Again, the AFC Championship Game features Tom Brady and his New England Patriots. Walking around as a fan of the New York Jets has never been tougher.
By Robby Sabo
He makes me sick.
As Tom Brady courageously leaped into the corner of the endzone for an almost touchdown during the New England Patriots 27-20 victory over the hot Kansas City Chiefs in Saturday’s AFC Divisional Round matchup, two very distinct thoughts ran through my head.
One was the obvious fact that I could beat the four-time Super Bowl champion in a footrace. I mean come on, this guy runs slower than my Grandma Florence.
The second and more important thought was the idea of how frequently Tom Brady has ruined the enjoyment of my NFL-loving ways.
For nearly a decade and a half this guy has destroyed my soul. And what’s worse is he won’t go away.
At 38-years of age, the man keeps on impressing. The good looks; the Hall of Fame stats; the rings to prove he’s a winner; Giselle – screw this guy.
Why was I born a fan of the New York Jets?
Why did Bill Belichick go to New England (and stay in the AFC East) after holding the title of head coach of the Jets for a full 24-hours?
Why was it the Pats who drafted the quarterback out of Michigan who couldn’t even beat out Drew Henson?
These are the questions Jets fans have continually asked themselves over the course of 16 long NFL seasons. Week after week, year after year, the fan of Green has had to deal with competing for second place in a division instead of once in a blue moon snagging home-field advantage in the playoffs.
It would be nice to be magically dropped into the NFC East or AFC South for a season.
But alas, that’s not the real world. That’s only fantasy talk.
As we watch our NFL football during another January, we get prepared for yet another Championship Sunday with Brady and the Pats involved. This is the 10th such appearance for the duo of Brady-Belichick. That’s right, 10 title game appearances in just 15 seasons.
In an NFL world crazy in parity and balance, that couldn’t be real, could it? How could such a franchise, any franchise, find their way to 10 AFC Championship Games in just 15 seasons?
There’s a salary cap now. Injuries are as plentiful as ever. Coaches hit the road and change cities like it’s a weekend routine.
It’s true, and as Jets fans, nobody knows it’s true more than us.
Jets fans understand one word more than most. This word is jealousy. It’s easy to understand that feeling once realizing your rooting interests are just as intensified in the playoffs when the Patriots are playing. Rooting against Brady and the Pats is just as fierce as wanting the Jets to succeed.
Moreover, not only have we had to witness Brady be thrown around with the greatest players in the history of the NFL, we’ve had to endure two magical New York Giants runs to titles. And one, by the way, was jump-started by a 99-yard Victor Cruz touchdown against our very Jets.
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It’s sickening. I hate Tom Brady.
But wait, last January brought a glimmer of hope to the nation of Tom Brady haters (which of course includes Jets fans). Deflate-Gate ruled the world following the Pats blowout win over the overmatched Andrew Luck led Indianapolis Colts.
This was the second major controversy surrounding the shady Belichick era. Add this one to the long list of shady Patriots ventures: Spygate, Matt Walsh, the destroying of video tapes, Marshall Faulk and the St. Louis Rams suspicions, Doug Flutie’s headset revelation, and so many other controversial aspects to the regime, and the Jet fan’s jealousy started to turn into finger pointing.
“Of course. This explains it all. How else could a team be so dominant in such a league full of parity?”
At last, Brady’s smug attitude and charming smile wouldn’t get him past this controversy in which he and the organization blatantly lied to the league (and the rest of the world). The “deflater” is the nickname of a ball boy becasue he lost weight? Why insult our intelligence like that?
Of course, however, they did get away with it.
The organization was docked draft picks and fined the maximum amount allowed, but Brady skated away free. In the Jets fan’s eyes, it proved just one thing: cheating does pay.
This was also the overall sentiment of every Patriot-hater in the world. The other strong feeling coming into 2015 revolved around enjoying the crashing and burning of such a successful organization.
Not a chance.
Despite losing key cogs such as Darrelle Revis and Shane Vereen in the offseason, and playing one of the easier schedules in the league, New England is back in the AFC Championship Game. As Jets fans we realized this certainty was coming our way once Brady broke the plain of the endzone during one of his famous QB sneaks on Saturday.
We realized the pain would continue once he, Josh McDaniels, and the rest of the Pats sideline started going nuts with passion and excitement.
It was also at that moment that this Jets’ fan came to a conclusion he had long known: Brady is a legend.
Do I think the Pats organization does things in a very shady way that has garnered them unfair advantages? Yes I do. There is no way a team with Ernie Adams as the voice on the other side of Belichick during the games, and a guy who nobody actually knows what he does, can be completely on the up-and-up.
At the same time, no quarterback can continually come through in the clutch, read defenses so efficiently, be so precise in the short to intermediate passing game, and lead by example so flawlessly like Brady can, and not be a true legend of the NFL.
Yes, I sure do hate Tom Brady, and this coming Sunday Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos will quickly become my favorite team.
Still though, the man who could earn his fifth Super Bowl in three weeks needs our respect. Hate him, but respect him.
I understand it’s sickening, but it’s the only way.
Please Manning and the Broncos, win on Sunday so I can enjoy the Super Bowl.