Replacing a legend is always different. Being the guy who is the next New England Patriots quarterback after Tom Brady potentially departs in free agency is almost unlike any other such situation in the history of sports.
That’s why Hall-of-Famer Kurt Warner doesn’t envy the man who ultimately is tasked with following The G.O.A.T., as he told the Boston Herald.
Kurt Warner Warns of Struggle to Replace a Legend
“I mean, I don’t care if I went there in the heart of my career,” Warner said. “What they did, what they’ve done, being in the championship game and Super Bowl, nobody can live up to that. Even if you’re really good, you’re not going to live up to that.”
It’s easy to see how coming behind Brady could be discouraging. As Warner says, the bar is set immeasurably high. We live in a world of extremes, and that’s especially the case when it comes to sports. Anything less than a Super Bowl appearance, or at least a division title and late playoff run will likely be seen as the fall of the franchise.
Warner went deeper on the unrealistic expectations that await Brady’s successor.
“I just can’t imagine it,” Warner said. “We’ve seen it everywhere, though, right? Denver (following John Elway), Miami (following Dan Marino) … these teams that are going from these guys that were great and the next guy has to try to live up to that. And the problem is, we have no patience in this league. We have no patience with coaches, with organizations and quarterbacks.”
“So, not only do you have to replace Tom Brady,” added Warner, “but people are going to expect it to happen next week. They’re going to expect you to come in and have to win, and that’s going to be a really hard thing to do for anybody.”
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This is part of the dynamic in place in the NFL. Teams only play once a week. Thus every game is an enormous event. Wins create a high that lasts a week and losses bring about a six-day haze that can only be removed by a victory the following Sunday, Monday or Thursday.
When a free-agent QB is making a decision on a destination, one who is considering an offer from the Patriots must factor in the expectations. He has to be mentally strong enough to endure some tough times and potentially unfair judgment. Chances are, that’s only going to be present with a veteran, and that may be why names like Andy Dalton have been mentioned in association with the possible opening.
As it stands, it appears the talk is leaning toward Brady departing via free agency, but nothing is official. If and when Brady leaves, the scenario Warner spoke about will have become a reality.