The Tom Brady discussion is almost, if not arguably, eclipsing the remainder of the NFL playoffs as a conversational topic this week. Brady has made it clear that he does not plan to retire. What's less clear is if he will play the 2020 season in New England or head elsewhere. While today's Instagram post from Brady seemed to imply at least a desire to remain with the Patriots, there has been a lot of speculation that he could join the Los Angeles Chargers. This would be a terrible decision on his part.
It's easy to see why the Chargers would want Brady. While we can debate until the cows come home whether a 43-year-old Brady would be a better football player next season than a 38-year-old Philip Rivers, the Chargers have made approximately zero impact in the Los Angeles market with Rivers. The soccer teams are probably more relevant there, and that's before we get to the Lakers, Dodgers, Clippers, and Rams.
Meanwhile, the Chargers need to sell personal seat licenses, luxury suites, and tickets to non-road fans. Signing the greatest quarterback of all time in a star-worshipping town would be a step towards avoiding what sure looks like will be a colossal embarrassment. Right now, the vision of the Chargers as tenants in Stan Kroenke's billion-dollar 'plex is a bleak cocktail of empty seats and fans cheering for their opponents.
But even if the Chargers made him an offer of, like, $40 million, why would Brady go there? He says himself that he feels like he has more to prove. Considering how much the Chargers would have to pay him to go there, they would be hard-pressed to find other help. How much could replacing Rivers with Brady really be expected to improve a team that went 5-11 this year? This is before we get to the part about Dean Spanos and his sons having a spotty track record in ownership, the fact that nobody in LA cares about the Chargers, and the injury curse that plagues the team year after year.
I get that the Pats don't have a great coterie of weapons, but they went 12-4 this season and, in my opinion, likely would've advanced past the Titans had Julian Edelman not dropped a bunny on 2nd and 6 late in the fourth quarter. The Patriots, if indeed Bill Belichick would have him, are a better football situation than the Chargers. So are the Titans, Raiders (who are also opening a new stadium, won two more games than the Chargers in the same division, and have $11 million more in cap space), Bears, and Colts.