Sept. 24, 2014: The headlines were swirling. “For Tom Brady, the end game has become apparent” (Boston Globe), “Tom Brady stunk so bad his job security is up for discussion” (New York Post), “Was this the end for Tom Brady and the New England Patriots’ dynasty?” (Yahoo!).
Brady’s horrid start to the 2014 season culminated in one of his worst performance as a pro against the Chiefs in Week 4. He threw two interceptions (including a pick six) and lost a fumble, and the Patriots were blown out 41–14. Brady—who notoriously played to the end of every game in the Patriots’ blowout-laden 2007 season—was so bad in this one he was benched in the fourth quarter. Making matters worse, Brady refused to absorb the blame: “It was just a bad performance by everybody,” he said after the loss. Skepticism emerged about the 2–2 Patriots, and in particular, their seemingly past-his-prime quarterback, who at that point was completing just 59% of his passes, the lowest in his career.