For the first time since 2008, the Patriots are not playing meaningful games in January, so what are fans doing?
Rooting for Tom Brady and the Buccaneers.
Almost 80% of Patriots fans say they are rooting for Brady and the Bucs, according to a Twitter poll. And the television ratings back that up.
According to NBC Sports, the Tampa Bay/Washington game last weekend received a 19.6 rating in Boston. That is higher than the Patriots’ Week 16 game against the Bills, which received a 18.3 rating in Boston.
Now, that was when the Patriots were eliminated from playoff contention, as the game before in Miami received a 27.6 rating in Boston. But still, the point remains, Patriots fans have now turned to Brady and the Bucs.
Here’s a sampling of responses on Twitter from fans as to why they are rooting on Tampa Bay.
@ClahkyTheChief: Watching him and the Patriots for the past 20 years I have fallen more in love with his play and him as a player than the franchise itself. I knew he was what was keeping us relevant. He’s my favorite athlete of all time and I’d love to see him continue to add on to his legacy
@pfitz7: I feel loyalty to the guy that gave us so many great wins the last 20 years
@ChriswithaTIAN: Absolutely rooting for him. The man gave us 20 years!
@venjnovich: Yes because he was the single greatest player / winner in any Boston Sports Franchise of All Time (possible exception, obviously Bill Russell). I cannot FATHOM those who aren't rooting for him.
@bobbyblanco1: Of course I’m rooting for TB12..... WHY? REALLY?? If you & your significant other separate and the child/children go live with the your partner you’d still root for em right? Same applies here, wish @TomBrady & @Buccaneers nothing but success
And the list went on and on, as hundreds engaged and shared their opinions making it clear how much Brady means to them and the region based on what he gave the Patriots franchise for 20 years.
This doesn’t mean all fans agree, as the poll indicated almost one in four fans will not be rooting for the former Patriots quarterback, and it’s understandable as to why, too.
Brady winning playoff games and potentially a Super Bowl with another team would be hard to take given how things ended in New England, and also a blow to those who sided with Bill Belichick in the QB vs. coach debate.
There are also some who do not like who Brady has become the last few years and is seemingly a different person than he was at the beginning of his career.
Would things be different in terms of a rooting interest the Patriots had at least made the playoffs? Most likely.
But, with the Patriots missing the postseason for the first time in 11 years, at least Patriots fans have something to cheer for in Brady and the Bucs.