Time to Respect the G.O.A.T.

Oh we love to hate don’t we.

Yes, the New England Patriots are headed to their 10th Super Bowl appearance, extending their NFL record.

Yes, Tom Brady is onto his ninth Super Bowl (also a record) and looking to break the tie he has with former linebacker Charles Haley for most Super Bowl wins by an individual player. He’s currently at five wins and will enter the February 3 contest with a record of 5-3.

But at some point we have to set aside the unwarranted hate and realize – and then respect – history right?

A scroll through my thin social media feed finds “(f-word) the Patriots” or “(f-word) Tom Brady” or “Tom Brady is a POS!” (I’ll let you figure that acronym out yourself.)

My Seahawks-loving buddy texts me immediately, “When is f-ing Tom Brady going to retire?! It would be nice to see a new AFC team!”

I understand. It’s not fair, or we think we want parity, but me? I found myself rooting for the team I spent all of my 30s loathing. And I’ll do it again in two weeks.

“In all my years as a sports fan (founded in 1986), I don’t think there is a team I despise as much as the New England Patriots. I don’t like the Los Angeles Dodgers because I grew up a San Diego Padres fan. The Chicago Bulls drove my 90’s Phoenix Suns teams crazy, but then again they drove everyone crazy. … none of them give me the same vomit-taste in my mouth, like the New England Patriots.


Me in January 2014

When I text my friend back with “Go Patriots!” he says the move to Texas has really changed me.

Nah, it’s because since 2004, when I met and then began crushing on a boy named Peyton, I’ve watched Brady, Bill Belichick and the Patriots organization do the exact same thing they just did to the Chargers and the Chiefs, to my beloved Colts, winning 12 out of 17 games, with four of those wins coming in the postseason.

NOTE: We beat them once in the postseason – in 2007 – when George W. Bush was president, The Departed was about to win Best Picture, Desperate Housewives was still great, and the world seemed right.

That run-it-down-their-throat crap they pulled yesterday. The third-and-whatever conversions on screen passes. The quick slants to whatever white receiver that sacrifices his body (and sometimes life) to cut across the middle for 12 yards when they needed eight, I’ve seen it all before.

Spygate! Bill Belichick and his worn, torn grey hoodie, his monotone one-word answers, his supposed “genius”. Tom Brady and … and … his stupid perfect life! Winning three Super Bowls, going undefeated in a regular season, that little “dink and dunk” offense that drives an opponent crazy! Stop letting them eat up the clock! Stop letting them get first downs by, like 1-yard! So annoying!

Me in January 2014

What?! You just gave Brady, down 28-24, 1 minute, 57 seconds to drive six plays for 65 yards for a score?! Have fun with that. (Though kudos to Patrick Mahomes for quickly getting his team in field goal range, forcing overtime.)

Wait, you lost the coin flip and now want to stop Brady in overtime, kind of like the Falcons failed to do two years ago?! Game. Over.

“Later that evening the Broncos took a 24-0 halftime lead in “Manning vs. Brady XIV” and that was without Manning throwing the ball. You knew Brady would comeback right? I mean, the Patriots hate me, so it was bound to happen – and it did! The Patriots took a 31-24 lead. The Broncos would fire back and tie it at 31 apiece. Only to lose in overtime 34-31 in … I don’t want to talk about it.”


Me in November 2013 when I told Sports that we had to take a break,

Look at my quotes from years ago, I understand your pain Chiefs fans. I understand you want to play the “what-if” game, or the “blame the refs” game. I understand because I’ve dealt with this numerous times (as in I’m tired of looking back at Pro Football Reference and Wikipedia to double-check my stats, thus rehashing those bad memories, so I’m saying ‘numerous times’) in the last 15 years.

Truth is, your high-octane offense – much like my Colts had back in the day – scored a goose egg in the first half. You were one end-zone interception away from being down 21-0 at halftime. And you were playing the G.O.A.T.

Bonus Respect for the G.O.A.T.: He is exactly two months older than I am and continues to win the same way he’s won since he was 23-years-old. I’m winning a bit better than I was when I was 23, but … not a G.O.A.T.

Double Bonus Respect for Brady’s admiration for the ladies from the Southern Hemisphere.

Double Bonus Respect in that we’re both married to Brazilians. Though his Brazilian is the most popular one not named Pele. But still, we’re both winning!

Back to the sports nonsense … Manning, Rodgers, Brees … Mahomes? The greats can give you one solid fourth quarter comeback, but two in one fourth quarter? And then follow up with an overtime drive as well? Only one man can calmly, and comfortably, orchestra that … Mr. Tom Brady.

I’ve seen Russell Wilson run for his life on third-and-long and then convert, it drives me mad, but nobody does third-down conversions better then Brady (and without all the running). In fact, he went 8-for-9 for 114 yards on third-and-4 (or more), all for first downs, in Sunday’s game against the Chiefs.

“DISCLAIMER NO. 2: Thanks to fantasy sports I don’t have very many teams that I love or that I dislike, except for the Patriots. I would take the Yankees winning the World Series over the Patriots winning anything. That goes for their quarterback Tom Brady. Even if I had the last pick in my 16-team fantasy league and for some odd reason Brady dropped all the way to me, I would not take him.”

Me in October 2012

Okay, so I’d still never take Brady in fantasy football (and after this season won’t take Gronk either), but fantasy is fantasy, and in real life you and I know that if we are down a score and need to put together one last drive we’re taking Tom Brady all day, ever day.

Respect.

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