The unofficial start of the greatest dynasty in NFL history came on the night Mo cleared Drew Bledsoe out of the way, introducing Tom Brady to the world.
The official launch of The Greatest Dynasty in NFL history goes back to the snow globe that was the game of the Tuck Rule when football gods Tom Brady smiled against Jon Grudens Raiders, then Bill Belichick launched the kid via Bledsoe in Super Bowl XXXVI and damn if the child didn't shock the world and the Greatest Show on Turf with unusual serenity at the end of the winning goal.
And the football gods smiled at this Tom Brady, kept him alongside Bill Belichick all the years and found him Gisele – with the exception of the two Super Bowls against Eli Manning and one against Nick Foles and of course Deflategate.
There were several other potholes on the way to immortality – the torn knee of the cruciate ligament, which has cost him practically the entire 2008 season, the defeat in the 2010 season playoffs against Mark Sanchez and, at least on Saturday evening, against Ryan Tannehill and Derrick Henry and the Titans.
And of all things, with Tom Brady, a free agent, comes a moment of truth that threatens the end of the greatest dynasty in NFL history and calls on the same football gods to write a final chapter that could very well ruin an American fairy tale.
The chance that Brady will ride into the sunset like a John Elway who won his second Super Bowl at 38 and retired instead of chasing a historic three-goal, or Peyton Manning who retired at 39 after winning his second Super Bowl is unaffordable , given his age of 43 next summer and the state of the patriots with 20 upcoming free agents and the offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, who is apparently ready to fly the co-op for his own appearance.
Such a sobering reality for patriot fans is the unbridled hope that fans of the Jets, Bills and Dolphins have had for almost two decades.
As long as Belichick patrols the New England sideline, it's not over until the fat lady sings.
But there is a real chance that the song sung about AFC East is "Ding Dong the witch is dead".
Whether Tom Brady, who is no longer Tom Brady as we met him, is Belichick's quarterback or not.
Fox & # 39; Jay Glazer's report that Brady is not interested in granting the Patriots a hometown discount should come as no surprise as he has given Bob Kraft hometown discounts to the team throughout his career to improve.
At a time when Brady could hear the tumultuous traces of his football mortality, it pained him that loyalty was not a one-way street when Rob Gronkowski retired and the organization's experiments with Josh Gordon and Antonio Brown blew up.
It was more than depressing for old Baltimore Colts fans to see how John Unitas' sleeve ended his career in the Hall of Fame as a charger, and it would be very similar for Patriot fans if they had to watch their beloved No. 12 for example for the chargers.
There will be a quarterback market for Brady's services that Eli Manning doesn't seem to have at this point. Manning has made it clear that the backup quarterback is unattractive for him.
Let's say Brady remains determined to play until he is 45.
What could he think
We have learned so much about Brady: five championships were not enough for him and six are not. He will want a team that gives him the best chance of winning a seventh Lombardi trophy.
As constructed, the patriots are not this team. Julian Edelman turns 34 in May. Special team ace Matthew Slater turns 35 in September and is a free agent. Devin McCourty turns 33 in August. Left guard Joe Thuney is a free agent. Nick Caserio, the player's human resources manager, could move on to another front office job.
But the grass wouldn't necessarily be greener if Brady were ordered to replace Philip Rivers and the Rams were involved in a battle for Los Angeles. In Miami as a mentor to Tua Tagovailoa or Justin Herbert, it would certainly not be more environmentally friendly under former New England defensive coordinator Brian Flores.
If someone is able to reconstruct in a jiffy, it's Belichick.
We have learned so much about Belichick: he does not let sentimentality stand in the way of GOATness.
It would take strength to say goodbye to his franchise's eternal face.
But if Belichick makes it clear that he prefers a life after Tom Brady, or that only a Brady hometown discount would be feasible, then Brady has no choice but to go.
"Sure, Tom is an icon in this organization and nobody respects Tom more than I do," Belichick said on Sunday.
And yet Tom Brady is a free agent.
So that's it.
There is also the following: Tom Brady belongs exactly where he is. Patriot fans adore him like Red Sox fans adore Ted Williams, Celtics fans adore Bill Russell, Bruins fans adore Bobby Orr.
If there is a will, there should be a way. Tom Brady should retire as a patriot.