With Tom Brady as quarter-back, the New England Patriots experienced an unparalleled era of success.

They won six Super Bowls, 9 AFC Championships and 17 Division titles, and, for the best part of two decades, were the strongest team in American football.

Yet, their relationship ended when Brady was allowed to leave the Patriots on a free agency, a decision that seemed to backfire in spectacular fashion when he joined the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and led them to the Super Bowl  LV title.

Meanwhile, the Patriots in their first season without him, went 7 – 9, and missed out on the play-offs for the first time since 2008.

Owner Robert Kraft has always been unapologetic about the decision. Whilst there was an opportunity from the perspective of the franchise to keep the player with the team, it was felt that that was not the right thing to do, both from the perspective of the player and the organisation.

He had given 20 years of service, and his metrics were beginning to decline in his last year with the team.

Even those who faithfully followed him and backed him on sports betting sites like Bet365 alternative links were entitled to have their doubts.

Given that he was 42 years old at the time, an age at which most players in the NFL are long retired, it seemed a logical choice to let him go, and bring in somebody younger.

It was a gamble, similar to those that players place at Low deposit casino sites but one that seemed justified at the time.

What nobody could have foreseen is that Brady would go on to enjoy a long Indian summer, and not only add to his Superbowl rings, but still continue playing.

And he has just taken the Buccaneers to the play-off yet again.

It is undoubtedly true that he is not the player that he was in his pomp. The interceptions and sacks are growing, and the number of missed passes is creeping up. Yet, at the age of 45, he is still capable of changing a game by himself. The body may be ageing, but the mind appears as sharp as ever.

Since Brady left, New England have had problems in the quarter-back position. Cam Newton played 15 games in the 2020 season with Brian Hoyer as his back-up, before mac Jones succeeded him the following year.

Jones again began this season, but Bailey Zappe and Hoyer again have also made appearances.

As for the team, they did make the play-offs last season but were then thrashed by the Buffalo Bills in the wild-card game.

This campaign the Patriots are currently second in the AFC East, but still with work to do if they want to make the play-offs again.

The truth is that Patriot fans were lucky to have Brady for as long as they did, and they have to accept that it may be a long-time, if ever, before their team achieves sustained success again.

And it was not pre-ordained that he would go on to become arguably the greatest quarter-back of all-time. After all, this was a player selected 199th overall in the 2000 draft, and was originally intended to be a back-up player at best.

The fact that he can still produce the goods at the age of 45 does not make the Patriots decision to release him wrong, even if there may still be a taste of sadness attached to it.