TAMPA — Tom Brady has been at the center of GOAT debates for years. And now, Bucs fans, he’s all yours.
I have a different perspective from many in Tampa Bay. I’m a New Englander, a Patriots fan (though I’ve been losing interest the past couple of seasons), and I’ve been watching Brady play for 20 years.
Last week, even when Brady to the Bucs still wasn’t official, my family group chat was full of grief. By that evening, my dad had sent the GIF of Emma Stone crying and eating ice cream.
Now that the emotions have settled (sort of), here’s a quick guide to being a knowledgeable new Brady fan, from my family to yours.
TB12 is a brand and a lifestyle
You’ve probably heard of TB12, Brady’s brand. You may have heard about his strict diet. As outlined in Brady’s book The TB12 Method, the diet is anti-inflammatory, high alkaline and plant focused. In short, it’s highly restrictive.
As you watch Brady, you may want to read up on this diet; you may want to try this diet. Resist. You likely will fail to follow it.
No gluten. No dairy. No tomatoes. No sugar. No excessive caffeine.
Perhaps it’s the secret to Brady’s longevity (he is still playing at 42). But for most of us mere mortals, it sounds like no fun. Marvel at the man; don’t emulate him.
Though it’s not always healthy living for Brady. He may avoid excessive alcohol, but that does not mean he can’t chug a beer better than most, as he proved on the Late Show with Stephen Colbert.
‘Gronk’ learned from the best
You probably know the Gronk Spike. Tight end Rob Gronkowski’s emphatic touchdown celebration was practically a trademarked move while he was with the Patriots. But did you know Brady did it first?
As a quarterback — and a non-rushing one at that — Brady doesn’t finish a touchdown with the ball in his hands often. But his spikes go back to a 2001 playoff win over the Raiders (aka the “Snow Bowl”), where his legend truly began.
Watch him run ... if you dare
The NFL has become a mobile quarterback’s league. Brady is not mobile. Not only that, him running is ugly, so ugly. Symptoms while watching him attempt to scramble include shortness of breath and heart palpitations.
Somehow, running usually works out okay for him. But for a few seconds, you’ll question everything.
This, however, does not apply to quarterback sneaks. Brady is incredibly good at those. They’re not even really sneaky because everyone knows they’re coming. With 1 or 2 yards needed, he’s pretty solid, and you’re not so focused on his feet. Outside the pocket, things get dicey.
Fun fact to impress your friends: In his storied career, Brady barely has surpassed 1,000 yards rushing. He has topped 100 yards in a season just three times in his career, the last time in 2011. His rushing total in 2019 was a whopping 34 yards.
Don’t armchair quarterback
New Englanders have a phrase we use often: “In Bill We Trust.” It’s a reference to coach Bill Belichick because he makes head-scratching moves that often work out. (Or at least that work out enough to balance out the ones that don’t, like the “Fourth and 2 Game” against the Colts in 2009.)
No phrase is needed for Brady. For a Bucs fan base that never knew which Jameis Winston it would get on any given game day for five seasons, there’s less of a roller coaster with Brady. At his worst, in the early 2000s, Brady topped out at 14 interceptions in a season three times. He has led 45 winning drives, according to the website Pro Football Reference.
“Do NOT rush him,” advises my sister, Stephanie Nearhos. “Trust us; he knows what he’s doing better than you do.”
High five ... nope
Good news, Tampa Bay fans, you’re getting another meme-able quarterback.
You’ve seen the memes of Brady being left hanging for high fives. (How does that happen so often?) You’ve seen him sitting on the ground, pouting, after an incomplete pass or not getting a call.
Do you remember the one of him awkwardly dancing at Carnival in Brazil in 2011 when he had a ponytail? And just like Winston eating a W will live on forever in the Twitterverse, Deflategate options abound.
Don’t get too attached
Back over to my sister: “Most importantly, try not to fall in love with him. It will hurt that much more when he inevitably leaves you.”