To be honest, I didn't even have to watch Saturday's game to come to this conclusion.

Face it. Even you weren't surprised to see the New England Patriots fall at home to the Tennessee Titans Saturday night.

You held out hope this would be another in the long line of 'statement' games that effectively squashed any and all haters. Even if they didn't make it back to the Super Bowl, they would at least eek out a wild card victory in front of Gillette faithful.

Deep down inside, you knew this season has had a different feel to it. Even when they were blowing up opponents to the tune of a 10-2 start, something was

This is why somewhere inside, you can entertain the idea Tom Brady has played his last game as a Patriot.

Full disclosure: I'm not a watch every week, jersey wearing, ride or die Patriots fan. If anything, more of a casual observer. There is no way he is coming back. In the role of realist, here's why.

1. He Gave His Two Week Notice Before Miami: No, this isn't a fact. However, we've all worked with people (or have done it ourselves) who are clearly in a different head-space once they resolve in their mind it's time to move on. They lost to home. The ramifications of that loss have been well-documented. Surely, they could rebound in a wild card game at home, right? Tom didn't even connect for a TD. Consider his record, and then tell me the last two weeks are the NOT the work of someone who mentally handed in their two week notice.

2. Pats out of Ammo: This season alone, Josh Gordon and Antonio Brown didn't work out, obviously. He didn't get a new Gronk. I just don't see him getting all the weapons he needs to reach full potential in the twilight of his career. Plus, the fact he's already said it "isn't likely" he's retiring without seeing the Patriots plans is eyebrow-raising.

3. Little Loyalty in Professional Sports: Well, this should be amended. TB12 has certainly bought into the process, but the 'Patriot Way' can only work as a pay-cut heavily sided one way street for so long. Tom has certainly given much more than he has taken, and I thought for a long time, he might be the one guy to buck the trend. Everyone has their limit, and I think Tom reached his. Again, you've chosen to read an opinion piece here. 

4. He answered the question in August: In a preseason press conference, what would normally be in the background caused me to pop up. There was something short in Tom's answers. I kept hearing "focused on this year" while reiterating his legacy with the team. It had the sound of someone who's going to get through this year, and take a real hard look at who's going to allow him to move forward. "I've got one year to go, and we'll see what happens." It wasn't what he said, it's how he said it.

After Saturday's loss, Tom will move on. It will save fans from tearing him apart when he holds on too long, and the blame game inevitably ramps up. These things never end well.

The Patriots can get a fresh start, while Tom can call his final career shots on his terms. I don't blame him one bit.

It was an unparalleled run we should be thankful we were a part of. It'll likely never happen anywhere, in any major sport again, and should be celebrated.

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