After a Strange Offseason, Tom Brady's 23rd NFL Season Might Be his Most Enigmatic Yet

Tom Brady

Tom Brady will suit up for his 23rd NFL season on Sunday when his Tampa Bay Buccaneers take on the Dallas Cowboys, so at least informally, things should continue as usual for him.

Tom Brady's private life is largely a mystery, at least publicly. This offseason saw some notable happenings, such as retirement and unretirement, skipping spring training, starting in a Miami tampering incident, and missing 11 days of training camp (excused). There were also rumors of marital conflict and Costa Rican compounds.

Who actually knows, though?

As Brady notes, "I'm 45 years old, man. There is a lot of [crap] going on, so you just have to do your best to navigate life.

Okay, sure. Yes, he is and yes there certainly is.

How one impacts the other, though, is what no one knows heading into perhaps the final season of one of football’s all-time greats.

Some men confront a mid-life “crisis” by buying a Porsche. Brady has instead become the biggest mystery in the NFL.

Todd Bowles, the head coach of the Buccaneers, was even questioned over the weekend if he believed Brady was "all-in" on the season, which is remarkable if only because it's perfectly reasonable to wonder even with a guy who has frequently been criticized for being too "all-in" on the game.

Since we acquired him, "he's been all-in," Bowles said. He is now all in.

After all, this is the man who popularized avocado ice cream in the United States.

Brady addressed the issue on his "Let's Go" podcast on Monday, saying that life changes significantly as you age. You have a variety of obligations in your life. You gain a variety of perspectives.

He continued, "When I was 25 all I thought about was football. That was how I lived. It was football, eating, sleeping, and drinking... Over time, other objectives emerge, and you devote time and effort to them.

According to NFL Network, Brady was the league's best player last season, leading the league in passing yards (5,316) and touchdowns (43). Had it not been for a last-second touchdown drive by Matthew Stafford, Brady would have defeated the eventual Super Bowl winner Los Angeles Rams.

There is no reason to believe that this season will see many changes. However, everything seems to be changing this season, including Brady's willingness to discuss the difficulties he faces juggling work and family, which may or may not be inspiring articles about his marriage in the New York Post.

On the show, Brady said that a large camera was constantly watching him. "You're living both your personal and sporting lives. In addition to covering sports, they also cover your personal life. Additionally, despite the fact that sports are taking place, life must go on.

Therefore, Brady remarked, "I have a freshman in high school who is playing football, too, even though I'm playing in my 23rd year." "My 12-year-old is going through life, as am I. My 9-year-old daughter is going through life. Moreover, I have parents. I have a lot of pretty important off-field objectives and pursuits that you are also attempting to maximize.

We all have different things going on, but once football season rolls around, I think I really lock in on what needs to be done and how to focus.

Take it for what it's worth, including who is and isn't addressed. Everything is rational. It represents a new depth of reflection from TB12.

Additionally, it's a noteworthy off-season story.

It was strange to retire and then come out of retirement over the offseason; "I just felt like I had a little left." And I want to give it a go," Brady remarked in reference to the choice. It's Tom Brady who was unable to make a decision, not a player. The man makes deliberate plans; he does not make snap judgments.

Then there was the Miami tampering scandal, where it was revealed that Brady had communication with the Dolphins during his final season in New England regarding joining the team.

The NFL discovered that as part of the Dolphins' "impermissible interactions," Brady had "several and extensive talks" with Miami CEO Bruce Beal. Court records state that this included a visit to team owner Stephen Ross' yacht, which reportedly made then-Dolphins coach Brian Flores uneasy.

Brady received no punishment for the incident, but was he really chit-chatting with a rival from the same division while he was still in Foxborough?

Then there is Bowles becoming the Buccaneers' head coach. Brady personally addressed whether there was any truth to the rumors that their relationship was deteriorating because there was enough conjecture that he was somehow connected to Bruce Arians' retirement.

Brady answered, "None at all. "[Bruce and I] get along really well."

He's already signed a $375 million, 10-year contract with Fox Sports, which will start when he retires playing rather than at the start of the 2023 season.

Finally, there is all the personal information, which, regardless of the degree of accuracy, cannot be enjoyable.

The smoke might just be smoke. Or perhaps not. Although the club and quarterback dismissed the skipped 11 days of training camp as no big deal, it went against everything Brady has ever stood for.

He excels at planning. He enjoys spending time with his colleagues. OR, it was.

So here we are, heading into season 23 with so much debate about the level of dedication exhibited by maybe the most devout football player in history.

Brady's offseason has certainly been the strangest since 2016 when he battled the NFL in federal court over the Deflategate issue and ultimately had to start the season with a four-game suspension.

At the time, no one knew what to anticipate either. There was also a lot of discussion around priorities and focus.

Brady won the Super Bowl and had a 14-1 record as a starter.

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