An aging Tom Brady looked painfully mortal last season. Scholars could not seem to agree if it was due to deteriorating arm strength and skills or a stable of offensive weaponry that left much to be desired. Or maybe, just maybe, a combination of the two.
Much like Ponce de Leon, Touchdown Tom has gone searching for the fountain of youth in Florida. He'll be joined in Tampa by his old running mate Rob Gronkowski, who is looking take his title belt to the gridiron once more. It's such a wild turn of events that it could only be first reported by a dog belonging to a famous podcaster.
And yet here we are. And there they'll be -- in the huddle with an impressive collection of options. Mike Evans and Chris Godwin at wide receiver. One of both of Cameron Brate and O. J. Howard. A massive upgrade in company. Like going from a movie star to a ... ah well ... forget that.
Brady has shiny new toys. He has a security blanket in the form of the best tight end to ever play the game. He steps into a ready-made situation. The Buccaneers were stacked and explosive last year and put points up in bunches even with Jameis Winston's routine giveaways.
It's all very exciting. Even more so if there's actual football this fall. And for so many reasons. Including that we'll get the answer to the Brady question. Simply put, if he can't make this unit hum, it will be unimpeachable confirmation that he's washed and over the hill. If he has less success than Winston, it will be 96-point handwriting on the wall that he's simply hanging on and not thriving in his golden years.
Those who care about such nebulous things as legacy would be forced to take note and adjust their personal pantheons according. Because there really aren't any excuses for Brady. His supporting cast is talented and rich -- like that of an Avengers movie. If the show flops, he, as the leading man, will be the reason.
He could not have created a better situation in a lab. In fact, one could argue that's what all this is. Something Brady orchestrated step by step with great care. He is Keyser Söze walking out the door before the rest of the NFL drops its coffee cup, realizing they've been outfoxed.
All his savvy moves have led to this. The ball's in his court and if he can sling it even 80 percent of the way he used to, it'll end in massive success.