Tom Brady is playing in the Super Bowl!
That’s a phrase we here at Pats Pulpit know all too well.
Tommy B, for the 10th time, is getting ready to represent his conference in the Super Bowl this Sunday. Tommy B, for the first time, is doing it as a member of the National Football Conference. He is now tied with two of the three quarterbacks he beat to get there, Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees, for NFC Championship wins. At age 43, he is now the oldest player to ever start in a Super Bowl, beating the record previously held by Patriots starting quarterback Tom Brady. And I, for one, absolutely love it.
I love it. I’m still a huge Tom Brady fan and am thrilled to see him doing well down in Tampa. I’m a Pats fan first and foremost, a fact that’s never going to change, but I always want to see former Patriots greats succeed as they finish their careers elsewhere. Tommy B brought me so much joy for so long that I can’t help but wish him well.
However, I know that not all Patriots fans feel the same way that I do. More than a few folks that I consider diehard, knowledgable, rational, passionate Pats fans wanted to see Brady go down to Tampa and struggle. They wanted him to regret his decision to move on. They rooted against him in the postseason for the first time ever and felt the entire gamut of emotions for doing so.
And I get it — I really do. It’s human nature to feel more than a small pang of jealousy when you drunkenly stalk your ex’s Instagram account at 2:30 in the morning only see that they’ve moved on, are living it up somewhere warm, and their new partner is stunningly good looking. Then you look around at your stained sweatpants and pile of unpaid bills and can’t help but feel that you soundly lost the breakup. That’s kind of what’s happening here with Brady and the Bucs, and so if you’re a Patriots fan who is a little confused right now, know that I understand and that you aren’t alone.
But that got me thinking...if you’re new to rooting against Brady and don’t know how to feel about it, imagine hating the man for decades — literally decades — only to see him win again and again and again? See him hoist trophy after trophy, put to rest any and all debates about who the greatest quarterback of all time is, and listen to endless, nauseating fawning over his abilities on almost every channel? And to make matters worse, to see him win in the most infuriating manner possible? Dee Ford and Malcolm Butler and Brandin Cooks and Matt Ryan...it’s so easy to dwell on a handful of plays that, had they gone differently, might have altered the course of NFL history. But they didn’t, and here Tom Brady is once again, and there’s nothing you can do about it.
It must be completely, utterly, overwhelmingly exhausting.
For the record, I’m not talking about those select few media members; we all know who they are. Those guys have a ratings-based agenda and (correctly) see some Brady bashing as a quick and easy way to find relevance in a hyper-competitive market. I don’t think that constitutes real journalism and I have no respect for the hot takers of the world, but I can at least understand it.
What I’m talking about are the fans. Fans who have been rooting for Brady’s demise for so long they have now seen four different US Presidents take office. Fans who keep thinking they’ve finally seen the last of Tommy B only to seethe at their TV every January as he goes on another run. Fans who have decided to ignore the statistical impossibility of getting lucky for 20 straight years and can’t figure out how Brady just magically gets all the calls and bounces. They’ve been on the “Brady is overrated” hill for so long that they have no choice but to die on it, forced to spout tired cliches and cherry pick stats to prove their nonexistent point. They’ve had enough Tom Brady to last them two dozen lifetimes and they just want it all to go away. That’s who I’d like to address here today, on the off chance you’re reading this.
You all must be tired. So very, very tired.
Maybe you’ve had moments of joy when Tommy B threw bad pick, played poorly, or lost a big game, but do those moments outweigh having to watch all of this nauseating praise that he so very well deserves? Is spinning the narrative really worth it?
I think we can all agree that quarterbacks, as a position, get unfairly judged, and are held personally responsible for what happens in the ultimate team sport. QBs get way too much credit for a win, and they get way too much blame for a loss. Nobody will deny that. But that’s just football. It’s a universally accepted benchmark when discussing this game. The human element of football is massive, and this game doesn’t translate onto an Excel spreadsheet at all. Ignoring some narratives and embracing others in order to justify an opinion is no way to go through life, in this writer’s personal opinion. So why are you still so determined to go down with this particular (6 World, 13 AFC, and one NFC Champion) ship? How has hating on Tom Brady made your life better in any way?
It’s over. It’s OK now. Come down from there. It’s not so bad, I promise. Please join us in rooting for and appreciating greatness on a level so advanced there aren’t even any comparisons anymore. We won’t judge you. In fact, we’d love to have you. We’re never going to see anything like this ever again, so wouldn’t you at least like to say you were around to fully enjoy it?
And if not, if you’re among those who just can’t let it go no matter what happens, no matter what what Tom Brady does to further distance himself from the pack, then fair enough; may you find happiness in the life you’ve chosen. But there’s a chance that Tom Brady will be around for several more years, so I hope you have the energy to keep on going.
Because it very much seems like Brady still does.