Seven-time Super Bowl Champion and future Hall of Fame quarterback Tom Brady announced Sunday he was coming out of retirement. He will return to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this fall for his 23rd season in the NFL.
Nobody could be happier about the news than Tampa Bay Buccaneers fans. The outlook of their favorite team drastically changed after the news broke.
As Brady said in a tweet:
“These past two months I’ve realized my place is still on the field and not in the stands. That time will come. But it’s not now. I love my teammates, and I love my supportive family. They make it all possible. I’m coming back for my 23rd season in Tampa. Unfinished business LFG.”
The ‘unfinished business’ is likely regarding the 30-27 Divisional Round loss to the Los Angeles Rams just a few months ago. Given his attitude, Brady is most likely signaling a desire to win another Super Bowl in Tampa.
In his first season with Bucs, Brady led the franchise to its second title in history with a victory over the Kansas City Chiefs in 2020.
Wait? Did I say nobody was happier than Tampa Bay fans? I was mistaken.
There was one group that was overjoyed at the return of the soon-to-be 45-year-old football legend.
Sports bettors rush to bet on Tom Brady
Gamblers seemingly sprinted to their favorite sportsbooks to make Bucs futures bets. On Sunday, the Bucs were listed anywhere between +2,500 and +2,800 to win the 2023 Super Bowl, depending on the sportsbook.
But shortly after Brady announced he would be back on the field next season, those odds shifted quickly. As a result of Brady’s return, the odds swiftly plummeted to +750.
In fact, only the Buffalo Bills are listed as bigger favorites to hoist the 2023 Lombardi Trophy. The Bucs and the Green Bay Packers are both listed as +750 on FOX Bet.
However, sports bettors didn’t stop there. The move also altered the MVP futures market.
Brady is already +850 to win the NFL Most Valuable Player award. Only Patrick Mahomes, Josh Allen and Aaron Rodgers are bigger favorites to win the award.
Bettors thought Tom Brady’s return was unlikely
Before Sunday’s announcement, there were a couple of online sportsbook apps that were offering bets on whether Brady would return.
On FOX Bet, the ‘yes’ on Brady coming back was +750. The ‘no,’ on the other hand, was -1,200. The odds indicated a heavy bias in the betting world that Brady was done for good.
Despite the gambling world believing Brady would stay on the sidelines, Tampa was still favored to win the NFC South.
In early March, a Brady-less Buccaneer squad was nearly even money to win the division. BetMGM listed Tampa as the favorite at +140. The New Orleans Saints were next in line at +220, while the Carolina Panthers were +375 and the Atlanta Falcons were +500.
With Brady back on the field, DraftKings sportsbook is listing Tampa as -200 to win the division. What a difference a day makes.
Could Brady’s return bring key free agents back to Tampa?
The casual sports fan seems to agree with the betting world: Brady is the key to Tampa’s success, but he can’t win a Super Bowl by himself.
Tampa had other key pieces that appeared like they weren’t returning. Most notably, running back Leonard Fournette and tight end Rob Gronkowski are free agents this offseason.
Gronkowski already retired once following a stint in New England alongside Brady. The rumor mill made it seem like he would probably leave football entirely now that Brady was gone. Fournette even made a post on Instagram thanking fans and teammates for an enjoyable time in the Sunshine State.
But Brady was the reason that Gronkowski came back the first time. He could easily be a catalyst that keeps ‘Gronk’ from retiring for a second time.
Last season, Gronkowski had 55 receptions for 802 yards and six touchdowns. Fournette rushed for 812 yards and got into the end zone eight times. The running back removed his social media post shortly after Brady said he was coming back.
If Fournette and Gronkowski play in 2022, most of the major contributors from a top-ranked offense will return for next season.
With all the recent developments, the only people who are disappointed over the last 24 hours are the countless Brady-haters who refuse to believe that he is the best quarterback to ever play the game.
Wait. I was mistaken again.
Someone bought the ball from Brady’s ‘final touchdown pass’ for more than $500,000. A few hours later, that person learned that the six-figure football he just purchased is almost worthless. I bet he’s pretty upset too.