Strange as it may seem, you get the feeling that many this weekend will be rooting for a certified underachiever over the most accomplished quarterback in NFL history.
Welcome to Matthew Stafford against Tom Brady.
On paper, it makes no sense to want to see Stafford lead the Los Angeles Rams over Brady’s Bucs in Tampa on Sunday.
After all, Stafford registered his first playoff win in his 13-year career last week, while Brady is going for his second straight Super Bowl title in Tampa Bay and eighth ring in his career.
Then again. ….
Welcome to A.B.B. in the NFL. Yes, many in NFL America want to see Anybody But Brady in the Super Bowl.
Yes, enough already.
The Brady movie is tired and old as The Brady Bunch reruns on MeTV.
There is such a thing as winning too much. It has made fans hate the New York Yankees, the Los Angeles Lakers, and Alabama football.
At first, fans can appreciate a dynasty — when a team wins three championships in a row or three out of four.
That seems cool, shows that you watched a dominant team in a particular sport in a certain era.
Then, there’s the point where you just hate to see the same team or person keep winning. All the stories and narratives become redundant and tiresome.
Analysts have simply run out of things to say. It gets so ridiculous that they even give a player credit for winning, when in truth, they had little to do with it.
We saw that in Brady’s last Super Bowl championship with New England when the Pats beat the Rams 13-3 in 2019. Brady had no touchdowns, an interception and a fumble, yet it was all about him.
The real story was the Patriots defense stopped the high-powered Rams offense. But we never got that.
It has become all Brady, all the time.
Michael Jordan won six championships in his career without losing. And yes, he got a ton of play back in the day.
Still, it was different and never felt over the top. It’s probably because we didn’t have social media, multiple 24-hour sports networks with time to fill and all-sports radio stations on every corner.
Now, you are constantly hit over the head. Some even went as far to call Brady the greatest team sport player ever. Again, ridiculous because he doesn’t play defense and wouldn’t have been able to win as often were it not for a genius defensive coach in Bill Belichick.
Even when you really think of Brady’s two championship runs in New England — both producing three Super Bowl victories — in between, many forget, Brady went nine seasons without raising the Lombardi Trophy.
In fact, many loved that Eli Manning and the New York Football Giants beat the Patriots twice during that nine-year drought.
There was nothing better than when the Giants beat the 18-0 Pats in Super Bowl XLII to spoil their perfect season.
The Pats were 12-point favorites and lost 17-14 in 2008. That was magical, unforgettable.
Do people really want to see Brady and the Bucs win again? No way, no how. Unless of course, you live in Tampa or simply are a Brady fan no matter what uniform he wears.
As for Stafford, he is wearing a new uniform this season. And many are pulling for the No. 1 overall pick in 2009. He is the ultimate underdog in many eyes.
After all, he did a lot of losing in Detroit for 12 years, including going 0-3 in the postseason.
But Monday night in L.A. against the no-show Arizona Cardinals, Stafford won with two touchdowns, no INTs and 202 yards. He was on a short leash, throwing only 17 times.
For sure, Stafford will have more work to do than that if the Rams are going to beat the Bucs on the road and advance to the NFC Championship Game.
A victory by the Rams would not only give the betting-favorite Bucs an early exit from the postseason, but push Brady out of the conversation and breathe new talk and analysis about the playoffs.
We all need to be Brady-free. Stafford has to come through.