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Springfield College professor discusses impact of Brady’s return on his brand

We spoke with Kyle Belanger, a professor of communications and sports journalism at Springfield College.
Updated: Mar. 14, 2022 at 6:20 PM EDT
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SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) - It’s the talk of the sports world. Tom Brady is coming out of his short-lived retirement to return to the NFL for his 23rd season. We wanted to know what impact this could have on his brand, on and off the field.

We spoke with Kyle Belanger, a professor of communications and sports journalism at Springfield College, who told us despite Brady’s historic accomplishments, he’s not so quick to go all in on the big return.

“Tom probably has years left of athletic prowess, but I just don’t know how many times you can spin the wheel and not lose,” Belanger said.

After Brady, 44, unretired on Sunday night and announced his return to the NFL, we spoke to Belanger about the impact Brady’s decision could have on his career narrative.

“I think you can make a very good case for Tom Brady being the very first 21st-century branded athlete in the NFL…Clearly, he’s the smartest guy in the room. Tom Brady is incredibly intelligent, brilliant marketing mind,” Belanger added.

However, Belanger asked when you’re the greatest football player of all time, who has withstood the test of time for two-plus decades, when is the right time for your curtain call?

“No matter when he decides to get off the ride, he’s still going to feel like he could’ve done more,” Belanger explained.

The local professor works with former Patriots player Lagarrette Blount, who won two Super Bowl titles with TB12. He shared this interview from last week with Brady’s former teammate.

“I have to think he’s retired. I don’t think he’s coming back. I don’t think he’s going to do the Jordan-esque type of thing,” Belanger noted.

However, Belanger agrees that the seven-time Super Bowl champion’s endurance and uber-competitiveness will carry his legacy no matter what happens going forward.

“He’s a superhuman. He’s android and that’s also, I think, a really good protection of the brand,” Belanger said.

Brady turns 45 years old on August 3. If he starts for the Buccaneers this season, he will become the oldest quarterback to start a game in NFL history.