A note to NFL fans: Don't doubt Tampa Bay Buccaneers QB Tom Brady
By Martin Rogers
FOX Sports Columnist
When the GOAT wants to gloat, watch out.
For a while, it looked like Tom Brady was in full-fledged party mode, sipping on avocado tequila and hurling the Lombardi Trophy across open water as part of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ post-Super Bowl revelry.
This week, apparently, the celebrations reached a new phase. It was time for anyone in sports media who had cast doubt on Brady’s ability to collect a seventh ring to duck for cover.
In a one-minute video released on his Twitter and Instagram accounts, Brady took aim, highlighting a collection of slights, comments and criticisms sent his direction throughout the season and even before it.
Anything that indicated a lack of belief that he could take the Bucs to the promised land at age 43 was fair game. The level of petty was at an all-time time. And Brady didn’t care one bit.
There were headlines and quotes from Sports Illustrated, the Boston Globe, the Washington Post, ESPN, the Orlando Sentinel, the Tampa Bay Times and, yep, FOX News — from some points during the season when things weren’t going so smoothly.
There was background sound from sports personalities such as FS1’s Shannon Sharpe and ESPN’s Max Kellerman, and the visuals featured triumphant images of Brady prevailing in the biggest game of all, when his team bested the Kansas City Chiefs 31-9 in Super Bowl LV.
Interspersed throughout, serving as the ultimate proof that Brady can use anything, from anyone, as motivation, were an assortment of remarks from regular Twitter users.
That is how, late Wednesday, James Curtin III, an insurance sales manager from Rochester, New York, and a die-hard Buffalo Bills fan, got a message from an old college buddy. You might want to watch this, he was told, with an accompanying link to the Brady video.
"Oh, no," Curtin thought as he saw the images start to pop up. "Please tell me he didn’t find my Tweet."
Sure enough, Brady – or whoever helped him put together the video – indeed found it. The tweet in question was from July 24, back when there were reservations about whether an NFL season would even be possible. Given everything that happened since, it’s a mini work of comedic art in itself.
"Too old, Tom," Curtin wrote, before adding, ironically: "Boy am I going to have to eat these words in about 6.5 months."
Curtin has no recollection of where he was when he tweeted it and barely remembers doing so, but as soon as the Bucs beat the Chiefs, it resurfaced, prompting a spate of online reminders and messages.
Most of them were good-natured – after all, Curtin essentially called himself out on his own hot take before he’d even finished writing it. He should be ready for a few more responses now after finding his way on to Brady’s radar.
"It’s kind of crazy," Curtin told me via telephone Thursday morning. "I respect Brady, he’s the GOAT, but as a Bills fan, it is part of my job to also love to hate him. I can tell you this, though. It is a lot better to have lost to the Chiefs in the AFC Championship than losing to Brady in the Super Bowl. That would have hurt a lot more."
It is kind of remarkable that with all he has accomplished, Brady is still out there taking names. The intent behind his video was clear. Say what you like, but Brady is listening. As he puts it, he’s collecting receipts and preparing them for future use when the time is right.
That time was this week.
This is all so completely unnecessary yet unapologetically bold that you can’t help but shake your head and smile at it. When someone such as Brady comes out with this, there is nothing you can say. You can’t say it was luck, not when he has won it all seven times. You can’t say anything. A lot of people said Brady couldn’t get it done again at age 43. Yet he did.
"It is natural for an athlete to use negative things said about them to fuel them," Sharpe, who criticized Brady’s play after a two-interception outing in a November loss to the Los Angeles Rams, told "Undisputed." "I have no problem with Tom using me for fuel. [And] I have no problem with what I said because at the time, it was correct."
Proving people wrong has long been part of the Brady narrative. Let’s face it: His story wouldn’t be anywhere near as good without his having to overcome adversity and doubt. Truth be told, he understands the role the media has to play in sports, and he’s working it.
He’s playing the game, and he’s doing it from a position of strength. The warning is out there now, and it’s this: Careful what you say – and be prepared to back it up.
Tom Brady isn’t content with just being the most successful quarterback football has ever seen.
Even now, he sees everything — and remembers it all.
Martin Rogers is a columnist for FOX Sports and the author of the FOX Sports Insider newsletter. You can subscribe to the newsletter here.