Remember about a week or so ago when news first broke that Tom Brady had decided to retire all officially and stuff? This was hours before Brady’s retirement was downgraded to unofficial and a few days before it became officially official.
Anyway, a good friend of mine who is a known Patriots fan started messaging me on Facebook regarding this news (the first Brady retirement). We went back and forth for a bit, and I even made fun of the Steelers fans who were going crazy on Twitter and saying that Brady retiring on the heels of Ben Roethlisberger’s officially official retirement just two days earlier had put the latter’s big moment firmly in the shadows of the former’s big moment.
Not only did Brady’s retirement overshadow Roethlisberger’s retirement, Steelers Twitter contended, but the overshadowing would continue to be kicked down the road for the next six years until it was time for Roethlisberger to have his moment in Canton, Ohio, as a First Ballot Hall of Famer.
When I mentioned these concerns to my friend, he responded with—and I don’t know if this was intentional smack talk, but if it was, it was genius—“Would they rather him not leave and keep winning?”
Ouch, but spot on. That’s a good question that I’d like you to answer, Steeler fan who is concerned about Brady overshadowing Roethlisberger’s retirement/Hall of Fame induction.
I think we can officially throw out the claims that Brady’s announcement overshadowed Roethlisberger’s announcement. I know this because, after No. 7 retired via social media, he was showered with tears, well wishes and tributes.
As for Brady, his initial but unofficial retirement was quickly met with confusion and speculation that he might actually want to keep playing—even if it was just out of spite for the news breaking before he could break it himself. As for Brady’s official retirement days later—an announcement that came straight from the goat’s mouth (or social media platform of choice)—well, that was met with angst from Patriots fans—and apparently, team owner, Bob Kraft—for his failure to mention anyone but the Buccaneers, the organization Brady signed with prior to the 2020 season (most likely out of spite) and then went on to win his seventh Super Bowl with later that same season (out of spite, of course—why else would anyone intentionally put on a Buccaneers uniform)?
Roethlisberger’s retirement was beautiful, poignant and touching. Brady’s couldn’t have been more clumsy and awkward.
Now, if you want to talk about the Hall of Fame ceremony six years down the road when both guys will share the same stage and spotlight? I still can’t see your point. What’s the issue, that the media will make it all about Brady? Are you afraid they’ll cut away from Roethlisberger’s speech in order to show a bunch of Brady’s highlights? Do you think Brady will stand in the background and complete pass after pass to that former lacrosse player? (I didn’t even bother to Google his name because I think that’s funnier.)
None of that will happen...obviously. But even the realistic overshadowing won’t take place. For as big of a media darling as Brady has always been, he’s never been able to hold a candle to Peyton Manning in that regard. Manning was enshrined in Canton just last summer and shared the stage with a bunch of Steelers—including Troy Polamalu, Donnie Shell, Bill Cowher, Alan Faneca and the great Bill Nunn (posthumously). Guess what? We all remember where we were when those Steelers legends made their speeches. We ate up every word while they basked in the glow of the hundreds of Steelers fans who descended upon Canton, Ohio, to celebrate them in the flesh.
Do you think Manning overshadowed any of the Steelers that were enshrined last summer?
Yeah, me neither.
And that brings me back to my friend’s point. Aren’t you glad to finally be rid of Tom Brady? Aren’t you relieved that he won’t be playing until he’s 50? You just know what would have happened, right? He would have likely won another Super Bowl or two—and maybe with a team that's even more boring than the Buccaneers.
I don’t know about you, but I’d much rather have Brady out of my hair now. Besides all of that, do you honestly think Roethlisberger is going to feel slighted when he goes into the Hall of Fame at the same time as Brady?
No, Ben Roethlisberger will still have his moment.
I’ll bet he’ll enjoy it, too...as will you.