In trying to explain to my 9th grade son, what an open letter is, I described it as a letter that will likely never reach its intended destination, but that just maybe, like a message in a bottle, it will reach some, some day, hopefully, eventually, maybe?
Tom, I have never done one of these things, so this may be a little awkward. I apologize. I actually never thought I would have to write this, but here we are, once again, mired in mediocrity once again. Tom, I’m asking you to reconsider retirement immediately, and please go home to work on your marriage. Do all you can to keep it together. You are the GOAT. Be the GOAT of your home. They need you more than we do in Tampa. I think I speak for a number of your fans. I’m sure your teammates will understand. And even if they don’t, this will have more of an impact than yelling at your offensive line. I promise.
Basketball’s GOAT did not have a good marriage. I also wonder what Michael Jordan was like as a father. From what I can tell, you really seem to care about your kids. You seemed at one time, to care about your wife.
For years, you were my nemesis. I ALWAYS rooted against you. I used you negatively in sermon illustrations. But then one of my pilot friends at my church told me he flew you twice. Honestly I wanted you to be a jerk, so I could keep rooting against you. But he told me you were very much the opposite, even asking about his kids. How cool is that Tom! I stopped hating you.
Then everything really changed when you came to Tampa. Even though I doubted you when we were 7-5, you gave us a Super Bowl. Thank you. But Jon Gruden did as well, and now his name isn’t even in the Ring of Honor anymore at Raymond James Stadium.
Fame is so fleeting Tom. If football would have been around during the writing of Ecclesiastes, the writer would have included it among those successes he labeled, “vanity” – literally a puff of smoke. You even confirmed this was this your actual experience on 60 Minutes. What happened Tom?
I once heard someone famous claim, “The worst thing is not failing to achieve a goal, but achieving that goal and realizing it wasn’t worth the work to get there.”
Tom I will not lie. I wanted you back in 2021, and I wanted you back in 2022. I know you came back to win another Super Bowl, but that’s not going to happen. And even if you did, would it truly be worth the cost?
I also want to apologize to you AND your wife. I blamed Giselle for not letting you play football. I also apologize for not writing this letter earlier. I hope I would have written this letter even if the Bucs were 5-1, which they should be if Mike Evans wasn’t suspended and if you would have thrown to him more than 3 or 4 times last game. I know, that’s not your fault. But I confess that I don’t know if I would have Tom. I’m sorry. I’m confessing an idol to you.
But in God’s gracious plan, I think we can both agree on one thing: Todd Bowles knows how to lose. Some blamed his losing years with the JETS due to subpar players. Yet you have Pro Bowlers on this roster now. And by now you have to realize that Byron Leftwich (without Arians’ input) is completely wasting your talent and time.
To make matters worse, this was an all-in season. The team is in salary cap hell. It’s not going to get better next year, it’s going to get worse.
My dream in life was to plant a church. Technically I dreamed of planting a church that could plant multiple churches. I would still love this to happen one day, but to have this dream and lose my family? Heck no. I’ve seen successful pastors who were not successful husbands and dads. I pray I never sacrifice my family on the altar of this dream.
You have been given a precious gift in your wife and kids. Luscilla’s comforting and parting words to Russell Crowe’s dying character in Gladiator, “Go to them.” He went to his family who had already died. Please go to them in their “living years,” while you have life to give.
If you’re still reading this Tom, and I know that’s a stretch to believe, I don’t know how bad things are/were/will be at home. At One Buc Place, hope has left the building. Even if you lose at home, why not go down swinging? You dazzled us with your epic comeback in last years playoff game against the Rams only to have Bowles’ defense blow it for you. Tom this happened yet again yesterday. Nothing has changed.
When Jesus met the Apostle Paul on the Damascus road, he reminded Paul that He had already been pursuing him. In the King James translation, Paul was “kicking against the goads.” Tom, consider what it would be like to rest in what Jesus has done, and to recognize what Giselle said to you after the Super Bowl, “You have nothing left to prove.” Let Jesus prove his worth for you, and do what you cannot do for yourself. Let him die, let him live, let him reign FOR you. It’s never too late.
And you know what else, I don’t think its too late to save your marriage.
Thank you for the two incredible years of great Bucs football. You gave my boys a taste of greatness. In a few years, maybe we’ll get another quarterback with even a fraction of your talent. And some coaches who know what they’re doing. But for now, go live for something far more important.