February 3, 2004  
Volume 97, Issue 68  

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Tom Brady: American Hero?

By Ian Van Den Hurk
Gazette Staff

Gazette file photo
HI THERE. I’M TOM BRADY. Brady, who also used to throw it around with Britney Spears, quarterbacked the New England Patriots to victory over the Carolina Panthers in Superbowl XXXVIII.

New England Patriots’ quarterback Tom Brady has been called many things during his short and illustrious career.

One of my roommates can be found riding the Patriots bandwagon around our living room every Sunday, dubbing Brady as “America’s Greatest Hero.”

Since he crammed Brady in with other legends such as Johnny Appleseed and Paul Bunyan, I thought I’d evaluate Brady and see if he really qualifies for such a prominent title.

As you’ll recall, Brady was a nobody at the beginning of the 2000 NFL season. A few months later, though, the former sixth-round draft pick ascended through the ranks of professional football to super stardom.

In Super Bowl XXXVI, Brady stole the show and Super Bowl Most Valuable Player from Kurt Warner and the Rams. From that season on, his legend grew.

At the tender age of 26, Brady’s conquests already include two Super Bowls, American Pie sex enthusiast Tara Reid and “the Donald’s” daughter, Ivanka Trump. OK, I admit the last two weren’t exactly football-related, but there’s no getting around the fact that Tom’s dashing good looks — www.women.com voted Brady as one of the “12 Sexiest Guys in Sports” and are on record as saying, “the ladies all agree he makes a dreamy Prince Charming and does it get any sexier than that cleft in his chin?” — I cannot possibly argue with such a vote of confidence.

Brady doesn’t stop with slaying the ladies, however. He’s also been an MVP slayer. Warner was coming off his second MVP award in three years when Brady took him to the cleaners in Super Bowl XXXVI. Brady also dropped 2003 co-MVP’s Steve McNair and Peyton Manning like a sack of cement on his run to this year’s Super Bowl.

Oddly, however, Brady was not even elected to the Pro Bowl, the NFL’s version of the all-star game. While many of his statistics don’t measure up to other “elite” quarterbacks, it’s the intangibles that make the man.

Despite having no supporting cast on offense and a group of elfish wide receivers whom he must sneak into R-rated movies and onto roller coasters (the Pats frequent Disneyland a lot since Brady keeps winning Super Bowl MVP), Brady has put up the most astonishing numbers of all: 6-0 all-time in the playoffs, two Super Bowl championships and two Super Bowl MVP awards.

Plain and simple, Brady is the most clutch quarterback in the NFL today — he just finds a way to win.

Now that I think about it, maybe my roommate was right. Is there anything Brady can’t do? Hell, he even punted once against the Dolphins this year… to the one yard line! Most punters in the league can’t do that and it’s their only job.

But, if Brady is going to claim the title of “America’s Greatest” he needs to be more than a great athlete and ladies man. He needs to be involved off the field. Coincidentally, Brady could be found showing his support at last week’s State of the Union address. “I was there as a Patriot, literally and figuratively” Brady said.

Brady tossed three touchdown passes on Sunday, but as usual, numbers don’t tell the full story. After an uncharacteristic mistake by Brady, who heaved a wild pass on third down in the Panthers end zone that was intercepted, Brady rebounded like all the greats. The gunslinger responded to the turnover by leading New England to 10 points on its next two drives and set up Adam Vinatieri’s game-winning field goal with just four seconds left.

OK, so now it’s time for the moment of truth: a decision has to be made. Brady is a superstar athlete. He’s a favourite with the opposite sex. He’s a natural born leader. He owns two Super Bowl rings. And he doesn’t seem to mind playing politics either.
Is there anything he can’t do? Well, he can’t stop winning; I know that much is true. But is Tom Brady really America’s greatest hero?

Let’s put it this way. If my roommate will slow down that bandwagon just a bit, I’ll jump on faster than old Paul Bunyan could drop a tree.



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