By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) -- Tom Brady brings out the worst in people. It's undeniable. Whether Tom Brady does something good or bad or in between, everyone tends to lose their minds. It's wild.
That phenomenon has cooled somewhat after Brady left the lightning-rod Patriots and joined the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, a team that very few people really care about. But it came raging back to the forefront this week when a sad Tom Brady departed the field on Monday night without shaking Jared Goff's hand. Poor Jared Goff was left standing at midfield, looking around like a lost baby giraffe.
Anyways. Brady not giving a "good game/good luck" fist bump to Goff inspired reactions from all corners. Shannon Sharpe got mad on Twitter (and possibly on TV; I honestly would never know). Kyle Brandt delivered an impassioned speech on NFL Network. Fox News posted a story on its website (Fox News, THANK YOU). A sports reporter in Raleigh bemoaned the fact that nobody says anything when Brady does something like this, despite the world throwing a fit for the third time in three years on the topic (odd take). Another sports writer did the same "if any other QB did this, it would be a big deal" routine, seemingly unaware that this was indeed a Big Deal™.
You get the idea. People are up in arms. They're mad at Tom. He's setting a bad example for their children (who were definitely wide awake at 11:30 p.m. ET when Brady skedaddled for the locker room). And won't somebody please think of the children?!
Fair? Foul? Let's briefly but thoroughly examine the three instances in which Brady has been accused of being a sore sport, a bad loser, a big ol' fat baby, shall we?
Incident No. 1: Super Bowl 52
Tom Brady became the first 40-year-old MVP in NFL history in 2017. Then he went out and set a Super Bowl record with 505 passing yards. Pretty good!
Alas, Brady's Hail Mary at the end of the fourth quarter fell incomplete, and the Patriots lost the football game to the Philadelphia Eagles. (Why didn't Malcolm Butler play, though? Is anyone talking about that?)
Anyhoo, do you know what happens when a Super Bowl ends? Mayhem happens. Absolute mayhem. Hundreds of security people, a hundred football players, dozens of photographers and videographers, stage builders, and various other folks rush the field. Glitter falls from the sky. Fireworks explode. The noise is deafening. It's an absolute sea of humanity and chaos.
Watch the view from the stands:
Brady was lying on his keister near midfield when that game ended. He was pretty sad, probably. But he popped up and shook hands with any Eagles were around him, and then he made his way to the locker room.
No, he didn't shake hands with Nick Foles, because the game ended on the final play and finding Nick Foles would have been rather difficult for the losing QB. When Super Bowls don't end on the final play, the QB handshakes are easier to facilitate. When it's a last-second Hail Mary followed by an eruption of anarchy? Different story.
OFFICIAL VERDICT ON FOLES: Brady's off the hook for that one. Come on, people. Be better than The Gap.
Incident No. 2: Nick Foles, Part Deux
Brady seemingly squashed any issues with Nick Foles by chatting him up after a preseason game in 2018. He even gave him a hug!!
Alas, a Brady snub was in Foles' future yet again, as TB12 trotted off the field in Chicago last month.
Man. That one's even sadder. Foles was clearly looking for ol' Tommy Boy. Just walking around like a kid who went to Marshall's with his mom and got lost in an overwhelming sea of knits. Someone help that man!
This snub, however, did have some context. You see, Tom Brady is the greatest quarterback of all time. His obsession with winning is legitimately unhealthy. And just before this snub, Brady had endured the single most embarrassing moment of his Hall of Fame career.
He forgot what down it was!
It was unbelievable. The greatest winner in history, the world's most clutch athlete, the man who remained cooler than cool in all situations -- he was blissfully unaware that it was fourth down as he threw his final incompletion of the night.
Now, should Brady have overcome this shame and taken 10 seconds to give a fist bump to that lost soul at midfield? Absolutely. He should have. But as regular folk, we also can't fully comprehend what it's like to have that level of greatness while beefing something do badly. It's somewhat reminiscent of when everybody would criticize Tiger Woods for bad and/or vulgar reactions after errant tee shots. Gee whiz, Tiger, I don't curse like that when I hit a bad drive. Yeah, Biff. You also suck at golf. So keep it to yourself.
Bottom line: Brady should have sucked it up for a few seconds and been a good sport, no doubt. But it's not as if that snub came under normal circumstances.
OFFICIAL VERDICT ON FOLES, PART DEUX: Not great, Tom. But we understand the shame.
Incident No. 3: Jared Goff
All of which brings us to this week. Brady. Goff. A Super Bowl LIII rematch. Jared Goff was pretty bad in that Super Bowl, throwing a back-breaking interception to essentially kill the Rams' chances of winning. Yet he took the time to give Brady a big old hug after what was obviously a very low moment in his young career:
That's nice. That was, though, an easy find for Goff, as the game ended with a Tom Brady kneeldown in the middle of the football field.
Fast-forward to this week. Brady threw two of the worst interceptions of his life, and he was no doubt steamed. Rip-roaring miffed. Grumpy. (He was up way past his bedtime, after all.) Even some 30-40 minutes after the game, when Brady spoke to the media via video conference, he seemed to be quite pissed. That is, obviously, related to his unhealthy need to win sports games.
Still, this one's hard to excuse. Brady's final interception came right after the two-minute warning. He had several minutes of real time to get himself in check. The Rams ran three plays. Two timeouts were called. A punt drained the final seconds off the clock.
That should have been enough time for Brady to gather himself. It was an ugly performance, yes, but it wasn't quite as devastatingly embarrassing as the fourth down fiasco in Chicago. Jogging to midfield and saying "good game" to Goff wouldn't have killed him.
OFFICIAL VERDICT ON GOFF SNUB: The criticism is warranted. He earned this one. MATT DAMON, SHAME ON YOU!
So, there you have it. People are mad about this one, and rightfully so. Good for them. They are of course overreacting and blowing it out of proportion, because it's Tom Brady. But the root of that scorn is for sure valid.
Yet is being a sore loser really a defining trait of Tom Brady? No. Not really.
The guy shakes a lot of hands. I could probably post a few dozen more pictures that are readily available, but it was getting kind of weird, if we're being frank with one another.
You play in the league for 50 years, you make some regrettable missteps. It happens.
Hopefully everyone is OK after this egregious, treacherous, horrific display from Tom Brady. Hopefully.
(Home team in CAPS; Wednesday lines)
Maybe my overall tone is sympathetic to Brady because I, too, have been losing in embarrassing fashion lately. It's bad. Really bad. Unbelievably bad.
From Weeks 1-8, I was 58-44-3.
From Weeks 9-11, I've gone 16-40-0.
Anyways. The picks are bad. So I'll keep my thoughts to myself and just throw them up here on the internet in the off chance that I get some right and get this record back to a respectable number.
In the meantime, no, I will not shake your hand.
Houston (-3) over DETROIT
Washington (+3) over DALLAS
PITTSBURGH (-4) over Baltimore
OK I must break my vow of silence to say that it's absolutely insane that the NFL is holding this game on Thanksgiving night. Yes, obviously, I want to watch the TV show. But the Ravens have 10 positive COVID cases. And they're scheduled to play next Thursday, so any further spread will impact them not just this week but next week as well. I shouldn't be surprised anymore, but the NFL pushing this game forward despite dire circumstances in Baltimore is insane. OK, back to shutting up.
UPDATE: The NFL postponed this game not long after this story went live. Am I solely responsible for the NFL finally realizing how insane it was being? WHO CAN SAY FOR SURE?
Las Vegas (-3) over ATLANTA
BUFFALO (-5.5) over L.A. Chargers
New York Giants (-5.5) over CINCINNATI
Tennessee (+3) over INDIANAPOLIS
Carolina (+4.5) over MINNESOTA
NEW ENGLAND (+2.5) over Arizona
Miami (-7) over NEW YORK JETS
Cleveland (-6.5) over JACKSONVILLE
New Orleans (-6) over DENVER
San Francisco (+6.5) over L.A. Rams
TAMPA BAY (+3.5) over Kansas City
GREEN BAY (-8.5) over Chicago
Seattle (-5) over PHILADELPHIA
Last week: 3-11
From one loser to you: Happy Thanksgiving, everybody.
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