Bean: Five intriguing destinations for Tom Brady, if he plays in 2022 originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

The Tom Brady “retirement” never felt right.

He said he’d retire when he sucked, but the only thing we now know he sucks at is retiring. Calling it quits now seemed weird from the jump, so when reports surfaced on Super Bowl Sunday that he could return at some point, it probably made a lot of us feel a little more sane.

Even if it was short-lived, the Tampa experience set the bar for what Brady should want from a post-Patriots destination, not only for Brady from a competitive standpoint, but for us as a town obsessed with Tom Brady.

You had the Bucs jerseys, the vindication for anyone who cried “weapons” in Brady’s final years and so much more.

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Prioritizing a damn good time, here are five options for Brady: 

1. San Francisco 49ers

Rootability: 9/10

Juice: 9/10

Jersey: 8/10

Travel destination: 10/10

With it remaining an NFC team, Patriots fans probably wouldn’t feel any more conflicted about rooting for Brady with San Francisco than they were when he was with Tampa.

There’s the “going home” thing, but what would make this juicy as hell is that not only would Brady be replacing Jimmy Garoppolo, he’d be dealing with one all over again in Trey Lance. Brady wouldn’t struggle, but if he did, he’d have a top-three pick breathing down his neck. Factor in that it’s a team as big as the 49ers and this whole experience would be [Stephen A. voice] BOX OFFICE.

A Tom Brady jersey looks gorgeous no matter what, but a Brady 49ers jersey? Talk about easy on the eyes. It would be accepted in any establishment no matter the dress code. I would prefer the jerseys the 49ers wore until 2008 with the gold trim on the numbers, but this would look good no matter what.

Tampa’s a fun city. Weather, food, stuff to do, but a cross-country trip for New Englanders to see Tom Brady play in San Francisco would be an absolute blast. Give me San Fran if Brady plays anywhere else. 

2. Tennessee Titans

Rootability: 5/10

Juice: 9/10

Jersey: 6/10

Travel destination: 10/10

Ooh, this one’s tempting. An AFC team with a former Patriots teammate as head coach? Mike Vrabel likes to stick it to Bill Belichick already, but Brady and Vrabel teaming up would really test Patriots fans’ loyalty. The only thing that would hold this back headline-wise is that the Titans aren’t exactly a “national headlines” team, but if Brady could make the Bucs one, maybe he’d do the same for the Titans. 

Titans jerseys are trash. I like that they’re different, though. Sometimes trash is good if it means it’s not the same as everything else (see: Taylor Swift’s “Reputation” album). The Bucs switched away from their weird jerseys in Brady’s first year, so we truly haven’t seen an “ugly” Tom Brady jersey. This would be.

Nashville is Nashville. It’s a great time. Plus he’d be in Matt Cassel’s backyard.

3. Indianapolis Colts

Rootability: 3/10

Juice: 7/10

Jersey: 10/10

Travel destination: 7/10

It’s quite hard to imagine Brady thinking highly enough of the Colts to go play for them, but man, this one ranks high on the chaos scale. When you think Colts, you think Peyton Manning. If Brady went there and somehow won (the team is good), he would have as many titles with the Colts as Manning did. The visual of the jersey is just hilarious, too.

Also, Indianapolis is underappreciated as a city. Patriots fans would enjoy themselves for a weekend out there.

4. New England Patriots

Rootability: 10/10

Juice: 10/10

Jersey: I’ve had better

Travel destination: N/A

Like the Colts, this is also high on both the chaos and “never going to happen” scales. Imagine if somehow both sides could get over the ending a couple years ago and reunite for the end of Brady’s career? Would you sit Mac Jones for a year or two to do it if you’re the Patriots? I would.

Patriots fans would absolutely eat this up. Know who wouldn’t? Every other person in America. 

5. Denver Broncos

Rootability: 3/10

Juice: 4/10

Jersey: 7/10

Travel destination: 8/10

Boring. If Brady’s going to go to a team known for legendary play from other QBs, he might as well go to San Francisco where he’s got a better chance of winning. The Broncos have some good receivers, but between it being an AFC team and this just feeling like a Peyton Manning redux, this is the lamest of the choices.


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