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Rick’s Cafe: Why do we hate Tom Brady, but love Big Ben? Trash talking, and the big double standard

Jan 20, 2011, 2:30 PM EDT


I have to admit that I’m kind of biased here: I was one of Tom Brady’s coaches in high school. Freshman basketball, to be exact … which is probably why he ultimately chose football. Back in those days, at Serra High in San Mateo, Calif. (home of Barry Bonds and scorching 75-degree summers), Tommy Brady was known as a friendly, unassuming kid with a big smile and a lot of athletic ability. He didn’t have an enemy in the world, even amongst those he played against. He was like a young Andy Rooney in shoulder pads, dispensing footballs like homespun monologues. Can you imagine someone “hating” Andy Rooney? Sure, I’d like to hire two large Samoan men to hold him down while I mow his eyebrows. But it would be a gentle mowing, filled with love.

Brady is just like Rooney, only with a smaller prostate and a cleaner office. If he were stuffed and made of fabric, you’d find him amongst other toy animals on a preteen girl’s bed. There hasn’t been a less threatening male since Goober Pyle. Tom Brady makes the Jonas Brothers look like the Coen Brothers. So why, then, does the world outside of New England — and San Mateo County — seem to hate him with an intensity usually reserved for Bernie Madoff, or any various Kardashian?

The latest manifestation of this came in the trash talk bonanza that was otherwise known as the AFC Playoffs, as the Jets’ Antonio Cromartie called Brady “an ass****.” From the New York Daily News:

“We see that a lot. He does it a lot,” Cromartie said of Brady pointing at the Jets’ sideline following a touchdown. “That’s the kind of guy he is. We really don’t give a damn, to tell you the truth.”

Okay, what kind of guy is Brady?

“An ass—-.

“—- him.”

Brady denies pointing to any Jet at any time for any reason, and indeed no photo has ever surfaced of him doing so. But this goes beyond the bitterness of those he plays against. There are entire web sites devoted to Brady Hate, such as Brady Hate Nation (NSFW), which features a photo of Brady in a dress. In the site’s “Why Hate?” section, they list two of the reasons as “Endorses Uggs,” and “Makes Justin Bieber look cool.”

As weighty as those reasons may be, compare them to two reasons to hate a certain other playoff quarterback: “Accused of raping a woman in a hotel room” and “Recent sexual assault charge in a restaurant bathroom.”

Yes, where is all the Ben Roethlisberger hate?

There really hasn’t been any.

While Brady is mocked for his hair and his complaining to officials and his TV ads, Big Ben is viewed by his peers and the general public like your cooler older brother. He rides his motorcycle without a helmet, and gets into trouble in bars! He’s like Gary Busey in, well, every Gary Busey film. But mostly Silver Bullet. Rothelisberger is the relative who will build you the cool motorized wheelchair that will go 65 on the back roads … but only after he wakes up at noon amongst a hooker and three empty bottles of Grey Goose.

Just before the Ravens met the Steelers in the playoffs earlier this month, Baltimore’s Terrell Suggs praised Roethlisberger as one of the greatest quarterbacks ever, while saying that Brady’s three Super Bowl victories “were questionable.”

“He’s got the tuck rule incident (in 2001 playoffs against Oakland Raiders) and you got the videotaping of other teams’ practices,” Suggs said. “It’s like “Oh OK what’s going on here?

Of course, Brady wrote the tuck rule himself, and ran the camera in the video controversy. Oh wait, no, apparently he didn’t.

According to my independent research, Brady is also more hated than:

  • Dog Torturer, ex-con and Philadelphia Eagle Michael Vick.
  • Alleged nightclub stabber Ray Lewis.
  • Sexting flip-flopper Brett Favre.
  • Current Graybar Hotel resident Plaxico Burress.

It’s a double standard embraced by both NFL fans and players alike, and most certainly has its roots in the thorny emotion of envy. Brady invokes this each time he flashes (a). His three Super Bowl rings, (b). His good looks, (c). His wife. I imagine that people also hate him for his association with the Patriots and Bill Belichick. After the same team routinely beats you flat with a circus mallet, they’re easy to despise. And as the quarterback, Brady takes the brunt of the vitriol.

It’s kind of unprecedented, though. Joe Montana had Brady’s success — more, really — and the hot wife and all of that. And while he was a target of NFL defenses everywhere, no one really hated him personally. The only near equivalent to Brady hate that I can find is Tim Tebow hate, which has the added religious element. But even that doesn’t quite measure up.

We seem to have entered an era where love for the antihero is the new currency of the realm. Black hats are in, white hats are yesterday’s news. If you can make huge screwups in your life, and then attempt to come back from them, you can enjoy much greater popularity than someone who never screwed up in the first place.

Ricky Gervais has a great bit in his latest HBO special in which he talks about losing weight. He mentions that he’s lost 25 pounds, and the audience applauds. “No!” he says. “Don’t applaud that! You’re praising me for doing something that I should have been doing all along!”

So, enjoy your Brady schadenfreude. And if you’re attending the Jets-Steelers game, make sure your wives and daughters are sitting a few rows back. Ben can get grabby.

Rick’s Cafe Americain appears each Thursday. Contact:

  1. bowney - Jan 20, 2011 at 8:51 PM

    We ny metro area female nfl fans call him rapeberger. The only thing we have against brady is his being a patriot

    • geezohman - Jan 20, 2011 at 10:33 PM

      you ny metro females have a lot to talk about… give Brett a happy ending.. or cruise the sidelines half naked.. you’re just jeoulous you couldn’t get some of Big Bens… at least give him some stinky finger…

      and as far as Brady… arrogant asshole, with his model, does he have a illegimate kid with the last one too?

      Sanchez ARRESTED in college on rape… Ben was not charged, just for the record… NY

  2. ibjonnyc - Jan 20, 2011 at 9:29 PM

    LOL. Idiots still going with the rapeburger crap,even though the guys was never CHARGED with anything, only accused. I could ACCUSE u ny metro area women of being the hottest hotties on earth but that doesn’t make it true.Just because some tart with a fake ID wearing a Down to F*&k t-shirt follows BB to 3 different bars,finally gets him alone in a bathroom,takes a load in the face,then cries rape? What happened? BB didn”t give her his phone number after? U people are pathetic.

    • bigharold - Jan 20, 2011 at 9:46 PM

      If it was all that simple why was he suspended? Why didn’t he fight the suspension?

      Perhaps his actions, like Brett Favre’s, didn’t meet the criteria required to file charges but if you think he was completely innocent than you are pathetic.

      • geezohman - Jan 20, 2011 at 10:37 PM

        why does a bachelor crusing have to be ‘innocent’ of looking for a woman.. meanwhile the girl is underage, had her drivers license confiscated the month before, DT F&^% shirt on… jumping barstool to barstool… Ain’t our fault the hospital rape kit is for ‘between the legs’ instead of the mouth”… play with fire get burnt… goes for both of them… meanwhile.. lets play football and screw the ladies.. lol, ha !

      • bigharold - Jan 20, 2011 at 11:04 PM

        Why don’t you run that idiotic rant past your Mom or your sister? Perhaps Grand Ma would like to get a wiff of how stupid your are?

    • cur68 - Jan 21, 2011 at 12:52 AM

      Its not idiotic to call a rapist a rapist. Its accurate. If you’re so in luv with Raplisberger send your wife over to meet him. Or your sister. Or your daughter. Or any woman you care about that he might fancy. I bet you’d send a guy to jail for harming a dog but give another guy a free pass for harming a child, right? Something wrong with that whole mindset. As for Brady; he seems decent enough. I’ve never heard of him doing anything to anyone that wasn’t within the rules of football. He seems like a largely nice kid who does his job well and has become rich and has a pretty wife. Thus haters, who haven’t the talent to do what he does, or look like him, will hate him. Those aren’t not good reasons to lay that kind of venom on a person. Save that stuff for rapists and murderers or even guys who photograph their junk and send it to pretty girls they aren’t married to. Actually you’d probably give all those guys a pass too, right? As for BR? If he keeps riding bikes without a helmet then he should know that us medical folks call those guys ‘organ donors’. Karma, mo-fo!

  3. bigharold - Jan 20, 2011 at 9:41 PM

    Tom might not have received nearly as much attention had he not went on the radio before this season to proclaim his “hate” of the Jets. Frankly, he was kind of asking for it. Sure Cromartie went too far but Brady opened the door.

    That being said, I’m a 40+ year Jet fan that had season tickets for the Jets back at Shea Stadium and I don’t hate Brady any more than I hated Dan Marino or Jim Kelly in their prime, .. that is I hated that they beat the Jets. Brady might be a bit over rated but he’s still one of the best QBs in the game. He’s likely this years MVP and a future HOFer. He’s capable, like Peyton Manning, of taking over a game and carrying a team. But, also like Manning he’s on the wrong side of 30 and it appears to be showing more on him than Manning. So, it’s getting easier to hate Brady.

    Tom Brady is a QB and pretty damn good one too. He”s got the Golden Boy image that makes thing look effortless. Aside from the FACT that most fans, even hard core NFL types, don’t see all the work he clearly puts in to his game there is something about our culture that at he same time loves and despises Golden Boys. I think it’s because we all want to be one but 99.999% aren’t, even most of the so called Golden Boys. Because he the face of the Pats he takes the heat for a lot. Think about the Pats and you thing Brady and Bill Belichk. Just about nobody else comes to mind. He gets too much credit when the Pats win and too much blame when they lose. But that’s OK because he makes the big bucks to go along with his Super model wife.

    Also, it would have helped if the Pats never got caught cheating and taping other teams practices!. Just kidding, .. sort of.

    J! E! T! S! ,,,, JETS JETS JETS!!!!

  4. anythingbutyanks - Jan 20, 2011 at 11:21 PM

    I don’t think you’ve put the finger on the right spot by citing envy as the reason du jour for Brady-hatred. While the problems of Roth, Vick, Lewis, and many others are certainly grotesque compared to what most of us ever do or face, they have a certain humanizing effect…even multi-million dollar star athletes make mistakes and have to take flak and so forth. Brady, on the other hand, is a multi-million dollar golden-boy with a 10 for a wife, championship rings, and good looks. He is, decidedly, NOT like us. He’s too “perfect”, and certainly not very “human” when it comes to public perception. People hate Brady because he’s not like them- he never screws up, never has to apologize, never has a bad day, etc.

    • anythingbutyanks - Jan 20, 2011 at 11:23 PM

      While I think it may be splitting hairs to some, I think that envy is wanting what Brady has, while I believe most people just don’t want him to have it all and have it look so easy. In other words, it isn’t that we want what he’s got, it’s that we resent him for having it.

  5. 1historian - Jan 21, 2011 at 12:02 AM

    Envy – he has rock star good looks, a beautiful wife, tons of money, he is mega famous, he has three SB rings, and he is a SUCCESS.
    He works his ass off for that success, he is tough enough to play in 9 straight NFL games with a stress fracture.

    I would wager that 98% of the people who hate him so passionately are failures who can’t get a job, the old lady has had a headache for three straight weeks now (and counting) and on and on.

    I’m sure Brady screws up – did you see how he played Sunday? Any excuses? Nope.

    go Steelers!


  6. 1historian - Jan 21, 2011 at 12:07 AM

    Brady got Bridget Moynahan pregnant in the winter of 2006 when the team had a bye. He went to NY and they spent the weekend together, during which time he broke up with her. He didn’t know she was pregnant until a few months later, at which time he acknowledged paternity and paid all the bills relating to the birth. He sees his son as much as he can and is a good father. He has NEVER denied paternity. To compare that with someone like Cromartie who has at least 7 or 8 children most of whom don’t even know who their father is is beyond absurd and introduces a new and sinister definition of the word ‘stretch’.

  7. juggadore - Jan 21, 2011 at 12:52 AM

    you’re way off if you think there’s more hate for Brady than Vick. i’m from the philly area and believe me, there’s a lot of pure unadulterated hatred for that guy. even the way you put it — dog torturer mike vick. thats pure hate right there.

  8. ccvikings75 - Jan 22, 2011 at 9:55 AM

    While your article has merit to it, I think this all boils down to good old fashioned jealousy. I am not a Tom Brady fan…not because of what he has, but because of his being constantly hyped as the greatest. Plus to all of the haters of Ben…stop already with the Rapelisberger comments. He was never charged, arrested, etc…These women are the same all over…they see someone famous and think they will be his/her forever thing. When the reality hits, they accuse. The girl in GA. was underage, had a fake ID and a T-shirt that said all you ned to know about her…why did she not come out of that bathroom screaming and crying and looking for help..?? HHMMM..! Ben is 6’6″..he can’t hide..Just asking….I’ll admit, he made some stupid decisions, but fnd me one person who hasn’t done that.

  9. mdcampbell7 - Jan 22, 2011 at 10:35 AM

    Rick, you could have just left this one at “I’m kind of biased here.” I wasn’t sure that “we” do love Roethlisberger, and I think that your comments section made it clear that most of “we” don’t. Besides, unless you’ve imbibed the kool-aid, those ????s about the super bowl(s) were just…fair.

  10. voodoochili - Jan 23, 2011 at 10:10 AM

    This article is way off the mark. I’m not sure where Rick is getting the idea that Big Ben and Vick are loved. Big Ben was shunned in his own city and sales of Roethlisberger jerseys dried up to almost nothing. The city is warily embracing him again, but most reports say that he has made a serious PR effort to behave and at least act like a normal person. Vick… well, where are these supposed fans? Can you find any serious Michael Vick fansites? Have you been to an Eagles game and talked to his own fans about him? He’s certainly not liked by any opposing fans.

    As to jealousy of the boy-scout image, there’s always a little of that, but it doesn’t explain the disparity in how people feel about Peyton Manning vs. Tom Brady. Manning is a boy scout. He doesn’t trash talk, he doesn’t “allegedly” rape women, he doesn’t fight dogs. He’s a solid, upstanding guy who most people like (except when he’s playing against their team). Sure, there is some jealousy and people who can’t admit he’s a good guy because they hate him ripping apart their favorite teams’ defense, but he’s a pretty well-liked guy across the league and among the fans.

    So, why is Brady hated? It’s not that he’s perfect and a “good guy.” Otherwise, he and Manning would be regarded exactly the same. With Brady, there’s a very real feeling that his persona is an act. Brady is an Eddie Haskell. He’s ingratiating to curry favor, but underneath there’s a weasel. He does trash talk, he just does it less publicly and from the safety of his offensive line. He’s been completely complicit in the whole Belichick era of cheating. He’s had every opportunity to walk away from the most classless coach in football today and play it clean, but he willingly remains. Why? He’s guilty by association with “Belicheat.”

    Quite simply, Brady is a smug, smarmy ass. He’s the kind of person who does the “aww, shucks” schtick for the cameras, but it’s all an act. He’s a holier-than-though con artist.

  11. voodoochili - Jan 24, 2011 at 4:59 PM

    Oh, yeah, what about Drew Brees? He’s another one who’s a genuinely good guy (as far as anyone can tell) and everyone loves him. Sorry, your “everyone loves the bad guy” theory doesn’t hold any water.