Most people considered retired NFL quarterback Tom Brady the greatest QB in league history, if not the greatest player in league history. He won seven Super Bowl championships, six of them with the New England Patriots, three regular season MVPs and five Super Bowl MVPs. He also had a big rivalry with the Pittsburgh Steelers that he had the upper hand in most of the time.
Naturally, there is some professional jealousy because Brady basically hoarded these accomplishments for the better part of this millennium. At the same time, he has brought a little bit of this jealousy and resentment onto himself, at least indirectly.
Two examples are “Deflategate,” the scandal in which he was behind the intentional deflating of football used in the 2014 AFC Championship Game, in which the Patriots defeated the Indianapolis Colts, and “Spygate,” when the Patriots spied on the New York Jets by recording their coaches during games in order to steal their defensive signals.
More recently, University of Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh was disciplined by the Big Ten conference for stealing signals from opposing teams. Brady played his college ball there, and he went on social media to announce he was donating some proceeds from the sales of wristbands to the school.
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James Harrison, a star linebacker who won two Super Bowl championships with the Pittsburgh Steelers during Brady’s prime, had some harsh words for the legend.
In the 2004 playoffs, Brady’s Patriots defeated Harrison’s Steelers 41-27 in the AFC Championship Game. Pittsburgh played Brady and New England three times in the playoffs, only to lose each of those matchups.
From 2007 to 2011, Harrison made the Pro Bowl each season and the All-Pro First Team twice while posting double-digit sacks in 2008, 2009 and 2010 and winning the Defensive Player of the Year award in 2008.
With Tom Brady now retired for good, perhaps the resentment some have for him will gradually dissipate over time.