Tom Brady loves me! (And maybe a few of you too.)


It’s been brought to my attention this week that I am, apparently, a Tom Brady hater.

Never saw it coming. Snuck up on me, even. But, I guess as the quarterback’s former boss might say, maybe it is what it is.

This realization has been noted by many in response to my revelation on WEEI’s airwaves and via Twitter that I am indeed rooting against Brady a week from Sunday in his Super Bowl LV matchup with Patrick Mahomes and the defending-champion Chiefs.

In Boston, inside the borders of Brady’s former home of Patriot Nation, many see that as treasonous. For some, understandably, it’s blasphemy.


The good news, though, is that while boatloads of Boston sports fans have passionately and pointedly expressed their displeasure with my big game rooting inclinations – up to 90 percent of New England fans are supposedly cheering for the quarterback that turned his back on their supposed team – Brady loves me!

This I know, because a couple years back when Brady was still leading the Patriots into one of his many Super Bowl trips he was asked how he responded to haters, aka me.

“What do we do about the haters?” Brady rhetorically responded to his young inquisitor on Super Bowl Opening Night in Atlanta just two years ago. “We love ’em. We love ’em back, because we don’t hate back. We appreciate it, and we love ’em, and we wish them the best in their life.”

Aww, gee, that’s nice of him. Thanks, Tom. Appreciate ya.

Just not rooting for you. So, in the eyes of many, I’m therefore most definitely a hater.

Why, you may wonder, am I rooting against TB12?

That’s a tough question. The answer a sports world combination of inexplicable and complicated.

Like why do I enjoy milk chocolate and brownies but hate chocolate ice cream and chocolate cake?

Why do I despise tomatoes but love salsa, ketchup and marinara sauce?

On some level, the ol’ Hart likes what the heart likes.

And no, Brady was not mean to me at some point in my two decades covering the Patriots or, for many years, riding on the same team plane with him while I worked for To the contrary, in both group settings and rare one-on-one chats Brady was nothing but professional and engaged. In fact, I’ve always said he has the incredible ability to look deep in the eyes of anyone he’s conversing with and make them feel like he truly cares what they are talking about, even if you know he’s rushing off to a far more important aspect of his busy day.

It’s not personal.

And no, this isn’t some contrived contrarian viewpoint concocted to acquire clicks or drive radio talk. No heel turn here.

It’s not business.

Actually, it's just sports.

In many ways, there probably is no singular, finite answer as to why I’m not rooting for Brady.

Probably similar to there likely being no singular, finite reason he’s no longer the quarterback for the Patriots.

Did he rub me the wrong way in his final few years in Foxborough? Damn right.

Did it bother me that the guy who was built up as the hardest worker and a one-of-the-guys, money-doesn’t-matter type suddenly needed to be appreciated more, reportedly wanted more say in personnel matters and couldn’t continue down the contract path that he had accepted, created and promoted outwardly for many years?

Yeah, kinda.

Brady changed, as it was certainly his right to do.

Brady became a brand. To some degree a diva.

He admirably yet curiously put his passion into his TB12 lifestyle, one that promotes drinking water to avoid sunburns. One that criminalizes weight training but believes rubber bands are the key to life, even though at their core both are simply forms of resistance training. One that isn’t so different than so many other programs out there, yet apparently is.

On some level, the aww shucks, dimple-chinned boy who was the foundation for the Bill Belichick-led dynasty simply went, for the lack of a better description, Hollywood.

Then, last year, he went NBA. Or at least he took an NBA mentality. When the going got tough with his coach and talent in New England, he took his talents to a new team, a team loaded with other Pro Bowl-caliber players. A team that offered a simple, direct route to success.

LeBron who?

Not exactly the approach Brady took back in the day when he was battling Drew Henson for playing time on the Michigan depth chart. That Brady stayed. That Brady fought. That Brady overcame.

Not this Brady. This Brady is different.

All’s right in Brady’s new world these days.

He’s living in the fun sun of Tampa, never to step foot in the horrible Northeast again.

He now has a coach he “loves” playing for.

He’s surrounded by the kind of talent and then some that allowed mere mortal Jameis Winston to throw for more than 5,000 yards just a year ago. He’s taken that talent, added to it and run with it all the way to the eve of another Lombardi Trophy.

He’s in his 10th Super Bowl looking for his seventh ring, the first team to host the big game in its own stadium.

He’s indeed the GOAT, now worthy of conversations of the greatest athletes and winners in any sport.

He’s a walking Hall of Fame and a talking record book.

He’s winning the early days of the divorce with his grumpy former coach who’s left to do things the old fashioned way in rebuilding the team he turned his back on.

Brady’s about to face a budding superstar talent and an Andy Reid-led Chiefs team that could become the first NFL squad since the 2003-04 Patriots to win back to back titles. There may be a budding little dynasty of its own in Kansas City.

There are plenty of reasons to root for Brady in his first season after scurrying off the good-ship Patriots, at least in the eyes and hearts of so many left with time to fill in this playoff-free winter in New England.

But not for me, not for this Brady on this new team.

Nope, I’ll be rooting against him.

And he loves me for that. At least that’s what Brady says.

But I don’t really believe him.