Even when Tom Brady isn’t directly making news, he’s still making news.
The second day of 2022 free agency included two stories about Brady. One came from his father suggesting that media reports of a looming retirement forced Brady to do it. And the other emerged because an executive of the Westgate SuperBook wants the NFL to investigate whether inside information as to Brady’s return resulted in a sharp placing major bets on the Buccaneers to make it to the Super Bowl and to win it only three days before Brady announced his return.
But if there was inside information to be had, shouldn’t the sports books have had it? Remember when the sports books removed all Packers wagers from the board last July, sparking rumors that quarterback Aaron Rodgers would retire? Someone who would have been taking those bets caught wind of that possibility before anyone could start placing them.
As to Brady, it took no inside information to wonder whether Brady was truly retired. He started the unretirement talk himself six days after announcing his intended departure. As time went by, Brady said more things to suggest that he would be back. Two weeks ago, we reported that the Dolphins were planning to pursue both him and former Saints coach Sean Payton, before the Brian Flores lawsuit was filed. That surely didn’t happen without Brady catching wind of it and/or at some level wanting it.
By last week, Westgate should have pulled the Buccaneers from the board, and maybe the 49ers, too. On the same day the Westgate bets were made, BetMGM disclosed that San Francisco had become an overwhelmingly popular choice to win the NFC title. Were those bets coming exclusively and entirely from people who thought Trey Lance would take the Niners to the top of the conference mountain in his first year as a starter, after barely playing as a rookie?
Besides, Westgate won’t know for months whether it will lose those bets placed on the Buccaneers. Westgate could win them. Westgate surely will win plenty of others along the way. Win some, lose some. Sports books, over time, win more than they lose.
The Brady story is significant because, for the first time, it’s possible that a sports book has been burned by someone other than the sports book knowing what’s really going on. Or perhaps because the sports book in question was too foolish to see the handwriting on the wall, or as the case may be the REDRUM in the mirror.
Either way, everyone knew that all play and no work made Tom a dull boy, and that it was just a matter of time before he took an axe to the door, stuck his face through the hole, and shouted, “Here’s Tommy!”