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End of an era: Tom Brady waves farewell to the AFC East

It’s the end of an era.

Wild Card Round - Tennessee Titans v New England Patriots Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

It’s the end of an era.

No matter how you feel about the New England Patriots, Tom Brady, or Bill Belichick, as a football fan, it’s plain and clear that one of the greatest stories in sports history has closed the book on a legendary chapter.

Tom Brady has left the Patriots. Tom Brady has left the AFC East. Tom Brady has signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Tom Brady and the New England Patriots... are no more.

It feels weird to type. This all feels strange to think about. How did it happen? Is this real? Is Tom Brady no longer going to face the Miami Dolphins, New York Jets, and Buffalo Bills two times each year? No matter what was going on with the world, no matter what our politics, work lives, or personal lives had in store, it always seemed that there’d be one constant. Tom Brady and the Patriots. They were synonymous with one another. Not any more.

Tom Brady has signed a contract averaging at least $30 million per year with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. As a writer on this great website, as a writer for all of you wonderful readers, I’ve typed a number of articles this week detailing players switching teams through the free agency frenzy that has graciously interrupted our chaotic lives. Through each article, I recounted career histories, stats, and other tidbits about the players who would be joining new teams. With Tom Brady, no such background is necessary. You know the story. You know the stats. You know Brady all too well as you’ve seen him throw his way to Hall of Fame status, with many of his historic moments coming against your Miami Dolphins.

Now, the Patriots are just another team. Lining up under center for New England will not be the greatest of all time. Yes, Bill Belichick is still on the sideline, but everything has changed. This division is wide open. The Dolphins have revamped. The Bills are coming off a playoff run. The Jets... well, Adam Gase is still coaching up there in the Meadowlands, but you get my point. It’s a new day in the AFC East. It’s time for a changing of the guard. There’s a new morning on the horizon, and it’s time for Brian Flores, Chris Grier, and your Miami Dolphins to challenge for the throne. Remember this day Dolfans. It’s one that will live long in history. Tom Brady and the Patriots are no more.

This article was written by Staff Writer, Justin Hier. For more from Justin, follow him on Twitter @HierJustin.