I begin this column by making a statement I never thought I would make.
I am pulling for Tom Brady this weekend in the Super Bowl.
Specifically, I am rooting for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to beat the Kansas City Chiefs. But it just so happens that Brady is the quarterback for the Bucs, so I am rooting for Brady too.
What, you say?
How in the world could I pull for Brady?
Simple: He plays for one of my favorite teams.
Anyone who knows me knows I am a Philadelphia Eagles fan first and foremost. To put it bluntly, the Eagles were a dumpster fire this year.
But my second-favorite team is the Buccaneers, and when Brady opted to sign with them in the offseason after 20 years with the New England Patriots, I admit I was excited and skeptical at the same time.
In fact, 19 games later, it’s still strange to see him in anything but a Patriots jersey.
My allegiances almost all of the time are to the teams, which is why I do not have a lot of individual pro athletes’ jerseys in my closet.
With the exception of all of my Tony Gwynn shirts and jerseys and a Fernando Tatis Jr. shirt I bought this past fall, all but one of the rest of my pro and college sports shirts/sweatshirts are of the team variety.
It’s not that I don’t support the athletes; it’s just that many of them change teams so often. Interestingly enough, two athletes who have not been that way are Gwynn, who spent his entire 20-year career with my favorite baseball team – the San Diego Padres – and, well, Brady.
I wasn’t overly enthused when Brady decided to sign with Tampa Bay. Shocked was more like it.
But after some thought, I reasoned that he was just what the Bucs needed – a leader, someone who could put them over the top.
I mean, just look at what Brady has done since he arrived in Florida. The Bucs went 11-5 in the regular season and defeated three straight playoff teams on the road (The Washington Football Team, New Orleans and Green Bay) to reach this year’s Super Bowl.
It hasn’t always been smooth. He and his teammates had very little offseason and no preseason games to get used to each other. At one point, they were 7-5, and I believe that was after their second embarrassing loss to the Saints.
They haven’t lost since.
I am a prime example of someone who can’t stand some athletes when they play against my favorite teams (though I do respect their talent and abilities), but I am all-in when they join my team.
You think I liked Steve Garvey when he played for the Los Angeles Dodgers, being they are a Padres’ rival? That would be an emphatic “no.” He joined the Padres and helped them reach the World Series. I was his fan then.
It’s the same way now.
I want the Bucs to win, therefore I want Brady to win.
But full disclosure: I admire Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs and am impressed with what they (and head coach Andy Reid) have accomplished.
However, this year, they are in our way.
Jim Green is Interim Editor for The Enterprise. He can be reached at email@example.com.