Ahh, what a glorious time we live in. The NFL is preparing for the final game of the season. An epic clash between the Cincinnati Bengals and the St. Louis Los Angeles Rams. Everyone is preparing for the big Super Bowl parties (COVID not withstanding) – ordering TVs, getting invite lists prepared, making grocery lists, etc. People are getting hyped for the halftime show and all of the commercials.
This is all well and good, but as the world gets lost in the Super Bowl frenzy, I can think of only one thing in this moment. NO MORE TOM BRADY. I have long heard Patriot and Brady superfans spew this nonsense that we will all miss Thomas Edward Patrick Brady when he is gone. To that I say a tremendous, NO!
Over here in Bradyhaterville, we are all smiles. Copious amounts of bottles have been popped, many tears of joys have been shed and many fond memories have begun to flood our minds. While everyone remembers the best of Brady, we here are fondly remembering the best moments for all of us that have spent the last two decades wishing for the end of his reign of terror.
With that, these are the top 10 moments of Tom Brady’s career, as told by a self-proclaimed hater.
10. The ACL Injury (Week 1 2008 vs Chiefs)
Ok, let’s get this one out of the way early. I know we are not supposed to celebrate injuries – and, were this 2008 I would agree with you. However, with 14 years of hindsight and 13 more seasons of Brady, I think we can let this one slide. Do I feel a little dirty including this on the list? Yes. Do I care? Honestly, I’m on the fence so that’s why we throw this out at number 10.
9. The 12 Losses to Miami
Imagine being the big brother in your division for basically the entire run of your career. Imagine winning division title after division title, Super Bowl after Super Bowl. Then imagine having to look back over your career and realize that the one team you lost to the most, was the Miami Dolphins. I mean, that must hurt. Think about the absolute crapshoot that Miami has been over the past two decades. I’ll wait. Just look at some of the coaches alone – Dave Wansttedt, Joe Philbin, Tony Sparano, Adam Gase, the Nick Saban experience. That is before we think of the Ricky Williams years, the Richie Incognito drama and the most recent Brian Flores chaos. Did anyone think that at the end of Brady’s career that the MIAMI DOLPHINS would hold the most wins over the alleged “GOAT”? We love Miami for it as much as he must hate them. Let’s not even talk about how ironic it is that the number of losses to Miami is the same as his jersey number. That’s just *chef’s kiss*.
P.S. Dolphin fans, don’t come for me, I love y’all. I have multiple family members and friends that are longstanding card-carrying members of your bandwagon. Seriously, I love y’all.
8. The Miami Miracle (2018 Week 14 vs Dolphins)
I hope I don’t piss off the Miami fans again. Look, this is as about as high as this play can go for a number of reasons. First, the Pats still won the Super Bowl after this season. Second, this is not a Super Bowl nor even a playoff game. All that being said, this was one hell of an L for Brady and the Pats. The Dolphins, who were coming to the end of the Adam Gase era, had no business winning this game – as evidenced by the fact that they lost their three remaining games after this one. In fact, this was Gase’s last win as Fins head coach.
This was a miracle among miracles. For perspective, it was the first walk-off game-winning touchdown in NFL history to involve multiple lateral passes. More importantly, it gave Miami fans the wondrous feeling of knowing that they kept Brady and the Pats from getting a first round bye in the playoffs. Sadly, Brady still won the chip that year, so Miami (as usual) still lost.
7. Marlin Jackson INT (2006 AFC Championship vs Colts)
The Patriots Colts rivalry will always be a bit lopsided, as will the Tom Brady Peyton Manning rivalry. When you consider Super Bowl appearances and wins, passing records, and everything in between, inevitably Brady will stand above Manning historically. But there will always be that one time. You know the one I mean.
By the time we got to the 2006 AFC Championship, Brady and the Pats were already entering Dynasty Mode. They had won three Super Bowls in four years. It was quickly becoming a joke to even call what Manning and Brady had a rivalry. In some ways, that is what makes this game even better.
Manning and the Colts had completely wet the bed and went down 21-3 into the second quarter of the 2006 AFC Championship. In most instances in this rivalry, this would have been game over. However, Manning pulled a Brady and led a furious comeback. This was capped off by a late game INT by Marlin Jackson of Brady.
It felt like the whole world reveled in this loss. It was cathartic for Manning as it led to the first of his two Super Bowl wins and it was cathartic for Brady and Patriot haters who were just fully coming into their own.
6. The Mario Manningham Catch (Super Bowl XLVI vs Giants)
There is a more famous catch, and a more famous Super Bowl that many people will think of, but we will get to that later. This, however, has to make the list. As if the first Pats loss to Eli Manning and the Giants wasn’t bad enough, two years later, lightning struck again. The Helmet Catch will always outrank this one, but taking a second L to the lesser Manning does equate to quite the gut punch. Thus, Eli Manning will forever live in our hearts for denying Brady not one, but two chips.
As a random aside, it does also bring up the issue that Brady seems to have had with getting over the NFC East hump in the Super Bowl. 4 Super Bowls vs NFC East teams, Brady was 1-3. Had Donovan McNabb not blown chunks, Brady would’ve had a goose egg vs the NFC East, alas, here we are.
5. 42 seconds (Divisional Playoffs 2022 vs Rams)
This game was everything that we have come to expect from Brady, especially in the latter years of his career. His team digs a hole that would be inescapable for almost anyone else. A furious comeback ensues and Brady stands tall at the end, marching towards another Super Bowl.
Staring down the barrel of a third quarter 27-3 deficit, all hope seemed lost for Brady and his Bucs. Despite the fact that this was one point easier than the 28-3 deficit Brady and the Pats faced in the Super Bowl just a few years earlier, there were some among us who thought that Brady was beyond pulling miracles out of a mess. Sorry Javon.
Random aside, I still don’t get how this man was confidently saying that a team with Matthew Stafford at QB was incapable of blowing a big lead. Was he right about the Rams defense? Mostly. But what does that matter when the offense commits 4 fumbles. I remain confused about his confidence. Rant over.
So Stafford and the Rams get the most epic case of the fumbles known to man and start handing Brady the comeback on a silver platter. Despite the Rams defense’s efforts, which included multiple fourth down stops, Brady and the Bucs kept coming. And there it was, game tied. 42 seconds left. Rams with the ball. First down play, Stafford runs a draw and almost coughs up the ball.
Kudos to Sean McVay for kicking conservatism to the side and going for the W. He knew what I knew and what Javon should have known, you don’t give Brady a chance. You don’t play to OT and see what happens. YOU TAKE THE ******* SHOT. Better yet, you double tap. So the Rams go to Cooper Kupp on 2nd and 11. They get the first down and out of bounds. On the very next play, Stafford rifles one down the field to Kupp who snags it and sets up the game winning field goal.
This was the last game of Brady’s career. How happy we were that the magic was just not enough this time.
Editor’s Note: if you are wondering why this isn’t higher on the list – first, the Rams should never have let them back in the game; second, Brady did everything that he could to make magic happen, you can’t really fault him for the last 42 seconds; third, the Bucs were a temporary fling for Brady to just prove that he could get a ring without Bill, there is only so much weight you can give to it.
One more thing. I was on the phone with my sister asking her something about primary school applications for my daughter when the bomb to Cooper Kupp happened. I started jumping up and down in my living room like a maniac to the point where my wife had to remind me that I was on the phone. In that moment, Brady was done and that was all that mattered.
4. Pick-Six (2019 Divisional Playoffs vs Titans)
I remember this game very well. This was an ugly game for the most part. Not so much for a lack of scoring, although this was obviously not a barn burner, but moreso because the Patriots were showing cracks in what was once perceived as an impenetrable armor. It’s rare for Brady, Belichick and the Patriots to play on wild card weekend. It is even rare still for them to lose a wild card game at home.
On this day rarity was the order of the day. Derrick Henry rushed for 182 yards, the most ever against a Belichick led Patriots team in the playoffs. Brady scored a grand total of ZERO touchdowns. Yet, with 15 seconds on the clock and the ball in his hand with a 1-point deficit, anything was possible – until it wasn’t.
I remember Brady skirting the back of the end zone looking for someone to pass to. I remember Logan Ryan snatching that ball out of the foggy New England sky and happily prancing into the end zone to slam the door shut on Brady’s career in New England.
It was in a word…
We all knew that Brady’s contract was at an end. We all knew that this meant that his career was possibly over (we were wrong). We all knew that this almost certainly his last play as a Patriot.
The end of Brady’s run in New England was nothing short of poetic. Consider the following:
He lost AT HOME on the FIRST weekend of the playoffs. On a Saturday no less.
He lost by his own hand. No touchdowns and a game-ending pick-six.
He threw that pick-six to a former teammate in Logan Ryan.
He lost that game to a team coached by a former teammate in Mike Vrabel.
I am sure that when Brady considered what his last game and play as a Patriot would look like, it was not this.
3. Philly Special (Super Bowl LII vs Eagles)
Oh, we’re in the endgame now.
These next three moments are by and large, interchangeable in my mind because they give me equal feelings of joy. Let’s start with the most unlikely of the three.
Imagine if I told you that Tom Brady played both the Giants and Eagles twice in the Super Bowl.
Now imagine I told you that Brady lost three of those four matchups. We good so far?
Now, imagine that I told you that those Giants and Eagles teams were led by the following QBs: Eli Manning (x2), Donovan McNabb and Nick Foles.
If you had to guess, who do you think was the one guy that Brady would have definitely beaten, almost hands down…
I rest my case.
Tom Brady, arguably the greatest of all time, lost to a team led by a backup QB who was definitely a journeyman backup QB with no real accomplishments to his name. And the best part, Nick Foles did what Tom Brady couldn’t. See for yourself…
2. The Helmet Catch (Super Bowl XLII)
Eli Manning was in a scrum of humanity and most Patriot fans will decry that he should have been called down for being in the grasp.
David Tyree was unable to run his intended route due to being jammed at the line of scrimmage by Ellis Hobbs.
Somehow that is the starting point of what some have dubbed the greatest play in Super Bowl history.
I remember exactly where I was when this happened. My brother was living in an apartment out east. Two-story place, two bedrooms. He and I were watching this game as avid, card-carrying members of the Brady Haters Club (BHC).
I remember pitching up out of my chair as Eli slid out of the grasp of the New England defender and set his feet to throw. I remember jumping up and down as David Tyree made the most impossible catch that I had ever seen.
I remember saying to myself in that moment, the perfect season was about to be demolished.
As Brady haters, we watched every game towards the end of that season praying for Brady to fall. The Ravens game was particularly intense and only helped to build the legend that they might be Brady’s kryptonite.
The game was over for me after this catch. The touchdown to Plaxico Burress and everything else that followed The Helmet Catch was irrelevant. In that moment it became clear that God himself had reached out of the sky and helped hold the football against Tyree’s helmet until he could secure it with his other hand. And if God had done that, then surely it was to one end and one end only… imperfection.
18-1. We will always remember, 18-1.
1. Tom Brady Retires (1 Feb 2022)
The day we, the members of the BHC, have been waiting for for years has finally arrived. After toying with the media and the fans for a few days after news of his retirement decision leaked, Tom Brady finally announced (officially) that he was retiring from football.
Sadly, this does not undo everything that he accomplished in his career. We will still have to reckon with Brady stans for the rest of our lives as football and sports fans.
We will still have to hear the tales of 28-3, and the Tuck Rule game, and the late game drives in the Super Bowl…
And we will suffer it to be so, because Tom Brady, NFL Quarterback is no more. Winter has come and now winter is over. Hope springs eternal. We can look to the present and immediate future of the NFL being led by Mahomes, Burrow, Allen, Herbert, Jackson, and a slew of young and young veteran QBs – and that’s just the AFC.