Don’t hate Tom Brady because he’s great

Christian Zylstra-Sports Editor

The New England Patriots are Super Bowl LI champions, and Tom Brady and Bill Belichick laid claim to their fifth Super Bowl title, more than any other coach or quarterback in NFL history.

For a lot of people, reading that lead is upsetting. Between the Super Bowl party in my apartment and the handfuls of students I overheard walking to and from class Monday morning, there isn’t much love for Brady, Belichick or the Patriots.

“Brady and his evil empire win again.”

“It’d be nice if someone else won for a change.”

“Bill Belichick can suck my…”

“I hate Tom Brady.”

The language and disdain for Brady and New England is evident, but why?

[It’s important to note here that I am in no way a fan of the New England Patriots. Brady’s run in the NFL gets repetitive, and it’d be nice to see some new teams win a Super Bowl now and then. So I have no issue with football fans despising the Patriots.]

Brady seems to have it all: the happy family, the supermodel wife, championships, money and connections. It’s safe to say a lot of us would love to trade places with Brady.

Yes, Brady comes off at times with a certain arrogance and self-recognition that he’s better than everyone else. But guess what? The same can be said for many professional athletes. And Brady has a reason to feel like he’s better than everyone else. Tom Brady is the greatest quarterback in NFL history.

Most people hate Tom Brady because they’re jealous. They’re jealous of his records, they’re jealous of his championships, they’re jealous of his wife, they’re jealous of his money and they’re jealous of his greatness.

And look, I get it. Personally, I cheer for the Browns. I’d love to be in Brady’s spot year after year, contending for and winning Super Bowls. But that just isn’t how everything turned out.

We as human beings and as sports fans have some inherent nature within us to either tend toward or away from greatness. Essentially – speaking about non-New England fans – we either love the greatness or we hate it.

During the 1990s, everyone either loved or hated Michael Jordan. If you liked basketball and the NBA, there was no in-between. The same can be said today with LeBron James.

Most people feel more positively toward the incredible Wayne Gretzky in 2017 than they did when he was breaking and setting every record during the 1980s and 1990s.

Sports fans often feel displeasure and disdain toward greatness. We don’t appreciate it in the moment and only decades later will fans reflect on everything Brady did during his career and say, “He is the greatest quarterback in NFL history.”

If you want to dislike the Patriots because they win all the time, then go ahead. If you want to dislike Belichick because of Spygate and other Patriots’ cheating scandals, fine.

But don’t hate Tom Brady because he’s great.

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