The night we remembered the best parts of Tom Brady


I was certainly in the minority Saturday afternoon when I said it, and now it's not even close.

Yes, I was rooting against Tom Brady.

I didn't really want to, but as a sports fan sometimes it is what it is. You turn on the TV without any preconceived notions and are simply drawn to one side or another. Each time Brady appeared in that pewter uniform, I wanted him to lose. Sorry. That's just the way it was.

If you're looking for a reason I have one: In my mind, this Brady didn't resemble the guy who meant so much to so many throughout the previous two decades. Right or wrong, his actions and words -- as subtle as they sometimes might be -- gave off an uncomfortable vibe.

Maybe it started with the force-feeding of Alex Guerrero and TB12 into his on and off the field existence. Perhaps it was how he handled the exit. The FDR quote and such certainly didn't help. Neither did his embrace of Antonio Brown. There was also the continued perception that he had left the salt mines for residence in NFL Disney World which didn't set well. (And why couldn't he simply shake hands after a loss? That wasn't the guy we knew.)

In too many ways it became about Brady and the brand instead of the one-sponsor, just-another-guy quarterback which we had put on a pedestal without these aforementioned complications.

Go ahead. Pick it apart. That's fine. As I said, this is just me.

All of that said, I truly appreciated what Brady had been doing for the Buccaneers. He was good. Really good. All despite being old. Not life old, but NFL ancient. This was historic, and I love history.

So while I sat hoping the discussion would be turning to the post mortem of Brady's first season in Tampa Bay and not a matchup in Green Bay, there were some unexpected pieces of the puzzle that started rekindling a bit more appreciation.

What jumped out the most was the undeniable fact that while the Bucs could have had a better quarterback in that spot, they weren't going to win without Brady.

It wasn't difficult to decipher the confidence having the future Hall-of-Famer at quarterback gave Tampa Bay, no matter what the score. We had seen it from opponents all the time during Brady's tenure, them muttering to themselves that no matter how it was going the former Patriot was going to win out in the end.

There running backs had confidence that wouldn't have been there. The receivers just looked over to Rob Gronkowski's wink and a nod for the reminder. The defense? They now had Tom Brady as their guy, so that must mean they were destined to great things.

Perhaps I'm way off base in my armchair analysis. But I don't think I am. No matter the completion percentage or quarterback rating, at this moment Brady's presence was worth every single dollar and then some.

And just to punctuate things were the images of Brady with Drew Brees and his family after the game. Sure, it's easy to gravitate to the other Hall of Fame quarterback who just happened to be playing in his last game. But then there were the shots of Brady throwing passes to the Brees kids gave us a glimpse into the guy who could have been living in Bunker Hill loft instead of Billionaire Bunker.

The majority of people reading this will be still steaming off the notion that anybody could have been rooting against the guy who brought them so much joy. Fair. But just know that it's not an all-in, all-out proposition.

I appreciated Brady in ways Sunday night that weren't part of the pregame talking points. Truth be told, it was somewhat heartening.

So, does that mean my rooting interest will have changed six days from now? I don't know. There are something about those Aaron Rodgers State Farm commercials that scratch where I itch. We'll see.