By Martin Rogers
FOX Sports columnist
Watch out if the GOAT wants to shine.
For a while, it looked like Tom Brady was in full-blown party mode, sipping avocado tequila and hurling the Lombardi Trophy across open water as part of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers post-Super Bowl revelry.
This week, the celebrations have apparently entered a new phase. While they did, it was time for anyone in the sports media who had previously expressed doubts about Brady’s ability to muster a seventh ring to take cover.
Anything that indicated he didn’t believe he could bring the Bucs to the Promised Land at age 43 was fair play. The level of petty was once. And Brady didn’t care.
There was a clip of New Orleans Saints’ defensive end, Cam Jordan, joking with his teammates that Brady was “a week away from a little arthritis, honey.”
There were headlines and quotes from Sports Illustrated, the Boston Globe, the Washington Post, ESPN, the Orlando Sentinel, the Tampa Bay Times and, yes, FOX News, from a number of points during the campaign when things didn’t go so smoothly.
There was background noise from various sports personalities such as FS1’s Shannon Sharpe and ESPN’s Max Kellerman and the footage featured triumphant footage of Brady reigning supreme in the greatest game of all, when his team beat the Kansas City Chiefs, 9/31.
And juxtaposed with all of this, which served as ultimate proof that Brady could use anything, from anyone, as motivation, were a series of comments from regular Twitter users.
That’s how, late Wednesday, James Curtin III, an insurance sales manager from Rochester, NY and diehard Buffalo Bills fan, got a message from an old Syracuse college friend. You may want to check this out, he was told, with a corresponding link to the Brady video.
“Oh no,” thought Curtin when he saw the images appear. “Please tell me he didn’t find my Tweet.”
Sure enough, Brady or whoever helped him put the video together had found it.The tweet in question was a July 24th post, when there were concerns that an NFL season might even be possible. Considering everything that has happened since then, it’s a mini-work of comic art in itself.
“Too old Tom,” Curtin wrote, before adding ironically, “Boy, I’ll have to eat these words in about six and a half months.”
Curtin can’t remember where he was when he tweeted it and barely remembers it, but as soon as the Bucs defeated the Chiefs it surfaced again, sparking a wave of online reminders and messages.
Most of them were kindhearted after all, he basically called himself out on his own hot take before he even finished writing. He should now be ready for a few more responses, after making his way onto Brady’s radar.
“It’s a bit crazy,” Curtin told me by phone Thursday morning. “I respect Brady, he’s the GOAT, but as a fan of Bills it’s part of my job to love to hate him too. I can tell you this though. It’s much better to have lost to the Chiefs in the game. AFC Championship. Than losing to Brady in the Super Bowl. That would have hurt a lot more. “
It’s quite remarkable that, with all he’s accomplished, Brady is still taking names. The intent behind the video was clear. Say what you like, but Brady is listening. As he puts it, he collects receipts and prepares them for future use when the time is right. That time was this week.
It’s so utterly unnecessary yet unashamedly brutal that you can’t help but shake your head and smile at it. If someone like Brady comes out with this, you can’t say anything. You can’t say it was lucky, not when he did it seven times. You can’t say anything. Many people said that at the age of 43, Brady couldn’t do it anymore. Yet he did.
“It’s normal for an athlete to use negative things said about them to fuel them,”Sharpe, who criticized Bradys’ play after a two-intercept outing in a loss to the Los Angeles Rams in November, told Undisputed“I have no problem with Tom using me as fuel. (And) I have no problem with what I said because it was correct at the time.”
Proving people wrong has long been part of Brady’s story. Let’s face it, his story wouldn’t be nearly as good without having to overcome adversity and doubt. Frankly, he understands the role the media has to play in sport and he’s working on it.
He plays the game and does it from a strong position. The warning is here now, and it is this. Be careful what you say and be prepared to back it up. Because Tom Brady is not only satisfied with being the most successful quarterback football has ever seen.
Even now he sees everything – and remembers it all.
Martin Rogers is a columnist for FOX Sports and the author of the FOX Sports Insider newsletter. You can sign up for the newsletter here.
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