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Which Current Athlete Is The Most Loved and Most Hated Simultaneously?

It’s time for the NFL Owners’ Meetings, which gives me another excuse to write about sports. It also means we are a step closer to football season. Happy Monday, Kayce.

There will be a lot to digest over this next week, but the losers of Super Bowl 52 were highlighted on my Twitter timeline again today. Let’s recap 2017: Tom Brady turned 40. The Patriots were reportedly wildly “dysfunctional”. Bill Belichick maybe doesn’t get along with Robert Kraft. The “end of the party” could be near in Foxboro. Malcolm Butler was benched. Etc, etc, etc.  So of course all of these things were going to be asked about down in Orlando. On cue, my guy Tom E. Curran asked Robert Kraft about the said tension within the organization…

Before you start the whole “OH GREAT. ANOTHER PRO-PATRIOTS BLOG, BOSTON PEOPLE ARE DELUSIONAL” tirade, hear me out. This blog pertains to everybody who loves sports. Literally everybody.

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Naturally, Patriots fans don’t want the end to be near. Why would they? They have arguably the greatest of all time lining up under center. But you anti-New England people? You too should NOT want the Patriots dynasty to be over. You should NOT root for this reported dysfunction to blow up. You should NOT want Tom Brady to hang it up and retire on a beach with Gisele (although the photos would be amazing.) Why?? Because as much as the sports world needs somebody to love, it also needs somebody to love to hate. A villain.

In the NFL, that’s Brady and nobody else comes close.

Depending on what side you land on, can you honestly convince yourself that you would root for anybody else to win OR lose more than you do him? (I think the truthful answer is no.) Sure, everybody has a guy on their team’s rival that they wish would just decide to quit sports forever. But I’m talking about guys that have the loudest haters and biggest fans alike.

Look at this year’s Super Bowl, would anybody outside of the two fan bases playing have actually rooted against Nick Foles and say, Blake Bortles individually? You could’ve faked some sort of outrage about Bortles not knowing that Florida and New England are in the same time zone, but nobody would’ve actually given a shit about those guys themselves. The teams, maybe. The humans, not a chance.

Aside: As a Dallas native and lifelong Cowboys fan mixed with covering the Pats in Boston last year, I would’ve preferred the Eagles to get blown out 1000-0, but I couldn’t make myself actively root for the demise of Nick Foles. Does anyone actually hate that guy??

But TB12? One of the most un-relatable humans on the planet? The Patriots? Bill Belichick? Fireworks. Electricity. Super Bowl 52 had everything it needed. David vs Goliath. I spent all week on a set engulfed by fans at the Mall of America. The amount of #12 jerseys next to the amount of “Fuck Tom Brady” chants that made it on live TV was incredible. (Sorry, FCC.)

So talking CURRENT athletes, is there anybody else as polarizing??

Usually, you either think they hung the moon in your sports world or you loathe them with your entire sports-loving body. There is a reality that you may appreciate their respective games, but still hate them as a human being to their core and vice versa. For example: listening to somebody talk about not eating tomatoes and the importance of pliability may make you hate your life, but you can appreciate five rings. You’re entitled.

The list – other than Brady – is really short, IMO:

– Lebron James

– Tiger Woods

End list.

Sports fans, you need Tom Brady to play until he’s 50. You need to have a stance on if he may or may not have deflated footballs. And yes, the NFL needs the successful version of the Patriots. It’s just a matter of fact.