Tom Brady didn’t come into the 2012 Super Bowl as an all conquering quarterback, heading an attack that destroyed everything and everyone. The New England Patriots came in as a vulnerable team, and lost to the New York Giants by poor execution, and simple physics relating momentum of a team entering the postseason red hot.
It’s hard to feel sorry for a player who has MVP awards and three Super Bowl titles. It’s hard to feel sympathetic towards a team with Bill Belichick as their head coach, unlikable as always, with the cheater brand always above his head. And yet, the Patriots getting bullied by the Giants, like everyone got during December and January, Brady emerged as a likable person, or figure.
Maybe it was a post game picture, of Gisele and Brady. Something about the fragility of the moment, and of a hall of fame (in the future) quarterback, who did pretty well in the game, did pretty amazing during the regular season, but missed out on a fourth ring because receivers dropped passes. Wes Welker, with one huge drop, more than all.
There was something about the way Brady played this season that made you root for him, or at least more than usual. He wasn’t outright better than Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers, but he was right up there with both of them. He didn’t have an impeccable defense to back him up, no pro bowl type running back or superstar no.1 type receivers.
The game against the Baltimore Ravens was probably the warning sign. Brady did badly, but the Patriots won the AFC thanks to terrible game management by Harbaugh. The Super Bowl against the Giants was within grasp, but Brady, who needed to be MVP like, was just good, not enough. His numbers were very similar to the Super Bowl night from four years ago – 276 yards, two touchdowns and one interceptions, just over 60% completions.
For neutrals, it’s hard to back arrogant, near perfect teams. The Patriots were just that for a big part of the 00’s. They no longer are, and despite Bill Belichick, despite Brady being a golden boy and having one of the world’s most famous models at his side, it’s OK to feel bad for the guy.