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O’Sullivan: Bet against Brady in the Super Bowl at your own risk

  • FILE- In this Nov. 29, 2020, file photo, Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady (12) congratulates Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (15) after their NFL football game in Tampa, Fla. The Super Bowl matchup features the most accomplished quarterback ever to play the game who is still thriving at age 43 in Brady against the young gun who is rewriting record books at age 25. (AP Photo/Jason Behnken, File) Jason Behnken

  • FILE - In this Sunday, Jan. 24, 2021, file photo, Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady reacts after winning the NFC championship NFL football game against the Green Bay Packers in Green Bay, Wis. The Super Bowl matchup features the most accomplished quarterback ever to play the game who is still thriving at age 43 in Brady against the young gun who is rewriting record books at age 25. (AP Photo/Matt Ludtke, File) Matt Ludtke

Published: 2/5/2021 12:13:46 PM

Anyone betting against Tom Brady in a big game hasn’t been paying attention the last 20 years.

He’s not perfect in Super Bowls, any New York Giants or Philadelphia Eagles fan will happily tell you that, but he’s won more big games than any quarterback in NFL history, and it’s not even close. When Brady takes the field for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday, it will mark his 10th Super Bowl appearance. That’s twice as many as the next quarterback on the list, some guy named John Elway.

Yes, Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes, Brady’s counterpart on Sunday, may have evolved the position to its next level. Sure, the Chiefs are defending champs and score points like a fast-breaking basketball team. But still, no, do not bet against Brady when he meets  Mahomes on Sunday, no matter what my colleague Ray Duckler says.

The last time the two quarterbacks met, Brady led New England to a 37-31 win in the AFC Championship game in Kansas City on Jan. 20, 2019. Two weeks later, the Patriots beat the Rams in the Super Bowl, 13-3, and Brady had ring number six.

He could win number seven in a similar way. Sunday’s game probably won’t be that low scoring, but Tampa Bay’s defense is good enough to be the deciding factor. It might be even more improbable for Brady to beat Mahomes and Co. in an offensive shootout, but he could. That’s the thing about Brady – he’s been in so many big games over so many years that of course he’s won them in different ways and of course he can win one more, no matter what way it goes. And he has won most of them over the years, that’s how you get to 14 conference championship games in 20 seasons.

If the game is close, it should favor the team with the quarterback who has enough experience to fill three careers, right? And guess who thinks the game is going to be close? The guys who do it for a living and are rarely wrong – the Las Vegas bookmakers, who have the Chiefs as 3-point favorites.

Three points. A field goal. If that game is that close, is there any quarterback you’d rather have than Brady? Would you want to be rooting against him? I wouldn’t, and I won’t be, despite how I felt in March when Brady left New England for Tampa Bay.

At the time, it seemed like the right decision for Brady and Bill Belichick to work in different places. I didn’t blame Brady for leaving, but I wasn’t going to root for him, either. I was a Patriots fan 20 years before Brady arrived in New England and I plan on being one long after he’s gone. I wasn’t even going to watch Brady in his new uniform with his new team and his fancy new wide receivers, thank you very much.

My fandom stayed right there most of the season – focused on the Patriots. That didn’t prove to be a lot of fun this year, and knowing Brady was winning with his new team only made it worse. Still, I couldn’t bring myself to watch the Buccaneers, even when New England was circling the toilet bowl and headed out of the playoffs for the first time since 2008, when Brady missed the season with a knee injury.

Once the playoffs arrived, I caved. I finally tuned in to Brady and the Bucs.

It’s been incredible.

Watching Brady quarterback has been like a soothing balm after seeing the position butchered in New England this season (a debacle that can be blamed as much on ballyhooed coaches Belichick and Josh McDaniels as it can on quarterback Cam Newton). Every quick decision Brady makes is a joy, each flawless pass a delight. Even the way he breaks the huddle and walks to the line of scrimmage looks right to my eyes.

Maybe it would have been different if I had watched Brady with Tampa Bay all season long. Maybe I was primed after such a disappointing Patriots campaign. Maybe absence did make the heart grow fonder.

Whatever the case, I am now fully on board Brady’s Buccaneer bandwagon, or pirate ship, or avocado-fueled sleep chamber of ever-lasting youth and pliability. If Brady is driving, I’m in, it doesn’t matter what the vehicle is called.

Just like it doesn’t matter that Mahomes is 18 years younger than Brady, or that Mahomes’s dad (also Patrick Mahomes) is only seven years older than Brady. Like it doesn’t matter that the Buccaneers are one of the losingest franchises in the history of professional sports, or that Tampa Bay coach Bruce Arians feels too bufoony to actually win a Super Bowl.

All that matters is this is a big game and Tom Brady is playing in it. We’ve all seen enough to know what comes next.

Enjoy the title, Tampa. Bucs, 31-28.




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