It's always fun to say, "What if the 49ers had drafted Tom Brady back in 2000?" It's a scenario 49ers fans used as a crutch during the dark, mid-decade decay of the franchise. With veterans retiring or leaving by other means, it would have been great to have had the young up-and-coming future hall-of-fame quarterback to rebuild the team around.
This what-if story, however, is a look to the future. It starts instead with an entirely different set of hypothetical scenarios.
You can tell where this is going.
Mike Singletary said at one point that quarterback is a position the teams will always look to improve, and if Smith hits an unacceptable plateau (say 22 touchdowns and 18 interceptions) Brady would be an ideal 49er quarterback.
Brady has the experience and leadership the position demands. He has been to the top of football's highest mountain, and prevailed in a storm of controversy. He has brought his team to victory in the final seconds time and time again.
Now, the following is 49er Faithful heresy—red and gold blaspheme. Calm those itchy trigger fingers, but Tom Brady is the Joe Montana of the last decade.
Look at what the man's accomplished: three Super Bowl victories in four appearances, a nearly flawless 2007 season in which he broke the single-season passing touchdown record, and set the mark for highest completion percentage in a single game at 92.9%. Over his career, Brady set yet another NFL record for most consecutive wins in post season: 10 (2001, 2003, 2004) and really I could go on and on because that's just the tip of the iceberg of what Brady has done.
For those Alex Smith doubters who strongly believe that the 2004 No. 1 overall draft pick can not take the 49ers to the next level, would you question Brady's ability to do so? Probably not.
But would he have us? Could Brady, a San Mateo native, forgive the 49ers for passing on him in the 2000 draft—nine times? It's likely that if the collective bargaining agreement is favorable to the 49ers, in the sense that they could afford Tom Brady's dollars, he wouldn't be opposed to playing out his career in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Obviously this is nothing but pure, unadulterated speculation. Smith should be the man in San Fran next year, and the Patriots would need to be pretty crazy not to keep Brady around.
Still, imagining these what-if scenarios in life gives us imaginary snacks to quell our insatiable football appetites.