(Note: I am re-posting this opinion piece in light of the recent news that Tom Brady will not be returning to the Patriots and that the Chargers have reportedly offered him upwards of $30 million alongside the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.)
Chargers fans, and the rest of the entire planet, will keep hearing about Tom Brady and his potential landing spots in 2020 all the way up until he officially puts his name on the dotted line.
I would argue that the most popular pairing for Brady up to this point has been to the Los Angeles Chargers. But why?
Anthony Lynn made it clear during his first year as the head coach of the Chargers that he believes a mobile quarterback is the future of the NFL and that if you don’t have one already, then you’re behind the ball. Comments like these were probably the “beginning of the end” for Rivers’ time in a Chargers uniform. The writing was also on the wall with the way the team attacked the position during the 2019 offseason when they signed Tyrod Taylor to a two-year contract and drafted Easton Stick in the fifth round of last year’s draft.
Lynn was building the position the way he preferred before he ever knew that Rivers’ 2019 season was going to be his last in LA.
Now he’s got a chance to solidify that quarterback room with an heir-apparent who fits the image he so badly wants on this team.
With all of this being said, why the heck would he ever give the “okay” to sign a 42-year old quarterback who’s mobility is on par with the quarterback he just deemed unfit to lead his team into their sparkling new stadium?
Because he’s Tom flippin’ Brady. The man has played in nine super bowls, won six of them, and has three NFL MVP awards to his name. He’s also got his own brand, TB12, that is also the name of his workout routine that has somehow kept him playing at an elite level all the way up to this point, with him realistically considering playing until he is 45 years old.
You know what else comes when you are the most successful player in the history of a sport that is arguably THE most popular sport in the country?
Yes, the very thing that the Chargers are trying so desperately to create within the LA market, three whole years since they came to town.
In the same rarefied air, Tom Brady is the closest thing that the NFL has to Lebron James. Wherever Lebron goes in the NBA, he’ll have fans following him. No other player in NBA history has had the same level of attractiveness to make fans of different organizations stray from their loyalties and give all of their undying love and attention to a single player. He is so popular as a brand that USA Today has their own website dedicated to James called LebronWire.
No matter where Brady lands in 2020, he will guarantee some type of exodus from the Patriots and bring a myriad of fans to whomever signs him. There’s a reason that Brady has the highest-selling jersey over his entire career. Remember, that’s a solid 20 years that fans have been buying his merchandise on a consistent basis. If there are people still buying a #12 New England Patriots jersey, there are going to be plenty of people who will buy a powder blue one.
He’s also going to help put bodies in seats when the new SOFi Stadium opens up this summer in Inglewood. That’s also one of the highest priorities for Dean Spanos and the rest of the Chargers organization. They are three years in and haven’ been able to lay nearly enough groundwork to hit the ground running before the 2020 season begins.
The numerous anti-Spanos fans are going to do their best to tell you and the rest of the country that the Chargers lack of fans is a direct byproduct of ownership. While this is just one component of this whole mess, there is another aspect about LA that some are forgetting.
Even though Los Angeles’ population is upwards of four million as of 2019, many don’t realize how many transplants reside in the area. Countless fans of other teams moving west to get out of the cold and less-than-ideal environments of their previous homes. Add in the massive amount of residual fans of the old Los Angeles Raiders and the first set of Los Angeles Rams fans and you have yourself a cramped space with not a lot of room for new Chargers fans.
So, in short, you can never go truly wrong when signing one of the most popular athletes in the entire world. In ESPN’s most recent edition of their annual global athlete fame rankings, Brady is ranked 31st. He is one of eight NFL stars on the list but the only one to crack the top-50. If that doesn’t show you what kind of star power follows this man around, then I don’t know what to tell you.
And don’t forget: The Chargers host the Patriots this season....