the Titans and Wild-Card Weekend. It's business as usual, until it isn't.