Tom Brady may have protected his reputation in New England by picking a non-rival team to sign with. Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

Tom Brady announced on Tuesday that he has officially filed for divorce from the New England Patriots, and you could argue that was the least surprising Brady news of the week. There was once a time when everyone assumed the six-time Super Bowl champion would only leave the culture he created in New England for the bright lights of a city like Los Angeles, but instead Brady has chosen … Tampa Bay?

Perhaps that is all part of the “TB12” strategy.

Brady now has two TB12 Performance Center locations in the Boston area. The original, next to Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, was founded in 2013. Brady and his trainer, TB12 co-founder Alex Guerrero, have amassed something of a cult following since venturing into business together. As you might expect, much of that following is comprised of Patriots fans. Many are members at the TB12 Performance Centers, closely follow the TB12 method, and buy TB12 products, which are readily available in stores around the New England area and beyond.

It is no secret that Brady’s brand is incredibly important to him. One of the reasons he is so determined to play as long as possible is so he can show people they can achieve peak performance even when the odds are stacked against them as long as they adhere to the TB12 method. The longer Brady plays at a high level, the easier it is to argue that his and Guerrero’s methods, diet and training regimen really work.

With that in mind, what if Brady did not want to risk angering any of the thousands of TB12 method followers who are also diehard Patriots fans? The other team that reportedly made Brady a massive offer was the Los Angeles Chargers. While the Patriots and Chargers don’t really have anything that resembles a rivalry, Boston and Los Angeles certainly do. They are competing sports markets with teams that have squared off with championships at stake numerous times over the years, most notably with the Celtics and Lakers.

Tampa Bay? Not so much. The feeling around New England on Tuesday seemed to be one of disbelief, both about Brady leaving the Patriots and that he is expected to sign with the Bucs. The Bucs, really? Had Brady gone to the Chargers or any other AFC team, Pats fans probably would have been more annoyed. Perhaps that is part of why Brady chose Tampa.

By signing with the Buccaneers, Brady will be able to play with some dangerous offensive weapons in Mike Evans and Chris Godwin. He’ll also work with head coach Bruce Arians, who has a history of getting the most out of elite quarterbacks. There’s been talk about Brady wanting to remain closer to the New York area, which is where some of his wife Gisele’s family lives. Brady and Gisele also vacation to South America and Costa Rica often, so being in Tampa will be convenient for that.

But in addition to all that, don’t underestimate how savvy of a businessman Brady has become. While it’s possible Tampa Bay was his preferred destination anyway, there’s no question Brady in a Bucs uniform is one of the least vomit-inducing scenarios Patriots fans could have asked for. If that allows Brady to stay on the good side of even a small portion of his loyal TB12 method following, it is, at the very least, another perk of his new venture.

This article first appeared on Larry Brown Sports and was syndicated with permission.


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