It's one of the saddest statements of these grim times in which we live that this is how two legends report for duty at their new teams. For the first time in NFL history, one franchise lost a former MVP and signed a former MVP in the same offseason. These arrivals deserve more. Like a Roman general, riding on a golden chariot into a city he just conquered in a huge procession, with his Legionnaires marching in formation, the soldiers he captured led in chains before him, exotic beasts from other conquered lands in the rear, while the locals throw rose petals and sing his praises. At the very least, Cam Newton and Tom Brady deserve the treatment Drew Bledsoe got in Buffalo in 2002, when thousands of Bills Mafia met him at the airport like he was the Beatles landing at JFK.
But alas, these are not those times. In this, the darkest timeline of all, we get one greeted at Logan Airport by one measly local news crew and the other looking like he's the Fresh Fish being led into the Delousing Station and the maximum security prison he's been sentenced to. It's a sad fact of our reality.
But since I've painted myself into a corner where I have to choose, I'm going with my new quarterback over my old one. Newton is traveling in style. The on-point outfit, complete with capri pants. The Spy vs. Spy hat. The socially responsible mask-wearing, as opposed to Brady's reckless endangerment of all around him. (I kid. Covid-19 doesn't have the balls to spread through Tom Brady's magical, antiseptic breath.) But mostly Newton wins me over by talking in Patriots Speak. He hasn't even gotten his luggage off the carousel, never mind setting foot at One Patriots Place, and he's already speaking the language like a native. Even getting blind sided by reports, he knows enough to respectfully say how excited he is and give them nothing else. This is a business trip in every sense. And baring his soul with effusive answers is not going to help him master the blocking assignments and pass patterns, never mind win games in September.
I'll confess that seeing Brady show up at the Bucs facility would've taken years off my life if it wasn't for Newton doing likewise in New England. Quarterbacks report to camp on Monday. If nothing else does, that makes life worth living.