By: Blake Probert
As is tradition, the New England Patriots suffered a lopsided early season loss on Sunday. This yearly event once again caused my various social media timelines to fill themselves full of people prematurely tap dancing on the grave of the Pat’s dynasty. But I’m here to tell you that the Great One, Tom Brady, isn’t going to be that easy to get rid of. And if you don’t like it, you can get out.
The funny thing is I used to be like a lot of you. Lost…misguided…. genuinely believing that Peyton Manning was the lesser of two evils. Fortunately, I’ve had my moment of clarity and have long since stepped into the light. You see, I realized that Tom Brady is the walking, talking, football-throwing embodiment of the American Dream. It’s forgotten now, but Tommy was the underdog when this all started.
If Brady’s life was a Mark Wahlberg movie where Marky Mark fell in love with Eva Mendes and won the Super Bowl, you’d have watched if five times on cable. Instead, he’s actually been to the Super Bowl eight times, and people resent him for it.
With that said, let’s see if I can’t convince you to love your country, and one of its greatest national treasures, a little more.
To start, this runs a lot deeper than Tom Brady, himself. It is no exaggeration to say that Brady’s bloodline is woven into the very fabric of the U.S. of A. Two of his great-great-grandparents were Irish refugees who came the States seeking a better life for themselves and future generations. Spoiler Alert: Mission Accomplished. Pretty American Dream-y so far. How about adding a war hero to the mix? Brady’s great uncle, Michael Buckley Jr, was the first American P.O.W. taken in WWII. He was captured by Rommel as an unarmed observer working with the British in 1942. Yeah, Field Marshall Erwin freakin’ Rommel….probably not a great seven month hang for Michael.
With the red, white and blue bona fides established, let’s get into the man himself. Brady spent his first three years at the University of Michigan seeing little to no playing time. In the 1998 and ‘99 seasons, he started every game but had to win an intense battle with Drew Henson to do so. In ‘99 they were even a part of a QB committee; playing the first and second quarters respectively, with the coach deciding who would continue playing at half time.
Given all that, Tom was a lightly regarded prospect entering the 2000 NFL draft. He was famously selected in the sixth round. For perspective, the Vikings drafted a Kicker in the fifth round this year…and they cut him Tuesday. I could go into absolutely painstaking detail on the pro career section here but, we’ll skim it: Drew Bledsoe gets injured and brings about an era that includes five Super Bowl wins, four Super Bowl MVP’s, three regular season MVP’s, 13 Pro Bowls, 15 Division Titles, several good haircuts, and one supermodel wife. If this was a sports movie, he’s long since embarrassed poor, pathetic Rudy. This is basically Varsity Blues in the NFL and turned up to 11.
With a passing nod to the Giselle thing, some female readers might be raging over it: I’m not here to litigate the man’s personal life. (Author’s note: I stand by my cop out here)
“TOO BAD HE’S A DIRTY CHEAT” say so many of you. Well, in the words of the late Eddie Gurrerro, “If you aren’t cheating, you aren’t trying.” I’m not here to say the Pats and Touchdown Tommy are without blemishes. I am here to say that they’re overblown. Partially because so many are in a rush to judge due to their resentment toward sustained success. Partially, because Roger Goodell needs to feel tough while distracting you from whatever turd he recently dropped in a punch bowl.
If you’re the type to get upset that the Pats are willing to bend the rules to meet their goals, I’d like to congratulate you for all of the following:
- adhering to every rule in every sporting event you ever participated in
- obeying all speed limits
- paying as much as you can in taxes
- eagerly participating in jury duty
- donating all they money you’ve ever found on the street to charity…so on and so forth.
Enjoy the view from your ivory tower in Losertown.
You know who else hated a group of patriots willing to get their hands dirty to win the ultimate prize? Colonial England circa 1775-1783.
The fact of the matter is that Tommy has become a social pariah. Many folks resent the unprecedented length of time he’s been successful. It’s natural. People crave a new story line to get behind; a new underdog to topple the former David now turned Goliath. It surely doesn’t help that Brady seems a little detached; uninterested in the approval of others, or lack thereof. Perhaps the success, both on and off the field, have left him a little smug. You know who else hates a strong sense of personal accomplishment? Commies! Brady is living out the football equivalent of the Red Scare, and I’m here with a dash of gridiron McCarthyism.
I could literally fill page after page defending Tom Brady. However, to close this up, I say this to Tom Brady haters: Let the man continue to live out the greatest underdog story of all time. America should love her underdogs, even after we’ve long since shed the status. Sit back, and enjoy the Brady Twilight years as he tries to add to his illustrious career. You’ll never see anyone this good again.