Why do you hate Tom Brady so much?
Hoo boy. You know, I was all prepared with this answer. I was going to write about how I don't hate Tom Brady personally, because it's not like I know him or anything, and that more than anything else, my hatred for Brady is the "sports fan's hatred of the other guy". You know, it's how sports fans feel about that one guy who always seems to have your team's number, no matter what. It's like how Boston sports fans likely felt for years about Bucky Dent or Mookie Wilson.
But then, St. Tommy had to go and open his mouth at a Super Bowl press thing the other day, in the context of talking about how his father has made all kinds of sacrifices to follow his son's football career:
"He's been there every step of the way," Brady said of his dad. "Then I went to school a long ways from home, and he and my mom were there at every home football game that they could possibly be at and a lot of road games, too. And even when I started my pro career, he traveled to Buffalo. I don't know if you guys have ever been to the hotels in Buffalo -- they're not the nicest places in the world -- but he would travel to those."
Wow. Thanks for that, Tom.
Now, most of the folks I follow online – few of whom blog anymore, and most of whom are on Twitter, which makes me sad – are of the "Who cares what some football player thinks" camp, or the "Hey, he's just telling the truth, because Buffalo kind of sucks" camp, or a combination of both camps. This goes along with "Geez, Buffalo, do you gotta get so upset any time somebody says something mean about your city?" And those folks are right.
But still...yeah. I hear you, folks. I really do. But still: f*** Tom Brady.
Here's why: There was really no reason for it. He didn't need to say it. Buffalo wasn't part of the conversation in any way, until he cited it as an example of awful hardships his father has had to endure in the purpose of following his son's career. "Hey, he's come to Buffalo. That's a commitment!" And he said it on an enormous media stage.
Look, I am well aware that Buffalo isn't the nicest city in the world, or even the country, or even the state. I'm well aware that this city's warts are openly displayed for all to see. I'm well aware that this city continues to rust and crumble while we continually shoot ourselves in the foot, development-wise. But that doesn't mean that I should be happy to hear continued use of my city, my home, as a national short-hand for "crappy cesspool of a city" to which no one in their right mind would want to go unless it's for business and you're only going to be there for the shortest time possible.
Here's the bottom line: We get to say these things. Brady doesn't. At least, not for me. The "Brady is right and it shouldn't matter" crowd will have to bear with me if I'm not willing to say "Thank you, Mr Brady, may I have another?" on this one. Harumph!
There's also some rhetoric going around that this kind of thing – the impression our city makes on visiting athletes who are in town for a game – is part of what keeps star players from entertaining Buffalo as a possible spot for when they are free agents. To this I say, simply, nonsense. Look, I know that the view from the Kensington Expressway into downtown from the airport isn't terribly inspiring. But in my experience there's not a city in the world that doesn't have such a route, somewhere. I read things like this – "Buffalo's hotels aren't super nice and the town's nightlife isn't terribly exciting" – and I think, "Huh. Does Green Bay hear things like this?"
Probably not...and the reason why is glaringly obvious. Why don't star players avoid Green Bay like the plague and refuse to entertain the possibility of signing there? Because Green Bay has a team that wins. Buffalo does not. I guarantee that as long as the Bills are here, it won't matter how the city looks: if the team gets good again, players will be more willing to sign here.
So: Why do I hate Tom Brady? Because he's great and he kicks my team's ass constantly. Because he lives a ridiculously charmed life. Because as great as he clearly is, I still think he's overrated; he's never really produced a signature win and a huge moment that will live in sports lore forever, there's nothing he's ever done that makes me think, "Wow, I remember when Tom Brady did ____"; I tire of the man-crushes that many sports commentators have on the guy.
Here's a true story: I've always thought that NBC's Cris Collinsworth has been overly obsessive about Brady, and that he brings Brady into conversations entirely too often, whether the discussion involves the Patriots or not. I mentioned this once on Facebook, and another friend disagreed, saying that Collinsworth simply has a lot of respect for one of the game's best players. Fine. Except that during last year's Winter Olympics, Collinsworth at one point presented a profile piece he'd done on short-track speed skater Apollo Anton Ohno, after which he said to Bob Costas and those of us at home, "Apollo Anton Ohno really reminds me of Tom Brady."
So there's why I hate Tom Brady. (Kinda sorta. I mean, I'm sure he loves his mother.)
Oh, and a prediction? I really don't like offering predictions, but I'll offer a hope: Giants 30, Patriots 16. Not only do I want Brady to lose, but I want him to lose fairly convincingly. I want his defeat to be large enough that no one can whitewash this game for him if he does lose. I don't think a blow-out is likely, but if Brady loses by 10-14 points and only puts up pedestrian numbers – say, 200 yards, 1 TD, 2 picks – it'll make me feel all kinds of warm and fuzzy inside. But I guess it's OK if he wins his fourth, tying him with Joe Montana and Terry Bradshaw. After all, neither one of those guys ever lost a Super Bowl.
And hey, folks, questions aren't exactly flying in the door yet, so Ask Me Anything!