I’m about two years older than Tom Brady. Maybe three or four. Ok I don’t know exactly, and you know what? I don’t want to know.
I do know that my friend and I were most definitely not rooting for Tom and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during last Sunday’s Divisional Playoff Game. And, by proxy, not rooting for Rob Gronkowski. But really, really, with lots of strained effort and creased foreheads, not rooting for Tom.
With Gronkowski it’s because of his massive, previous, unstoppable success, coupled with a jock-ish/oaf vibe. However, my un-researched understanding is, while incredibly accomplished and potentially oafish in nature, “Gronk” is actually quite pleasant, supportive and fun-loving. Like he’d make a great neighbor. Imagine how much he could help you when it comes to moving in new furniture or adding a nice deck to your house. He could just pick up the entire platform upon completion and move it wherever you want. Even if it’s to a new town.
Ah, Gronk’s likely a good human being. More’s the pity.
With Tom the anti-rooting is a function not of visceral hatred but rather complete and utter alienation. He’s alienating. Those chiseled features. Supermodel wife. Nice house(es). Incredible ability to still perform at the highest level as an NFL quarterback despite the unspecified but certainly proximal nature of our ages (I get sore just from riding a spin bike for 20 minutes). Plus, like Gronkowski, I hear from unsubstantiated sources Tom is actually a nice (albeit unusually competitive) person. I bet even his kids are kind little humans already. Not spray-painting profanities on my neighbor’s car like my kid.
See? Alienating. And this doesn’t even involve the world of measurement. You know, that mental world where we compare ourselves to say our neighbor with the bigger house, newer car and misdemeanor-free children and subsequently feel badly and thus eat an entire bag of Doritos in hopes of just generating a little bit joy in our lives. I guess in layman’s terms this phenomenon of comparison (excluding the Doritos) is called “Keeping up with the Jones’.”
So, yes, Tom Brady officially alienates all football-watching men older than 40. Excluding men in Boston and Tampa Bay. It’s a scientific fact. And this alienation is exacerbated by the “Keeping-up-with-the-Jones’” affect where (in the Tom vs. Me paradigm) I think to myself “I’m 40-something and worth _____ and I have ______ and run a 15-minute mile but TOM is 40-something-slightly-less-than-me and has mansions and a net worth of (oh my God I looked it up) $200 million and really nice, straight teeth, plus the other stuff we already talked about.
So I rooted against him last weekend. And I will root against him when he plays Green Bay this coming Sunday. But wait, what about Aaron Rodgers? He has all the same stuff – rumored kindness, great sense of humor, incredible talent, piles, big piles, huge piles of hundred dollar bills he sleeps on every night. What separates the two? Why am I picking on Tom?
Oh. I know.
I’m a Seahawks fan.
Now you’re just going to say “Hey you’re still upset about Super Bowl XCVD&%%LLVV” or whichever one was the one where the Seahawks lost to the Patriots at the very end part. And while I follow your logic, and indeed that unmentionable event I mentioned still sears my psyche like a red-hot poker, I’m here to tell you how wrong you are. Especially if you’re from Boston. Boston people are always wrong.
I’m officially not rooting for Tom Brady because behind the gapless-toothed smile and strong but soft-skinned handshakes lies the worst example of good sportsmanship ever to exist in this galaxy. That’s right, I’m talking about the February 9th, 2015 Great Grammy Awards Scandal of Meanness.
It was eight days after Super Bowl 49. I was curled up in my favorite soft, plush Garfield blanket, rocking back and forth, trying to forget that last-second, goal line interception, eating my fourth box of See’s Candies, watching the 57th Grammy Awards…and there, to my horror, trotted out “Tonight’s Special Guests” to present the Award for Best Rock Album. None other than Malcolm Butler, Julian Edelman…and TOM BRADY.
Imagine sitting on your couch, innocently enjoying your favorite snack, mindlessly absorbing a vapid television program, when suddenly a Great White Shark crashes through your window and eats your face. That’s what this felt like.
The worst part is the trio actually did a really good job presenting the award. Made some solid jokes. Entertained the masses. Beautifully intersected sports celebrity with musical celebrity. It was seamless…almost like an experienced signal-caller orchestrated the whole thing not unlike his two final (touchdown pass producing) drives during Super Bowl 49. Hmmmm…who has that kind of preternatural talent?
That’s right, I mean it’s off the radar and people likely think some Producer or Key Grip made that Grammy broadcast “so special,” but I know it was Tom. His fingerprints are all over it. And for that extremely unsportsmanlike stab in the heart of all Seahawks fans everywhere, for that virtual noogie, for that act of kicking us while we were down, fort that I cannot in good conscience react like a mature or well-adjusted adult. No, for that betrayal, I must root against Tom Brady. Not necessarily forever, but necessarily this weekend against the Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers. And forever after that.
I realize you likely don’t care. Unless, possibly, you’re a Seahawks fan (i.e. extraordinarily intelligent, attractive and otherwise perfect).
And that’s the great thing about sports. The act of watching a given event is not unlike playing a video game; it turns your mind off, allowing you to actively relax, similar to the way the Great White Shark who ate my face sleeps. And even though my team’s not in the NFC Championship game this year, and even though I still can’t bear to watch that interception or think about Tom Brady cruising down the highway in a convertible with the wind playfull tossing his coiffed hair around, I’ll be watching football this weekend, because I have a singular, very important reason.
And I get the feeling I always will.