The news that seven-time Super Bowl champion quarterback Tom Brady was ending his brief retirement to return to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers which he announced on Sunday took an interesting turn when reports emerged Monday that multiple big-money bets were made on the Buccaneers to win the NFC title and Super Bowl championship for next season last Thursday, days before Brady confirmed his intentions via social media.
Per Todd Dewey of the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Westgate SuperBook vice president Jay Kornegay explained one “sharp bettor” placed wagers on the Buccaneers to win the NFC at 30-1 and at 60-1 to win Super Bowl LVII on Thursday when they had no proven franchise quarterback on their roster. Later, that person bet on the Buccaneers at 25-1 to win the Super Bowl.
“There’s not a doubt in my mind that they knew he was coming back when they placed those wagers on Thursday,” Kornegay said of the situation. “And these were not casual bettors. They would be categorized as educated bettors. It wasn’t a guy with a Tom Brady jersey at the counter. It was a player that we would describe as sharp. With that type of play and the announcement we heard (Sunday) that he was unretiring, there was information that was shared prior to his official announcement.
“There is no doubt in my mind that information leaked sometime in the middle of last week. This is concerning. I don’t think I’ve ever said the NFL really needs to investigate something. But this is something they need to look into and how it got out, because there are many books that took some sizable wagers in the middle of last week.”
NFL vice president of communications Brian McCarthy responded that the league had no comment.
Such accusations came one week after Atlanta Falcons star wide receiver Calvin Ridley was suspended through at least the entire 2022 campaign for betting on league games this past fall when he was away from team activities.
It’s unclear if the NFL would, for example, contact Brady about outsiders and non-family members potentially knowing of his plans before the evening of Selection Sunday.
“If it was Jameis Winston at quarterback, we wouldn’t have a problem with it,” Kornegay added during his comments. “But when it’s Tom Brady you have a six-figure liability with, we’re certainly not comfortable with it. That’s a biggie. It’s not about a player being in or out of a game tonight. You’re talking about the best quarterback of all time playing or not playing.”
Brady’s return to an active roster had been rumored for weeks, but more than a few knowledgeable individuals linked him with a move to the San Francisco 49ers, his favorite childhood club, instead of the Bucs. Needless to say, whispers about who knew what and when regarding the G.O.A.T. playing in a 23rd NFL season could grow louder and become impossible to ignore as winter turns to spring.