Tom Brady‘s potty mouth offended some. (Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Boston Globe editorial — The New England Patriots are great football players, but it would be hard to assert that they are great sports. At least not without what Winston Churchill once called “some risk of terminological inexactitude.” Patriots fans who also value sportsmanship are regularly left with things to frown about. On the field, it’s sometimes overt enough that flags fall, as they did a couple of Sundays back when Rob Gronkowski drove the Colts’ Sergio Brown, with whom he has some history, not just well out of bounds but to the ground and into the camera cart. Gronkowski seemed to think that his move, which earned him a 15-yard unnecessary roughness penalty, was just part of intense play. The NFL, however, disagreed — and slapped him with an $8,268 fine. Other times, it’s Coach Bill Belichick‘s sullen moods or nano-second postgame handshakes or disdain for TV niceties like a quick on-the-field interview after losing a playoff game. But on Sunday, Tom Brady was the frown-inducer. After the Packers made a win-sealing first down, our franchise quarterback treated fans to a temper tantrum, pacing the sidelines and repeatedly yelling what was almost unmistakably the F-word. For that display, Brady is the New England Patriots poor sport of the week.
At the risk of saying this with terminological inexactitude, I have to confess I’ve been feeling really good about the Patriots these last oh, 14 years or so; but this Globe op-ed piece has really turned me around. What I’ve been mistaking for toughness and a burning desire to win has really just been poor etiquette all along. After all, what good is all that success when it comes at the price of poor sportsmanship? The three Super Bowl championships, five AFC titles, a .729 winning percentage in the Belichick era, the most postseason wins ever by a quarterback, the best record in football right now … all lose their luster when you see how it affects the people who work in the Globe editorial department. I mean, how can anyone be happy about the No. 1 seed in the playoffs or huge wins over Denver and Indy when it comes at the cost of $8,268 to Gronk?
And to me, success rings pretty hollow when your coach gives a quick handshake or doesn’t do an interview after the game. I’d feel much better if Belichick would go across the field, take the opposing coach in his loving embrace and spoon with him for an hour, then race over to Pam Oliver and give her the “nicety”of a complete breakdown of his game plan, like Vince Lombardi and George Halas used to do.
And I’m clutching my pearls and having one of my fainting spells at the very thought of Tom Brady using that sailor talk on the sidelines, even if he wasn’t mic’d up. I’d much prefer that he somnambulate off the field after a tough loss like Jay Cutler instead of showing all that messy, raw emotion. Because before you know it, other people will start using those cuss words, and then where will society be? It’ll descend into madness and chaos, and it’ll all be the Patriots’ fault.
And while it goes without saying … what about the children?
So thank you, Globe editorial department, for opening my eyes at last to the horrible problem of this team’s reprehensible behavior. I’ll never enjoy them again until they start behaving with impeccable manners, the way professional football players should. And while we’re paraphrasing Winston Churchill (a man who always displayed good sportsmanship, even as he was ordering the firebombing of Dresden) let me end with this for whomever wrote this drivel. Tomorrow the Patriots will wake up and be a driven, ultra-competitive, tough football team obsessed with crushing anyone standing between them and the Super Bowl, and you’ll still be an elitist twit.