I heard about Tom Brady crying before I actually saw it. Kornheiser and Wilbon talked about it on PTI Monday, and I figured it would be one more opportunity to clown the Patriots’ metrosexual quarterback, who ultimately gets the last laugh, what with the three Super Bowl titles and supermodel wife.
And then I watched the two-minute clip.
God almighty. I want to hate him. He’s New England’s quarterback, for crying out loud. He’s the guy who makes the Steelers defense look like a bunch of Pee Wee players on the field for their first practice.
It would be one thing if he administered those ass-beatings looking like Peyton Manning. For some reason, taking your medicine is a lot easier when the person shoving it down your throat isn’t particularly handsome. It makes them real, with flaws just like the rest of us.
Before I saw Brady sobbing about his horrible draft-day experiences, his biggest problem were the rumors that he was losing his hair (for somebody going bald, he’s doing a damn fine job of looking unbald). Yes, he pimps UGGs, and yes, he looked ridiculous in Brazil (see below), but those are the worst things you can say about the man. He can be a whiny douchebag, yes, but he’s the type of whiny douchebag you’d love to see on your team. (I suspect fans of other teams feel similarly about Hines Ward, although I don’t think of him as particularly douchey.)
Alternatively, we have Big Ben. Never whiny, but quite the douchebag. And not for the “He’s wearing furry boots and hugging a goat!” reasons. But for struggling to keep his willy in his pants in public. To his credit, Ben’s been the perfect citizen for nine months or so, and he’s even engaged to be married. Good for him. Maybe he’s changed, and you can’t begrudge the guy for that.
Plus, hate him all you want, he’s the biggest reason the Steelers have been to three Super Bowls since 2005. But here’s the difference between all the candid interviews we have seen with New Ben and the clip of Brady losing it when thinking back to NFL Draft weekend 11 years ago: Brady was sincere. I don’t know if I have ever listened to Ben and thought, “you know, that’s one genuine dude right there.”
And that’s not to say athletes owe us authenticity. They don’t. It’s just an observation about the quarterback of the team I love — one of the top-5 QBs in the league — compared to the quarterback I probably loathe most, for obvious reasons.
But even through all the hatred, I didn’t even think about busting out the Nelson Muntz laugh when I saw Brady tear up. Just the opposite, actually. Here’s a guy who loves his parents, and like any kid in his early 20s, leaned on them for support.
Yes, it’s not like Brady was one step away from government cheese if he wasn’t drafted, but it’s more than that. The comment about “Now I don’t have to sell insurance” is less about actually selling insurance than it is about settling for a gig when you have bigger aspirations. It’s one thing to have to take a job to support your family; it happens all the time. And while nobody grows up wanting to push papers around a desk for a living, real life doesn’t always afford us the opportunities we thought we’d get as wide-eyed teenagers.
Anyway, I can’t express how much this bugs me to write, but I have a lot respect for Brady. It doesn’t mean I want him to win a single NFL game ever again — I still hope he loses every time he takes the field. And it certainly doesn’t mean that I wished the Steelers would have drafted him instead of Tee Martin. (Let’s be honest, Martin accomplished something at Tennessee not even Manning could: winning a national title … although, the Steelers still had no business drafting him.) I’m quite happy with Ben, and I think he’s learned a lot in the last 24 months. It’s just that after seeing that clip, I don’t hate Dreamboat nearly as much as I did.
Damn you, Tom Brady, you handsome son of a bitch.