I Hate Tom Brady

It has been a week since Tom Brady and his New England Patriots won their fourth Super Bowl title. I think I’m finally in a mental place to be able to write the article that I hoped I would never have to write. I may be wrong, but thankfully you won’t be able to see me weeping. I grew up in Rochester, New York. For those of you who don’t know the dynamic of New York State, I’ll explain it briefly. Upstate is what New York City residents call the rest of the state. It’s the irrelevant majority of the state by dimension, and the irrelevant minority by population. A kid growing up in Upstate New York had few choices when it came to sports. You could conform and become one of the mindless massesjimkelly who followed the Yankees, the Giants, the Rangers, and God forbid, the Knicks, or you could buck the system and support the underdog. I chose the underdogs. The Sabres have had brief flashes of brilliance that never resulted in anything substantial. The Mets had a miracle in 1969, and Bill Buckner’s blunder in 1986. My heart truly bleeds the red, white and blue of the Buffalo Bills. When Jim Kelly was drafted in 1983 things changed for the Bills. They dominated the AFC for most of Kelly’s career but never won the big game. Kelly was not the most talented athlete on the field but he was a brilliant mind and an unstoppable heart in a game of brute force.

 

bradywolverineThe Kelly era in Buffalo ended in 1996 and there was a power vacuum in the AFC East. Miami was not going to recover from losing their own Hall of  quarterback who never won a Super Bowl, Dan Marino. The Jets were destined to be the preseason favorite who would always underperform. So that left the Patriots. In 2000 with their sixth round pick, number 199 overall they chose Tom Brady. Brady only played full-time in his junior year at Michigan. Despite having a solid year and sharing in a Big 10 Title Brady had to fight for his job every week, platooning with Drew Henson , as a senior. His NFL career started much the same way. He threw only three passes in his rookie year backing up then QB Drew Bledsoe. Brady didn’t start for the Patriots until the following year when an injury sidelined Bledsoe. Brady won eleven of his fourteen starts that year and won the division. In his first trip to the playoffs Brady beat the Raiders with the infamous “tuck rule”,  got injured  against the Steelers and needed Bledsoe to mop up, and then beat the reigning Champion St. Louis Rams in the Super Bowl. His success did not end there.

Thirteen years, eleven more AFC East titles, 4 Super Bowl appearances, and two more Championships later Brady struggled early this season, to find his team’s identity. After a nationally televised 41-14 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs the sports world was abuzz with speculation that Tom Brady was done. He went on to silence his doubters yet again by winning nine of his final eleven games. A couple of months later, after the Seahawks’ questionable play-call from the Patriots one yard line was intercepted Brady was once again celebrating a Super Bowl victory and yet another game MVP. The early season talk about him being a shadow of himself was now replaced by discussion of whether he was the best of all time.

 

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Some say Terry Bradshaw and Joe Montana will never be equaled in this argument because they never lost a Super Bowl. Brady has lost two, both to the Giants. I disagree. Brady has six Super Bowl appearances and four Championships after all. Some say coach Bill Belichick is the reason for Brady’s success, but Bradshaw had Chuck Noll and Montana had Bill Walsh, so that’s a wash. Others argue that it’s the offensive system that has made Brady great. Bill Walsh pioneered the “west coast offense” and found the perfect man to run it in Montana. Noll was a coach that believed in defense and a strong running game but opened up the passing game for Bradshaw who his receivers said, “could sting their hands with a pass 50 yards downfield”.  The fact of the matter is all three men executed the system given to them with a dedication and perfection unequalled in a game full of the best players at every level of competition. Bradshaw and to a lesser degree Montana played in an era of pro football before the salary cap rules and rookie salary structures existed in the way that they do now. Bradshaw’s teammates should have their own wing in the Hall of Fame, and so should Montana’s 49er teams. Brady has done more with less than any quarterback in history. Picking at the bottom of the draft for more than a decade they have been able to stay relevant through savvy free agency signings, superb talent evaluation, and a dedication to the game plan that is second to none. Every year coach Belichick has found players on the NFL scrap heap like Corey Dillon, Antowain Smith, Junior Seau, signed them and watched as Brady’s influence turned them into champions. All of these arguments have led me to the inevitable conclusion that I have feared since 2001. Here is where I get weepy.

“TOM BRADY IS THE GREATEST QUARTERBACK OF ALL TIME!”

Oh man, that hurt, a lot! All of the statistics are on his side. Super Bowls, MVP, touchdowns, interceptions all say that he’s the best, or close to it. But what I truly think makes Brady the best ever is his ability to make others around him better.

“The greatness of a man is not how much wealth he acquires, but in his integrity and his ability to affect those around him positively.”  -Bob Marley-

Yes, I know that his integrity has been called into question recently over “deflate-gate” but that was all but forgotten by the time Brady and his Patriots began kissing the Lombardi Trophy last Sunday night. Say what you want about the man but the evidence is clear. The quarterback that every other team passed on six times in the 2000 NFL draft is the greatest of all time. It’s as indisputable as the fact that, I Hate Tom Brady!

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The Beginning
About John Kowalski

John is a veteran of the United States Air Force. He is currently a retail manager in a company who shall remain nameless. He is the father of three awesome children, despite his parenting. He is fallable, imperfect and will tell you all about it, if someone doesn't beat him to it. He loves writing, with a passion, and uses it as both self-therapy and to help others.

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