On August 3rd, 1977, Thomas Edward Patrick Maximus Decimus Meridius Stormborn, Breaker of Chains, Lord of the Seven Kingdoms, the One True King of the North, Brady Jr. was born in San Mateo, California. He grew up as a fan of the San Francisco 49ers and of quarterback Joe Montana.
Who would have known that he would grow to match and surpass his hero?
Who would have known that 38 years ago, the world's greatest supervillain was about to be born?
Tom Brady is easily the most archetypal story in NFL history. He was the college quarterback who started seventh on the depth chart, who fought his way to the starting role, only for the coaches to force him to split time with a top recruit. Brady won that battle and led his team to an Orange Bowl victory over Alabama. He fell to the sixth round of the 2000 draft.
Brady started his NFL career as fourth on the depth chart, before supplanting the franchise cornerstone, $100 million quarterback in his second year in the league. Brady ripped off three Super Bowls in four years and became an international super star. And then he played long enough to become the villain.
The exact moment he turned into the villain was in Week 4, 2007, against the Cincinnati Bengals. You can watch a snapshot of the moment right here. There were three minutes on the clock and the Patriots were on the Bengals 14 yard line, up by two scores. Through this point in the SpyGate season, they had dismantled two division rivals and a really good Chargers team that the Patriots faced in the playoffs the year before. Those victories made sense.
This Bengals team? Innocent. They had done nothing wrong. Bystanders, similar to the Bengals team the Patriots thumped in 2014. Sorry Cincy. And still, Brady threw a touchdown to Randy Moss with mere minutes left on the game clock.
From that point on, Brady was no longer the standard hero of the NFL. He was Walter White, he was Nero, he was Ozymandias, ready to make the world burn around him so he could be king of the ashes.
Of course, that's just the outsider opinion. If you were a Patriots fan, you'd love the passion that Brady's brought to this franchise, his depthless well of fire a strength to bring the team back from the brink. Brady's flames aren't for the sake of smoke- they're the catalyst for the Patriots to rise like a phoenix, season after season.
Brady is coming off of another Super Bowl victory, where he would've completed a redemption arc spanning a decade, if only the league's commissioner wasn't an incompetent character assassin. But for the Patriots and their fans, Brady has accomplished more success on and off the field, and brought more joy than anyone could have ever projected. No one can take that away.
Happy birthday to Tom Brady, and here's to 38 more years of him inflicting terror on the league.