If you watched Monday night’s game between the Falcons and the Buccaneers, you may have noticed a Pro Bowl commercial that started with a highlight of Patriots quarterback Tom Brady dropping back to throw a pass, in his Patriots uniform. Other players in the commercial (including Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce) were wearing the Pro Bowl uniform.
Brady wasn’t shown in a Pro Bowl uniform because he never goes to the Pro Bowl. Starting in 2009, when the Pro Bowl was moved to the week before the Super Bowl from the week after the Super Bowl, teams qualifying for the NFL’s championship game received an automatic dispensation. Still, even in those years when the Patriots haven’t made it to the Super Bowl, Brady has consistently found a way to avoid physically making it to the Pro Bowl.
Brady, who has become the near-consensus best quarterback of all time, last played in the meaningless postseason all-star game 13 years ago, the week after the Patriots won their third Super Bowl in four years. His only other appearance in the Pro Bowl came in 2001, a week after the Patriots won their first ever NFL title.
Brady presumably has hoped to avoid injury risk in a game that has no relevance whatsoever. It’s also possible that Brady has decided not to play in the Pro Bowl because he hasn’t played well.
In the two Pro Bowl appearances, Brady has completed six of 14 passes for 70 yards, no touchdowns, and two interceptions.
Maybe he’ll feel compelled at some point to pad those numbers by returning to the Pro Bowl. Or maybe not. No one cares, and anyone who does care shouldn’t. It’s a money grab that puts players at unnecessary risk of commencing their limited time away from the sport with an injury that they’ll have to contend with when they otherwise should be relaxing and recharging for the next football season.