Patriots quarterback Tom Brady excelled in 2016 while processing concern and worry for his mother, Galynn, who has been battling cancer. He drew motivation from her fight throughout the season, which culminated in the greatest comeback in Super Bowl history, and arguably the greatest comeback in NFL history.
In recognition of her struggles and the impact it had on her son last year, Patriots owner Robert Kraft has given Galynn Brady a Super Bowl ring.
“He’s been so supportive of my family and certainly everything my mom went through and knowing first-hand how families deal with it,” Brady said Friday, via Mike Reiss of ESPN.com. “He was always asking, ‘How’s mom doing? How is she feeling?’ We didn’t know up until the very end whether she was going to make it to the Super Bowl. She was a big inspiration for me, and [Kraft] knew it. It was a great surprise to all of us when the ring showed up. She deserves it.”
The move underscores the bond between Brady and Kraft, who has spoken repeatedly of viewing Brady as a son. It’s a dynamic that needs to be remembered as Brady gets closer to the end of the career, and as coach Bill Belichick closes in on deciding whether Brady should be nudged before he chooses to walk away.
Although it’s presumed that Belichick will always make roster moves without regard to who the player is or what the player previously has done, it’s not a hard and fast rule. Receiver Troy Brown, for example, is a player who arguably was kept around longer than his skills would have justified.
Of course, it’s a lot harder to do that with a quarterback. If Brady stays past the point at which he is performing at a high level, and if he disagrees with an assessment from Belichick that it’s time for him to call it a career, it may come down to whether Kraft will exercise ownership privilege to keep Brady on the team and/or on the field.
For Kraft, it may come down to what the fans want and expect. Many Patriots fans were angry two years ago with the perception that Kraft didn’t do enough to fight the league’s efforts to suspend Brady on trumped-up football deflation charges. Before cutting the cord on Brady, it’s important to at least consider how Patriots fans will respond, and whether they’d rather follow and support a team led by a guy who isn’t what he once was instead of a team led by a guy with no track record of success or achievement.