The term 'defending champions' does little justice to the New England Patriots this season. After an underwhelming regular season, the Patriots finally ended up crowned as the AFC East winners and made it through to the playoffs. However, the fact they were not afforded their usual rest in the form of a bye showed against the Tennessee Titans. The Titans stomped all over the Patriots as the Titans registered a 20-13 win at the Gillette Stadium on Saturday night. In the span of one night, however, the attention turned from the Patriots' abysmal showing to the future of their star quarterback, Tom Brady.
At the age of 42, Tom Brady isn't the quickest quarterback in the NFL, especially since the resurgence of Lamar Jackson of the Baltimore Ravens. Speaking after the loss to the Tennessee Titans, Tom Brady addressed the speculation surrounding his future, albeit briefly. "I'm very blessed but I don't know what the future looks like. I wish we had won tonight and wish we'd have done a lot of things better over the course of the season but we just didn't get the job done," Tom Brady said at the press conference. However, when the media pressed a little on the thought of his retirement, the six-time Super Bowl champion replied, "I'd say it's unlikely."
Tom Brady and the Patriots have won 17 of their last 19 Divisional titles and have also been to nine Super Bowls, emerging winners in six of them. The Patriots have also ended 19 consecutive seasons with a winning record. However, the Patriots' struggles this season were well documented. Tom Brady himself appeared to lament the lack of a quality wide receiver on the Patriots' roster. While the immensely talented, albeit immensely controversial Antonio Brown was tasked with providing support for Tom Brady this season, Brown was released by the Patriots after just one week. With Tom Brady now basically a free agent, the Patriots owner Robert Kraft and coach Bill Belichick will have to think long and hard about their roster in the coming months.