Tom Brady Isn’t Supposed to Be Able to Do This -

Tom Brady Isn’t Supposed to Be Able to Do This

 Tom Brady Isn’t Supposed to Be Able to Do This

“I am very tired of the one football game I watch every year always featuring Tom Brady,” a friend texted me midway through the first quarter of Super Bowl LV. If you are that sort of fan, the one who watches one football game a year, you can be forgiven for thinking this is how the NFL is set up, like every year is just a layup for Tom Brady. After all, most sports are structured this way. The Yankees, Dodgers and Red Sox have the most money in baseball, so those teams are always great; the Lakers and Warriors have superstars like LeBron James and Stephen Curry, so those teams are always great too. If you didn’t know any better, if you were just tired of seeing Tom Brady in the Super Bowl all the time, you’d think the NFL was the same way.

But it isn’t. The NFL is structured specifically so dynasties don’t happen. It has a notoriously draconian salary cap; players’ careers typically only last a few years; and if you happen not to be a Super Bowl contender, you are incentivized to lose as much as possible so that you can get a higher draft pick and start over. Legendary NFL commissioner Pete Rozelle once said his ideal was to crown a different champion every year. Parity is what the NFL was founded on.

That’s why what Tom Brady has done—even if you hate him, especially if you hate him—is so truly remarkable. You’re not supposed to go to the Super Bowl every year; the league is designed to stop you. And yet there is Brady again, over and over, seemingly every year, winning Super Bowls and reliably giving you someone to send your friends grouchy texts about.

Brady won his seventh Super Bowl on Sunday night in a thoroughly dominating 31-9 Buccaneers victory over the Chiefs. It was his 10th Super Bowl appearance; no other quarterback has appeared in more than five; no one has won more than four. And the thing about the quarterbacks who held the marks before Brady (John Elway, five appearances; Joe Montana and Terry Bradshaw, four wins) is that those records felt unbreakable when they had them. Five Super Bowls? One guy? Come on. And now Brady has doubled one and nearly doubled the others. And he’s coming back next year too.

As usual, it wasn’t just Brady who won. The Tampa Bay defense relentlessly attacked Kansas City’s would-be Brady heir Patrick Mahomes all night—it was the best I’ve seen any defense play Mahomes since he entered the league. If Brady were still with the Patriots, it was the sort of thing everyone would have credited his former coach Bill Belichick with. But remember, the Buccaneers had a losing record just last season, before Brady had his much-discussed split with Belichick and headed to Florida. Brady showed up, brought in his meatheaded tight end pal Rob Gronkowski and gave the wayward franchise a clear direction.

It was done in the usual polarizing Brady way; paparazzi caught Brady having stealth workouts with his new teammates back in the spring, when the rest of us were supposed to be on lockdown, and the NFL explicitly banned such gatherings. Amusingly, he was even cited for working out in a public park during lockdown; the mayor “pardoned” him last month. It is a very Tom Brady thing to think that the rules and physical restraints of a global pandemic do not apply to him; this is a guy with shady medical advisors and a side market of absurdly overpriced “supplements” with questionable scientific attributes.

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