Joe Montana’s part of the very small group of people who can truly understand the situation Tom Brady is in.
And having been through it himself, he still can’t believe the Patriots let Brady leave.
The Hall of Fame quarterback was as surprised as most people were when Brady signed with the Buccaneers, and can’t understand why the Patriots allowed it to happen. Unlike his departure from San Francisco (when the 49ers had Steve Young ready to take over), the Patriots have no apparent succession plan.
“I don’t know what’s going on inside there, but somebody made a mistake,” Montana told Jarrett Bell of USA Today. “I think when you look at the whole situation, you try to figure out how you want to get away from things that are there.
“I had a different story, where they had made a decision. He, obviously, they never would have gotten rid of. I still don’t understand how New England let him get away. I don’t understand that.”
Montana believes that landing with the Buccaneers satisfied an obvious desire to have better offensive personnel around Brady, as receivers Mike Evans and Chris Godwin are an upgrade over the guys he was throwing to in the best of times in New England.
He also thinks going from Bill Belichick to Bruce Arians will be a relief for Brady, saying:“Probably for the first time in a long time he’ll be having fun, if I understand what he’s been saying, or what I’ve been reading.”
That doesn’t mean it’s without pressure.
“What he wants is a bit more weapons,” Montana said. “But more weapons doesn’t always mean you’re going to continue to win. There were times we had a lot of weapons later in my career, but we had up and down years; Steve [Young] had up and down years with the same group. That’s not always the case that happens with it.
“I mean, you can go back at look at the Super Bowls that [the Patriots] won. They won a lot of close ones, but it’s still about the people, how they fit into that offensive system, how they’re doing in understanding each other. You go back and people probably can’t even remember my first two groups of receivers in those first two Super Bowls, other than Dwight [Clark].
“Sometimes you’ve got to be careful of what you wish for. Sometimes you get it and it becomes a little more pressure if they don’t perform. Those guys have put up some big numbers, but in a different style of offense. It’ll be interesting to see what they mix in with what they did in New England with what they’re going to do and continue to use and had success with in Tampa.”
But no matter what happens, it won’t be the same as anything that happened in New England. And like many of us, Montana is still trying to figure out how that came to be.