Tom Brady served as the New England Patriots’ starting quarterback for 19 seasons. Not only did he lead his team to six Super Bowl titles during this time, he also dominated the rest of the AFC East in unprecedented fashion: Brady led the Patriots to 17 division titles in 19 years, while missing out once on a tiebreaker (2002) and once because he suffered a season-ending knee injury just minutes into the first game of the year (2008).
The other 17 seasons, meanwhile, saw him routinely played a key role in New England besting the other three clubs in the AFC East to come away with the division crown on a near-automatic level. While the Buffalo Bills, Miami Dolphins and New York Jets did have some occasional success against the future Hall of Famer, their victories against him were far and few between since he emerged as the Patriots’ starting QB in 2001.
Needless to say that his departure from New England might therefore be a tide-turning event within the division — one that could give the other organizations hope that the end of the Patriots’ dominance could be right around the corner. To get a better impression of how they feel about Brady leaving the team and the division (he will likely join the Tampa Bay Buccaneers), we asked the respective SB Nation sites to share their thoughts.
Let’s take a look.
Tom Brady’s history against Buffalo: 35 games: 32 wins, 3 losses; 738-for-1,154 passing, 8,669 yards, 70 touchdowns, 25 interceptions (97.9 passer rating); 2 rushing touchdowns; 62 sacks, 7 lost fumbles
“Brady was the single greatest reason the Bills could never gain any traction over the last twenty years. His record against Buffalo is unmatched in NFL history and we’re glad he’s gone. He was a great player and we look forward to moving on without him in the division.” — Matt Warren, Buffalo Rumblings
Tom Brady’s history against Miami: 35 games: 23 wins, 12 losses; 687-for-1,129 passing, 8,185 yards, 67 touchdowns, 27 interceptions (92.8 passer rating); 3 rushing touchdowns; 64 sacks, 8 lost fumbles
“There is no denying the greatness of Brady and what the Patriots have done over the last 20 years. Dolphins fans are happy he is gone, away from the AFC East and, honestly, the AFC as a whole. It feels like the AFC East is finally a division with four teams competing rather than three teams vying for second place. Bill Belichick is still there and the Patriots will probably still compete, but there is no denying that they should take a step back just as the rest of the Division starts to surge forward.” — Kevin Nogle, The Phinsider
New York Jets
Tom Brady’s history against New York: 38 games; 30 wins, 8 losses; 825-for-1,325 passing, 9,160 yards, 61 touchdowns, 16 interceptions (93.1 passer rating); 3 rushing touchdowns; 75 sacks, 3 lost fumbles
“Jets fans have been eagerly waiting to hear this news for a long time. Finally, the man who has won 16 straight AFC East titles (save for 2008, of course) - the majority of them seemingly wrapped up before the season even began - is gone. It’s as if an enormous roadblock sitting between the Jets and a realistic shot at contention has finally been removed. After years of relying solely on a Wild Card chase to make the playoffs, winning the division actually seems like a realistic possibility.
“Now, I’m still remaining even-keeled about all of this. The Patriots still have the greatest coach of all-time and an excellent roster, particularly on defense. We cannot be foolish enough to count out the Hoodie. And from a Jets’ perspective, this team still has a long way to go before it deserves to be seen as a title contender. Brady’s exit does not guarantee the Jets anything.
“With that said, one half of the most dominant duo in football history is gone. Two games that used to be guaranteed losses for the Jets now seem winnable. A division that used to require 12-13 victories to be won could now possibly be claimed with 9-10. This is a hope-infusing moment for Jets fans.” — Michael Nania, Gang Green Nation