It’s easy to root against Tom Brady. Few NFL players have cultivated a more insufferable persona over the last 20 years, consistently pointing to the chip on his shoulder despite racking up a series of Super Bowl wins, lucrative endorsement deals, and glossy documentary features on ESPN. So it’s particularly satisfying to see Brady frustrated in a loss, which has happened often in recent years when his Tampa Bay Buccaneers and their bandwagon full of fans have left games disappointed after being stomped by the New Orleans Saints.
After throwing an interception to Saints defensive back C.J. Gardner-Johnson late in the game, Brady jogged to the Saints sideline and shouted at defensive coordinator/interim head coach Dennis Allen. In a video clip from the NBC broadcast widely shared on social media, Brady pretty clearly appeared to say, “Go [expletive] yourself,” as Allen clapped at his approach.
Maybe more experienced lip-readers came away with a different message. When asked about what he said in the encounter postgame, Brady wilted and replied, “Nothing. Just football.”
Entertaining as it may be, it’s really sad that Brady handles adversity this poorly. He’s been to the mountaintop more often than anyone else in the NFL, winning more championships and breaking more records than all of his peers. And he still isn’t satisfied with his success or able to take a setback on the chin. In meltdowns like this or his temper tantrum on the Tampa Bay sideline, lashing out and trashing team equipment, he looks more like a toddler than a 44-year-old multimillionaire. It’s a terrible example from someone with his platform and with so many young fans watching.
And let’s not act like there isn’t a double standard here. Many other players have been penalized and fined for taunting on lesser offenses than this. If the NFL is going to have stupid taunting penalties the least they could do is be consistent in calling them. What more does Brady need to do to be held accountable?
Whatever the case, the Saints left Tampa Bay with a lot to be happy about. They frustrated Brady and his vaunted offense at every turn and now they’ve swept him twice in two years — something that never happened during his decades in the AFC East. Maybe Brady can learn to lose more gracefully in more matchups with New Orleans.