Following another loss at the hands of Eli Manning and the New York Giants in the Super Bowl, the question currently being tossed around the sports world is if Tom Brady's legacy is now tarnished after a second Super Sunday defeat?
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The New England Patriots had one of the worst defenses in the National Football League this season, yet they still managed a 13-3 record and home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs.
The primary reason they were able to do this? Tom Brady.
Even with a lousy defense, Brady managed to make his fifth career trip to the Super Bowl, and arguably would have won his fourth ring had his receivers not let him down in the fourth quarter.
And while Brady has come up short in his last two Super Bowl appearances, the Patriots actually led both times with under a minute remaining. So his Super Bowl record sits at 3-2, but could just as easily be 5-0.
But now his legacy is tarnished?
Being a huge Brady supporter, I'm well aware of the fact that the majority of NFL fans loathe him and get some form of sick pleasure out of seeing him fail. What I don't get, is why?
Is it because he won three Super Bowls in his first four years as a starter? Is it because of the whole "Spygate" thing? Because he's married to a model? Why? What possible reason could so many people have to despise the guy?
The answer is fairly simple.
You see, for as much as the general public loves to pull for the underdog, they equally enjoy to root against the consistent winner. Who better to detest than the quarterback that has done more winning over the last decade than anyone else?
The problem I have with this is that Brady has earned everything he's ever accomplished on the football field. Nothing has ever been handed to him. He's a self-made man and genuinely good guy. Despite the "pretty boy" label people want to pin on him, no one cares more about not letting his team or city down than Tom Brady.
For all the jubilation his second Super Bowl loss brought to the masses, I'm sure it killed Brady even more than that on the inside. He hates to lose because he genuinely cares so much. About all his teammates. About head coach Bill Belichick. About owner Robert Kraft. About all the New England fans. About the franchise that took a chance on him with pick No. 199 in the 2000 NFL Draft. About the legacy that he's fought so hard to attain.
A legacy, that is now in question.
But again, why? Because he didn't march the Patriots to a win in the final minute of his fifth Super Bowl?
Don't get me wrong, I don't expect Tom Brady to be some kind of sympathetic figure now. It would be hard to feel sorry for anyone that's led the life he's led. Still, for his lasting legacy to be in question is a pretty sad thing.
The outcome of last night's contest hasn't swayed my opinion of No. 12 in the least, nor should it have swayed anyone else's. To me, Brady is still the greatest signal caller in the history of the sport. You bring your all-time greatest quarterback to the gun fight and I'll bring mine, and as far as I'm concerned, the deck is significantly stacked in my favor.
Regardless, Tom Brady now finds himself in a can't-win situation. No matter what he does the remainder of his career, he'll never live this down.
If he wins another Super Bowl, he'll hear, "Well you lost two to the Giants." If he doesn't win another one, he'll hear, "Well you won three, but lost the last two to the Giants." And if he happens to win another against a team other than New York, he'll hear, "Well you won four, but the Giants beat you twice."
He can't win.
Ironic isn't it? The quarterback with the best winning percentage in NFL history can't win.
And the crowd goes wild.