I’ve been meaning to write this for a few weeks now. It just so happens that events in the past week have enabled me to put all this together.
I’m taking a break from island politics and looking at what has to be one the greatest sporting stories of all time. Mallorca does get a mention and so does the Premier League but that will come later.
Years ago I was in Florida and decided to buy a winter jacket. I settled on one that featured the skull and crossbones, as The Pirates Adventure Show here in Mallorca has been pretty much my whole life it was a good fit. So in reality I didn’t buy it for its American football team it was featuring it was the Pirates image that I was drawn to. Now I knew that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were an American Football team and every now and again I’d look out for their results. They won the SuperBowl in 2002 but since then hadn’t been able to hit those heights again. I was in Lidl the other week and a lady came up to me and said “great jacket are you from Tampa?” She explained she was and was very exited about how well they were doing.
Two years before the Buccaneers first SuperBowl win, a 23yr old by the name of Tom Brady had started his rookie season with the New England Patriots. A year later in 2001 he had led them to his first SuperBowl win over the St Louis Rams 20-17.
In 2004, the New England Patriots beat the Carolina Panthers 32-29. The Panther’s were making their Super Bowl debut, while the Patriots were seeking their second Super Bowl title in three years, thanks to Brady.
In 2005, in a close scoring game, the Patriots beat the Philadelphia Eagles 24-21, making this the third Super Bowl win for the Patriots in four years.
In 2015, Brady won Most Valuable Player (MVP), after defeating the Seattle Seahawks, 28-24. This was the Patriots first Super Bowl win in 10 years.
In 2017, the Patriots beat the Atlanta Falcons, 34-28. Brady led an epic comeback in overtime, coming back from a 25 point deficit.
In 2019, the Patriots defeated the Los Angeles Rams in the lowest scoring game in Super Bowl history, 13-3. This was Brady’s sixth win with the Patriots.
It was after this win that he decided to quit the Patriots because they weren’t prepared to offer him a long term contract and it was felt that despite being SuperBowl winners, they were a team in decline. Another contributing factor was the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were prepared to pay him $50 million over two years! The Buccaneers were a pretty good team they just needed someone to gel them together. They had Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, O.J. Howard and Cameron Brate. They would also add two of Brady’s friends, Rob Gronkowski and Antonio Brown. It was clear the Buccaneers were willing to build aggressively around Brady with players he wanted. That group of pass-catchers was an absurd mix of talent. Meanwhile, in New England, the offense had receivers Julian Edelman, Damiere Byrd, N’Keal Harry and Jakobi Meyers, with rookie tight ends (Devin Asiasi, Dalton Keene). It was essentially the same group that couldn’t support Brady in 2019 when he had one of the worst statistical seasons of his career. So the Buccaneers were a good fit. But could he turn the “good fit” into winners?
Well this was Tom Brady, arguably the greatest Quarterback of all time. I say arguably as this opinion is split as fans of other teams will tell you their man was better. San Francisco will say Joe Montana, Miami will say Dan Marino, Denver will say John Elway and Indianapolis will say Peyton Manning. But the truth is he’s won more SuperBowl rings than any other player in any other position. You probably know by now that Brady did turn the Buccaneers into SuperBowl winners, when last Sunday he helped them beat the holders the Kansas City Chiefs. It was billed as a contest between the wise old head of Brady against the young pretender in Patrick Mahomes. In fact it was a no contest as the Buccaneers won 31-9 and meant that in my opinion, if he wasn’t already, Tom Brady has become the G.O.A.T.
The subject of ownership has come up this week too with the Buccaneers owned by the Glazer family. Does that name ring any bells for you? Yes they are the owners of the English Premier League team Manchester United. A family that is not liked too much by the Red Devils fans and that has been shown in the past by the Buccaneers fans too. It made me think of how many Premier League teams now have American influence. It might surprise you to know that it’s Ten!
Arsenal: Kroenke Sports & Entertainment
Aston Villa: Wesley Edens, Fortress Investment Group
Burnley: ALK Capital
Chelsea: Chairman is Bruce Buck, an American lawyer.
Crystal Palace: Joshua Harris & David Blitzer Tag Worldwide Investment
Fulham: Shahid Khan, Flex-N-Gate Corp
Leeds Utd: York Family, 49ers Enterprises
Liverpool: Fenway Sports Group
Manchester Utd: The Glazer Family
West Ham: Albert Smith, GSO Capital Partners
Worth noting that Tottenham have done a deal with the National Football League(NFL) to host two American Football games a year at their brand new stadium when restrictions allow. It has also been said that if a franchise was to be set up in the UK then the Spurs ground would be the natural choice. Which pushes the American influence to Eleven.
Now I’m not sure if you’re aware that promotion and relegation doesn’t exist in American sport. I’m sure this would be something that would appeal to the American owners and influencers in the Premier League. So could that actually happen in the future? Well at the moment no, in order for anything to change the Premier League currently requires the consent of 14 of its 20 clubs to approve decisions large and small but don’t be surprised if this rears its ugly head in the future.
Remember “Project Big Picture?” It would see teams in the EFL – ie the leagues below the Premier League, given £250m ($325m) to share between themselves, plus 25% of revenue from future TV deals that the Premier League secures. In exchange, the footballing calendar would be trimmed to suit the top Premier League clubs – with the number of Premier League teams cut to 18, and the EFL Cup (currently the Carabao Cup) and Community Shield being abolished. And who were the main drivers of this? Liverpool and Manchester United, who as you’ve seen above are influenced heavily by Americans.
Now I don’t want this to look like I’m against American ownership as I’ve seen here in Mallorca the turn around in Real Mallorca’s fortunes since they were taken over by their own group. Robert Sarver, Andy Kohlberg and Steve Nash have done an amazing job with Mallorca over the last few years and I hope for many years to come.
It’s an observation and one I will be keeping an eye on in the cutthroat world of football especially after the pandemic.
Take care everyone and enjoy your Valentines weekend!
Richie presents the Radio One Mallorca Breakfast show Monday to Friday 07.30-11.00am on 93.8fm in Mallorca and 102fm in Calvià, online at www.radioonemallorca.com on mobile through their free App for IPhone & Android, The Tunein Radio App, iTunes, the Spanish TDT TV service and all smart speakers. If you can’t hear him on the radio then you’ll find him working at Pirates Adventure the islands number one night out and every now and again he may make an understudy appearance!
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