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Monday, January 17, 2011

Jets fever - and Tom Brady hatred

I am as excited as anyone that the underdog Jets defeated the Patriots yesterday. I have become a football fan in recent years, and today I was talking with my mom and my mom said, "I'm happy for the Jets, but it's not right what they're saying about Tom Brady. He seems like an okay guy."

She was probably referring to comments like these. Tom Brady is one of the most hated athletes in the country, and the thing is, other than winning three Superbowl rings, he hasn't done much to deserve the hatred. Unlike Michael Vick, he hasn't served two years in jail for running a vicious dogfighting ring. Unlike Ben Roethlisberger, he hasn't been charged numerous times of sexual assault. Unlike Brett Favre, he hasn't become a national joke in terms of crying, when the cardinal rule is "no crying in football." Unlike Ray Lewis, he hasn't killed a guy. And unlike Antonio Cromartie, who trash-talked Brady in the article I linked, he hasn't fathered nine children with eight different women and refused to pay child support.
No, hatred of Tom Brady seems to stem around three basic arguments:
1. I hate the Pats/Bill Belichick, therefore I hate Tom Brady
2. Tom Brady is not exciting
3. Generalized hatred towards a successful, confident athlete

Of the three different arguments of hatred, I'd say only #2 has real merit. Tom Brady is not an exciting quarterback, and never will be. He relies heavily on his offensive team, because he can't run the ball himself. He rarely leaves the pocket. His coach, Bill Belichick, is famously controlling and Tom Brady is one of those QB's that basically does what the coach says. He's not ever going to blaze across the field, ball in hand, to save the play. That is a bit boring.

But on the other hand, this predictability is probably what makes him successful. He's a team player, and he knows his limitations. He's not as muscular or fast as some other quarterbacks, but he doesn't make a fool out of himself by trying things that he can't do. He's also generally a good sport, and handled the endless "why did you lose?" questions yesterday without snapping or being rude. He didn't enter the NFL an insta-star, but was instead drafted in the sixth round and started as fourth-string quarterback before working his way up. He's fairly good-looking (I like the long hair) and has a cute son and a hot supermodel wife. Seriously, why all the hatred? I admit that I kind of like him, even though I don't like the Pats.

3 comments:

  1. I honestly believe the hatred stems from a certain type of jealousy that infects many fans in sports (and as you've more than likely seen, in other arenas as well, e.g., opera). I've never understood the need to belittle or defame great athletes (or artists of any ilk) because they are not my favorite - or play for an rival/opposing team, etc. To the contrary - and as you've shown with the Pats/Brady analogy, it's entirely possible to NOT like a team, but admire and "kind of like" members of its roster. I have similar feelings for the Colts and Peyton Manning. Brady is a solid, record breaking QB and his lack of flash (indeed, the team's lack of flash generally) stems, in my opinion, from a reliability and sense of oneness with the team rather than solo heroics. Something I don't think we see nearly enough of in sports, more noticeably as the salaries and endorsement monies grow to almost obscene levels. Good post!

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  2. I like the fact that the question's being discussed (and thanks for putting the question out there!), ...but i would disagree with this assertion: "Tom Brady is not exciting."

    I disagree. There are few quarterbacks in the NFL who are more exciting. Brady has something almost unique, namely his ability to look without turning his head & thereby telegraphing where the ball's going; it makes him very hard to defend. From time to time Tom will run, but --hello-- he was crumpled into a little pile of mush after a bad hit not so long ago, sitting out almost an entire season. That he not only came back, but put up MVP numbers is amazing (and some think it's downright miraculous: http://www.thepostgame.com/blog/slant/201101/lack-game-breaking-wr-finally-catches-patriots). He can still run but is cautious (carried the ball 31 times this season, which is about the same as Flacco & Rothlisberger, actually way more than Peyton Manning...but haha nowhere near as many as Michael Vick; but how many Michael Vicks are there anyway?). Wouldn't you be cautious, knowing that everyone will take the opportunity to pile drive you with absolutely everything they have, to say nothing of surreptitious punches, bites and tickles at the bottom of the pile?

    FYI: the comparison stats by position from yahoo http://sports.yahoo.com/nfl/stats/byposition?pos=QB Good, and then when you remember who he was throwing to and the lack of a really good running back, downright AMAZING. He may be boring on camera, but this man is among the most exciting football players I've ever seen, an alchemist who turned the dreck on his team into gold.

    Darn, I hope i haven't persuaded you to hate him too.

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  3. Tom does seem to get injured somewhat easily, and that might explain why he looks a bit stiff with the ball. He gives the impression of being afraid to run it, even if some players run it even less, as you said.

    About Peyton Manning, I don't dislike him but I do dislike the famously pushy Manning dad, and how the mediocre Eli has been foisted upon the Giants as a starter quarterback. I also dislike how the Mannings are big Republican donors, but that's neither here nor there.

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