Another day, another perplexing mystery of the universe solved, and for once, the answer isn’t “ALIENS”.
(Don’t take it personally, George. I still believe.)
When you’ve been building your own legend from almost going undrafted for as long as Tom Brady has, you’re bound to rack up nickname after nickname in the process, especially as society’s sense of humor evolves over the years. Not to mention that sports dorks really, really like alliteration, so you get stuff like this:
Ah, Tom Terrific. That’s some 101-proof nostalgia right there, before everybody hated New England and decided we were the combined scum of the Evil Empire New York Yankees and the Iceland Junior National hockey team from Mighty Ducks 2 because the Patriots figured out that if you trot out 5 wide receivers against a base defense, there’s probably going to be some mismatches. Ah, simpler times, when iPods only played music and Justin Timberlake ruled the land, my friends.
Anyway, for as much as my fellow nerds and I here at the Pulpit use Pro Football Reference for any and all nerd-related foozeball research, the one part of Brady’s page that never ceased to grind my gears was that “The Pharoah” nickname. The rest of them all make sense, and I honestly assumed that “Sir” was someone with a sense of humor at PFR adding it in there after that Seth Wickersham ESPN “bomb” that said Brady supposedly got Fight-Club-level-pissed if rookies didn’t call him “Sir”.
Which, yeah, that’s totally the vibe in these videos where Brady’s acting like he’s the regional manager. You just keep doing you, ESPN.
Meanwhile, the heck is “The Pharoah” supposed to mean? For as much as the word “literally” has been callously abused over the last couple years, the word “Pharoah” has literally never been used in reference to TB12, ever. Not on broadcasts, not in interviews, not in Madden, not even in the player introductions where players can get away with saying their high school or Hogwarts or Ball So Hard University.
*SI’s Robert Klemko pulls up in a Corvette convertible*
“You guys got a mystery that needs solving?”
And solve it he did! Buried in Klemko’s Sports Illustrated article about how Brady cares about Pro Bowls approximately as much as he cares about getting Patriot of the Week, former Patriots middle linebacker and violent run-thumper Brandon Spikes finally cracked the code:
(warning: if you’re going to the gym today, read this BEFORE you take your pre-workout energy supplement, combining the two could be more power than one human can control)
“I had one of my best years my third season,” Spikes said. “I’d been playing off the charts. And I didn’t get picked to go to the Pro Bowl. I was moping around, actually in tears, and a few guys were trying to lift me up, like, ‘It’s gonna be alright man. We’ve got to worry about what’s in front of us.’ Then The Pharaoh himself walks up to me—I used to call Brady The Pharoah and he hated that—Brady walks up to me and says, ‘Hey B, you think I play this s--- to go to Pro Bowls? Get it together. Get your head up. We’re trying to win rings. That’s what it is here.’ That’s where I knew what kind of environment I was in, how blessed I was.”
Hey, like they said in another cinematic classic of our generation, “Heroes get remembered, but legends never die”.
(also, gratuitous plug: if YOU have a blog, Pro Football Reference has a player link tool that lets you hit just one button and all the players in your story automatically get linked to their stats page. It’s legit!)