As a government-certified, card-carrying Tom Brady Hater(tm), this season was a delight.

He finally played like an old QB on a mediocre football team. The GOAT finally wallowed in the muck. Tommy retired. It was sudden, it was ruined by Adam Schefter, and it felt off from the start. Lots of people predicted that this wasn’t actually the end. Some suspected power struggle. Some suspected problems at home. Some people assumed the fact that Schefter ruined it would bring Brady back. For all we know, it was all 3, and we likely won’t get confirmation about any of it till his inevitable biographies down the road. After Bruce Arians “stepped down” and Todd Bowles got the job, Brady was back in. The retirement lasted a whopping 2 months and back on the wagon we went.

But this wagon ride was bumpy. It seemed okay to start. They took care of the Cowboys and the Saints. Then things got a bit fishy. They stumbled against the Packers, who weren’t playing that well to start the year. They expectedly lost to the Chiefs. Cracks existed in this team and we could see them, but it was Tom Brady! The GOAT! Don’t count out Touchdown Tom, he’s made a career out of sticking it to people who count out Touchdown Tom. In the Falcons game won after a terrible roughing call, the Tompa Brady Bucs seemed to be back on their bullshit.

But then they lost to the Steelers, at a rudderless low point in Pittsburgh’s season. They then got blown out by the Carolina Panthers, a team now on their interim head coach, a week after trading away their best player. Then they lost to the Ravens, and Tom Brady had the first 3 game-losing streak in his career since 2002. During all of this, we found out about the troubles at home. His longtime marriage to Brazilian supermodel Gisele B√ľndchen was indeed in shambles and ended. I try not to laugh too hard at personal stuff. I don’t know why the marriage ended and it’s not my business. But it was so hard not to wonder if Brady’s unretirement was a major cause of the rift, or just a symptom of it. In any case, Dr Perfect no longer had the perfect marriage to also lord over the heads of us peons.

The Bucs managed to right the ship briefly against the decimated Rams and mediocre Seahawks, stumbled again versus a disappointing Browns team, and then Tom had a vintage Tom game to beat the New Orleans Saints a second time, probably saving the entire season. Even Tom’s worst year can still have that old Tommy magic. But you know what else we found out about this time? FTX was full of shit. FTX, a crypto exchange company that Tom had heavily invested in, was all just a big fat grift by a guy who somehow dresses worse than me. I’m telling you, I am one of the least fashion-conscious people you will ever meet, and even I looked at Sam Bankman-Fried and thought he could do better. Anyway FTX was revealed as a bunch of bullshit, the stock tanked, and whatever absurd amount of money Tom had invested in the company is presumably gone. The lawsuits will be tremendous. Obviously, Tom is not broke, but jokes that he is because he got taken by a doofus crypto boy are very funny! Can’t pay child support with an ugly ape NFT, Tommy!

After beatings at the hands of actual good teams the San Francisco 49ers and Cincinnati Bengals, Tommy and company managed to fart themselves into the division title by being the least terrible pile of filth, like when you haven’t done the laundry and are out of clean underwear so you grab the one that seems least gross to wear one more day. Don’t make that line about me, I know all of you have done it too, you freaks. A couple of wins over the Panthers and Cardinals solidified it, then they laid down and rested while the Falcons took the final week to officially give Tampa a losing record entering the Playoffs.

And the Cowboys rematch, in Tampa, was a disgusting blowout. The Cowboys kicker missed 4 extra points and in any other game that might have mattered. Tom sucked. The defense sucked. It all sucked, and with that, the season was over. At least last year Brady went out with a classic Brady comeback, thwarted by Cooper Kupp. This year he went out like a bitch. In fact, he even played dirty in the game, so don’t feel bad for him.

This year, Tom Brady finally had the down season we’ve waited 20+ years to see. All long-time contenders have seasons like this, where things go wrong and the team wallows in murky mediocrity before an unceremonious exit. Remember those two Aaron Rodgers years in the middle of the 2010’s where he and McCarthy beefed and did nothing? Or the years when Big Ben and the Steelers farted their way to 8-8 and no wins of value? That’s what this was. A great team, playing poorly, coached badly, being unwatchable. It happens. It never happened to him. Even his down years were still miles above the rest of the league. This is what the muck actually looks like, Tommy Boy. Even Tom’s beautifully manufactured face finally looked…so worn.

He’s presumably not done. He’s got child support payments now, and I expect his divorced dad energy to keep him in the league. Last year was a great time to end it. From here, I’m not sure what the plan is. Tampa already fired Leftwich as OC (the right move), but Bowles isn’t that good a head coach. Will Tom stay in sunny Tampa? Will he return to Foxboro? What about the Raiders, who have a decent roster and are coached by his old pal McDaniels? I don’t know. I don’t feel like speculating, because it’s already going to be an exhausting media circus and I’d rather just tune in once he makes a definite decision.

So maybe Tom will return to glory GOAT next year, and this will be a blip. Or this is really it. Or this is the beginning of a very sad couple of years where a guy who only knows how to do one thing slowly and painfully comes to terms with not being able to do it anymore, like most long-term great athletes before him. I can only hope we are in Tom Brady’s Washington Wizards years. In the meantime, the oldest QB in the playoffs is now Dak, at age 29. The future is now, Old Man