When it comes to football, I root for two teams – the New England Patriots and any players on my fantasy football teams.
Fantasy sports aside, I don’t understand people who root for specific players, even when those players have been an integral part of their favorite franchise at one point.
Sports doesn’t work like that for me. I don’t live in Tom Bradyville or Mookie Bettsland. Their personal successes don’t bond me to other members of my community the way the success of the New England Patriots or Boston Red Sox Red Sox does.
People who don’t care about sports often say, “You know you are just rooting for laundry.”
That’s exactly my point. I’m not rooting for the players. At least laundry that says Boston on the front is something that at least, in theory, represents something that I identify with.
Which means that now that Tom Brady is no longer wearing my team’s laundry, I don’t have to root for him anymore.
And for me, that is a breath of fresh air.
The Entertainment Factor
I was ready for the Patriots to move on from Brady five years ago when it looked like Jimmy Garoppolo was the heir apparent. After more than a decade of Brady at the helm, I hoped for a change, either through Brady retiring or being traded away in favor of Jimmy G.
That doesn’t mean that I was spoiled, or bored, or tired of winning championships.
But sports are entertainment, and the more entertaining storyline to me was seeing Jimmy G try to pick up the baton and keep the Patriots dynasty intact.
You can’t make the same movie year after year with the same actor. Just look at the Bond franchise. Daniel Craig is going to move on soon, and fans of the character will get the exciting opportunity to see if the next guy is any good.
Now Patriots fans have the same opportunity with Stidham that we were denied when the team chose Tom over the future.
I’m more excited for this coming football season, assuming it happens, than I have been for a long time. I’m ready for the next adventure. Also, I think the Patriots will still be pretty good without Brady, so I’m looking forward to seeing how that looks.
Brady is Different
I hope the Tampa Bay Buccaneers lose every game next year.
I loved Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett when they were Celtics. While I didn’t root for them to win another title with Brooklyn, because I’m not a Nets fan, I didn’t actively root against them after they left Boston.
Brady is different.
Why? Because I don’t live in Tampa, and I think it would be incredible, fascinating, and fun TV.
Sports is entertainment, and what would be more entertaining than watching Brady throw hissy fits when the Bucs defense can’t get off the field or Bruce Arians doesn’t have the team prepared the way the QB is used to?
Is there any better drama than Brady leaving the Patriots and taking a nose dive right off of the pier in Tampa Bay? I think that would be fascinating.
Remember, it’s not my laundry. I’m just here for the show.
“But you didn’t root against Pierce or Garnett just for the entertainment factor? Why would you do that to Brady?”
Because the truth is, I haven’t wanted to root for Brady for a long time now.
It’s hard to remember, but I’m sure I used to like Brady when he was a young nobody who worked hard to climb from obscurity, capture our hearts, and become the GOAT.
In the last few years, he has become a pouty diva, as well as a walking billboard for his own interests. He aligned himself with shady people, lost his down to earth persona and went from goat to COW (Cock of the Walk).
But Brady was still in New England, and so when he was in between the sidelines, he was my guy.
Not because when he put on his jersey, it said “Brady” on the back, but because it said “Patriots” on the front.
I never called myself a Brady fan. I never bought a Brady jersey, and I don’t subscribe to TB12’s workout or diet plan, although that’s sort of a misnomer because I don’t subscribe to anyone’s workout or diet plan.
In the five minutes I watched of “The Match” this past weekend, I found myself rooting for Peyton Manning over Brady. This would have been unthinkable ten years ago, but now, a weight is off my shoulders.
Brady’s not a Patriot anymore, and that’s all that matters in my world.
Some People Become Villains
It’s not completely unprecedented for me to turn on a former Boston superstar and actively root against them.
In what’s probably an unpopular opinion, I rooted against the Colorado Avalanche until the final whistle of Game 7 in the 2001 Stanley Cup finals. Unlike most Bostonians, I did not want to see Ray Bourque win a Cup with another team. Sure, he deserves it after such a great career, but I didn’t see it as a cup shared by Boston, the way a lot of people did.
I don’t think that Brady is a villain now. Had he gone to the Chiefs perhaps, a recent rival like the Steelers or a team inside of the AFC East, I might view him that way. I don’t care about the Buccaneers enough to hate them.
Really I just feel relieved. Brady’s not the quarterback of my team anymore, and that means that I don’t have to root for him this season. So I won’t.
And that’s fine by me.
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