Constructing some kind of realistic timeline to determine just when the Patriots' intense nitrogen hold in the National Football League may finally end has become an exercise that is more grounded in meaninglessness than opportunity.
For every scandal that seems to imply that the end is near, there is another Lombardi trophy just waiting to be polished in the offices of One Patriot Place. For every hiccup that suggests there is another team starting to take over New England as the premier franchise in the AFC, there is a subsequent balance in the force that dries the volatile readiness. For every proclamation that the Patriots just aren't good anymore (copyright, Trent Dilfer), seemingly to have lost their way, or remain a product of shabby espionage and tomfoolery, there is always a battered audience of onlookers, and waiting for extinction that never occurs.
Each character melts into shells. Each hint fades into a wall of forgotten whispers.
Which gives us the last bit of hope for a league of football fans who are forced to watch the Patriots soar to a 7-0 record. Because if you don't notice, the Patriots use a quarterback who happens to be 42 years old. And 42-year-old quarterbacks can't play forever. Or so they say.
Let's still play the game by pointing to the collapse for the sake of continuity. In this case, it was ESPN's Adam Schefter who cursed the hearsay's flames by suggesting Tom Brady's days as quarterback of the New England Patriots could be numbered, all by falling back on some recent facts that have emerged in recent months.
"Let's boil this down to the basic facts again," Schefter said under ESPN's first name, before the Patriots' 33-0 stripping of the New York Jets. "Let's look at a few simple things: Has he put his house up for sale? Yes. Has his coach put his house up for sale? Yes. Has he set up his contract that expires after this season to become a free agent? "Yes. So if he sells his home and his coach sells his home and he cancels his contract? What does that tell you? He plans to move on."
Now, if the one mentioned by Dilfer reasoned this laundry list, the reaction would probably be something akin to the revelation that apples were on sale at Big Y. But Schefter … yes, he is a little different.
There is no reporter more connected to the NFL's approach than the ESPN nugget When Schefter has a story, a scoop, or a small piece of information, no matter how minute or greater, there is a factor of trust, based both on his reliable history and his inability to remove the cellphone from his ear with any emotion. so if he suggests something, the reaction should probably be little more than a disappointing joke.
Brady's Brookline home is really on the market for a cool $ 33.9 million, a story that triggered a minor cause for concern during the summer. But the news of Brady's TB1
Ah, but here we have seen the picture. Guerrero and his wife apparently own a second home in Norfolk, which may mean that they are actually not going anywhere. And do you remember when Brady probably moved to Los Angeles, where he and Gisele built a mansion to embarrass everyone else? Dr. Dre now owns the thing and is spending over $ 40 million on the deed.
Has he set up his contract that expires after this season? Yes. But again – and we can't help but wonder if everyone doesn't really understand the reality of this situation – the man is 42 years old. As much as his exercise program and self-health have created a new niche in his business and personal life, Brady will not (I repeat, he will not ) play football forever.  He even said Monday night.
"It's approaching, we're nearing the end," Brady told former teammate Randy Moss during a preliminary interview. "It won't go on forever, but I like it."
Well, maybe. Because on that note, there must even be some doubt as to what level Brady is enjoying this season, even if the undefeated Patriots look like they might get another shot at what they failed to achieve 12 years ago . First, Bill Belichick went and traded Demaryius Thomas, with whom Brady seemed to have a budding relationship. Then he got rid of Antonio Brown, the guy who replaced Thomas in the first place, left Brady with Julian Edelman and a role of baby recipient to throw to. Not only that, Brady is now in a team defined by his defense, not his ability to lead two-minute runs and bring his team back from the brink. It is not his team at the moment, and it must give a guy like Brady some itch.
Remember the whole theory that said Belichick wants to prove that he can win without Brady before retiring? As it turns out, he doesn't have to say goodbye to his quarterback for doing so.
He's proving it now.
At the same time, Brady's usually iron-clad, self-publicity image has loosened a bit. The quarterback has been a little more rogue on social media and approved of Brown's suspected digs in the rest of the NFL. He may have shot Bob Kraft with his como in Paul Rudd's new Netflix series and walked out of a spa with a happy face. (Yes, yes, the show is about cloning. Have you.)
What was he really thinking?
Maybe there are some too many signals this time, and predict the end is near. We may again just grab the vanity tubes. Does Brady prepare an exit from the Patriots to prove that he can still be the central figure elsewhere? Or is it just the end, the last chapter before he develops the brand TB12 as a full-time gig?
Or, more likely, is it more of nothing?
It is approaching, but not because of anything Schefter suggested.
It's approaching because Brady seems to be more prepared than ever to move on.
And Belichick just helps the thing by proving how well he can do it with Brady playing the role of sidecar.