Every week there is talk of Tom Brady in the sense of the new statistics that he is breaking with his spectacular sets, for two years, at the service of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. However, the last game of this legend player marked his first negative record in 22 years of career in the NFL, when he received his first penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct.
Brady was playing the 365th game of his career (including regular season and playoffs) against the Los Angeles Rams for the pass to the NFC Final when in the second quarter, with more than nine minutes to play, he received a blow from the opposing defender, Von Miller, which caused a cut on his lower lip.
The experienced quarterback (44 years old) immediately reacted to the hit by raising his arms to call for a violation and seconds later lashed out at one of the referees, Shawn Hochuli, in a loud voice, demanding a foul on Miller. As he removed his helmet, cameras caught blood pouring from Brady’s lip.
However, Hochuli and the rest of the officiating staff released Miller and instead decided to penalize Brady for unsportsmanlike conduct, something that had never happened in his career, as the closest he came was a 15-yard penalty for unnecessary roughness in a regular season game against the Chicago Bears in 2002, then defending the New England Patriots.
“He looked me in the face in an aggressive manner and used abusive language. As for the blow, we did not think it reached the level of rudeness to the passer, ”referee Hochuli mentioned in his match record after this incident.
At the time, the penalty only resulted in going back 15 yards during the game against the Rams, converting a second down and 2 for advance in a second and 17 from the Los Angeles 43-yard line, which ultimately ended up affecting the construction of one play, ending with a missed 49-yard goal attempt by Buccaneers kicker Ryan Succop.
However, according to the ‘Responsibility: Fines and Appeals’ portal of the NFL and the NFL Players Association (NFLPA), an unsportsmanlike conduct that is marked for the first time receives a financial penalty of 12,875 dollars, while for a repeat offender it is 18,025.
The same document explains the mechanism of said economic sanction: “The players subject to accountability measures receive a letter informing them of what they did, a video of the play in question, why they are being fined and how much it will cost them. They also receive information on how to appeal the ticket. If they choose not to appeal, the fine is withheld from their next gambling check.”
After 24 hours of the game between Buccaneers and Rams, the NFL did not release any official statement about Brady’s act and its possible repercussions, although in recent days the quarterback had indicated in a podcast that his behavior had already been spared from receiving sanctions within of the grill.
“I know the umpires probably let me get away with a lot of unsportsmanlike conduct, talking trash to the other team and trash talking to the umpires when I think I didn’t get the right call,” Brady said in a podcast with Jim Gray. “I’m kind of a pain in the butt if you don’t already know.”
In the close of last regular season, for example, Brady was singled out for hurling an expletive at the New Orleans Saints bench, yelling at defensive coordinator (and interim head coach) Dennis Allen. In a video clip from the NBC broadcast shared on social media, Brady told him, “Go (expletive) yourself,” as Allen applauded as he approached. That game, on Oct. 31, ended 36-27 in favor of the Saints.
At the end of the tie against the Rams, where the Buccaneers said goodbye to the opportunity to repeat the Super Bowl title, Brady only spoke about the possibilities of his future, which leaves the Tampa Bay fans uncertain.
“Honestly, I haven’t thought about whether I’ll continue playing, I’ll take it day by day and we’ll see what happens. The only thing I thought about was winning this match, that occupied my mind. Honestly, I haven’t thought of anything else,” said the quarterback who will turn 44 in 2022.