Just pump the brakes on handing Tom Brady the Humanitarian of the Year award.
Many have fawned over the idea that Brady is a savior, a saint in shoulder pads. The spin is that Brady, out of the goodness of his heart, saved Antonio Brown.
Brown, the talented but troubled wide receiver, will make his Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ debut against the New Orleans Saints on Sunday night.
And there’s not denying that Brady is the reason AB is getting another shot to catch a football in the NFL. And despite Bucs coach Bruce Arians’ claim that Brady had nothing to do with Tampa Bay adding Brown to its roster, the move has Brady’s fingerprints all over it.
The move makes sense. Brady is desperate to win a Super Bowl without Bill Belichick.
The motivation, however, can be questioned.
This isn’t about Brady being a good guy, helping a friend in need. He could do that without football being part of the equation. If Brown was washed up, it would be highly doubtful that he would be living with Brady and his family as he tries to get his life back on track.
In all honesty, it couldn’t be further from the truth.
It’s a false narrative.
This is about Brady, not Brown. This is selfish, not selfless.
It’s about Brady hoping to use Brown’s talent to help further cement his legacy. It’s so clear, so obvious.
For sure, Brady and Brown are the NFL’s Odd Couple. And we’re not talking about their talent level in the league. It’s about the people they are. The two couldn’t be more opposite.
But Brady will overlook all the issues Brown had in Pittsburgh, with the Raiders and in Brown’s personal life. For sure, you can discard diva issues coming from a wideout, but it’s nearly impossible to ignore the sexual assault and sexual harassment allegations that have followed Brown.
But then again, for Brady, it’s about winning at all costs.
There is no bigger example than when Brady used lowly-paid ballboys to cheat and deflate football below league standards to suit him… allegedly. When Brady was caught, instead of coming clean, he obstructed the league’s investigation and ultimately was suspended for four games.
And even though Brady wasn’t directly implicated in Spygate, knowing the other team’s defensive signals can only help the quarterback.
And no matter what Brady’s ulterior motive is, Brown has no choice but to be thankful. After all, he was on the verge of having a great football career end because of his behavior and actions — most of it totally reckless.
So from that standpoint, Brown’s affectionate Brady comments should be taken as authentic. “Tom is my boy,” said Brown to the media. “One of the greatest leaders around.
“He’s encouraging, always inspiring. He brings out the best in people around him. He wants the best for everyone around him.”
Especially if that person can help him secure what he wants people to believe about him. In his final years in the NFL, Brady wants nothing more than to prove the success in New England was about him, not Belichick.
Despite winning six Super Bowls, Brady is still seeking confirmation from people that, indeed, he is the best quarterback to ever play in the NFL.
But many aren’t fully on board, and understand that Brady has been pretty lucky to have as much hardware as he has and that others played just as big of a role as he.
The Pats’ first three Super Bowls were aided by mostly defense and the best kicker in NFL history, Adam Vinatieri.
And Brady’s last three Super Bowls came on the heels of some of the best defense in crunch time we’ve seen. In the last three Super Bowl victories over Seattle, Atlanta and the Rams, the Pats’ defense didn’t yield a single point in the fourth quarters.
As for Brady and Brown, this will be their second act. They were teammates in New England, but Brown was only around long enough for a cup of coffee and a sweet roll, getting cut after only 11 days after he was accused of sexual assault.
“He’s been a great guy in my corner and one of my close friends,” Brown said.
Friends use friends all the time. In this case, that’s what Brady hopes to do to Brown.