There really is no middle ground when it comes to Tom Brady. The five-time Super Bowl champion will be in his favorite place — in the spotlight once again — when the Patriots and Eagles clash in Super Bowl LII.
Ironically, many of the same reasons so many can't stand Brady are the reasons why so many others can't get enough of him. Metro Philly's Evan Macy laid out his reasons for hate, while Metro Boston's Matt Burke put a New England spin on things. Here are the 12 things to love and hate about Brady:
1. He plays for the Patriots
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Evan Macy (sports editor, Metro Philadelphia): They are the modern evil empire. Every time I think about them Darth Vader's theme song plays in my head. Having good teams is good for a sport. Having great teams is better. Having a dynasty is rare and seeing one team win all the time gets old. It's like capitalism — we want people to get rich, but not diabolically rich. The Pats are diabolically rich.
We know what happens next week. Brady overcomes a slow start by his defense by marching the Patriots down the field with a little time left and wins by a slim margin. He makes a no-name player (maybe Chris Hogan this year) into a Boston hero and wins MVP. Blah Blah lets hear a new tune.
Matt Burke (sports editor, Metro Boston): The Patriots are the greatest dynasty of our sports lifetimes in this country as the NFL is not built for sustained success. It's been 16 years since their first title. It's time for the rest of the country to embrace the Pats' greatest, much like the country eventually and collectively threw up their hands toward the end of Michael Jordan's career and said, "OK, fine. They're the best ever. Gotta enjoy this while it lasts."
2. He is super smug
EM: Did you see Brady after he hurt his hand last week talk to the media? How about a little respect? That's not exactly brevity. Just because you are really good at football you're allowed to give gigglingly-short answers to important questions?
MB: The Pats just can't win with you people. Belichick is hated because he's a prick to everyone in the media and only smiles once every third Blue Moon. Brady, meanwhile, is vilified for treating everyone - the media, his opponents - with the utmost respect … all with a smile on his face.
3. He is too good looking to be good at football
EM: It's not enough that he has millions of dollars, a super model for a wife and striking good looks — he has to be the best quarterback of all time too?
MB: This is true. When Jimmy Garoppolo was still here it looked like a damned Hollister photo shoot every day in Foxborough.
4. He won't come clean
EM: All I know is that the requested text messages during the NFL's investigation of Deflategate were deleted right after Brady was asked for them. For a man looking to clear his name, that's exactly the opposite action you'd expect. Were he legally subpoenaed and acted this way, he'd be in jail for obstruction of justice. Trying to get an edge is one thing. Cheating is another.
MB: Brady is married to the most famous supermodel in the world. Gotta think he has one or two inappropriate pics of Gisele on his phone. There were leaks all over the place with NFL execs at this time … why would Brady trust Roger Freakin' Goodell with his phone?
As for the actual alleged "cheating," I can sum up both Pats scandals in Cliff Notes' versions. SpyGate: The whole league was video taping sidelines, the NFL sent a memo to all teams to stop, the Pats were the only team that did not do so. Arrogance, fine. But cheating? Na. After they were "caught," they ripped off 18 wins in a row.
Deflategate: Seventh grade science debunked that one pretty easily.
5. He likes Donald Trump
EM: Brady and the president were friends — just like Patriots' owner Robert Kraft was. A "Make America Great Again" hat was seen in his locker room back during Trump's campaign and that makes me a little uncomfortable.
MB: It's obvious their friendship is over. Brady didn't show up to the White House last spring in the Pats' celebration there, and Trump hasn't mentioned him by name since (including the celebration when he perturbed by Brady snubbing him). Brady went golfing with the guy like three or four times in the mid-2000s, then Trump started acting like they were besties during the election when he wanted to win New Hampshire.
6. He just won't go away
EM: Brady always find a way to come back. If the Eagles have a late lead and Brady has any time — he'll come back. And he's 40. He is freaking 40. The Eagles — fresh off of winning as an underdog against the best defense in the NFL by 31 points — are underdogs to a 40-year-old quarterback. Think about that for a second. Go out on top Tom. Seriously. You have nothing left to prove or play for.
MB: The NFL is at its best when there are all-time QBs always in the mix for a title. I have nostalgia for Dan Marino, Joe Montana and even Brett Favre (who I despised 10 years ago). Fans around the league will miss Brady when he's gone … eventually.