After news of Tom Brady’s season-ending injury hit, the most common reaction I heard was a sense of glee at any of a number of things – Brady finally getting his just deserts, Brady finally being exposed as a sham if the Patriots win without him, Matt Cassel finally getting to throw a pass – but I still don’t understand why Brady’s hated so much.
Unlike Peyton Manning, he doesn’t choke in big games. Unlike Eli Manning, the defining moment of his career wasn’t throwing a tantrum of draft day (and yes, that’s still his biggest contribution to football history, the Super Bowl ring be damned). He wasn’t a big-name draft pick who spent years struggling. There’s a bit of tarnish from Bridget Moynihan’s pregnancy – although from all accounts he handled it as well as he could – but not nearly enough to justify the level of hate he receives.
The psychology of sports hate is always fascinating; Kobe Bryant is nowhere near as hated as he was a few years back despite, in my opinion, being more hateable than ever. The Ohio State Buckeyes are largely despised despite always losing the big games, which probably comes from the admitted fact that the difference between a pack of OSU fans and a pack of pitbulls is that Sarah Palin would never root for the Buckeyes. Alex Rodriguez is despised, even though he’s on net a giant money sink for the most hated team in baseball.
Why is Tom Brady so hated? Or is it just overstated in light of the fact that haters always come out to celebrate when someone goes down for the season? Is it because he’s pretty? And if so, how does that bode for me when I go down to carpal tunnel next blogging season?