It’s not hard for many football fans, and even NFL players, to hate New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady.
He wins a lot, and that’s all it takes for some people.
Brady and the Patriots are playing in their seventh Super Bowl since 2000 and ninth overall as a franchise (an NFL record), and one player who’s hoping to prevent New England from winning its fifth championship is Atlanta Falcons defensive end Dwight Freeney.
Freeney has gone up against Brady three times in the playoffs as part of the great matchups between the Patriots and Indianapolis Colts in the 2000s. Freeney was drafted by the Colts in 2002 and remained in Indy through the 2012 campaign.
Despite all of the pain and heartbreak he’s suffered in the playoffs because of Brady, he can’t bring himself to hate the legendary QB.
“You try to hate a guy because you play against him,” Freeney said this week, per ESPN’s Vaughn McClure. “You’re playing the Patriots and, of course, you want to hate him. But when you meet him you’re like, ‘Hey, this guy’s a great guy.’ He’s a cool dude, man.”
Freeney and the Falcons’ pass rush will need to give an excellent performance to slow down Brady and the Patriots’ prolific offense. Brady threw for a playoff career high 384 yards with three touchdowns and zero interceptions in New England’s AFC Championship Game win over the Pittsburgh Steelers last week.
Luckily for the Falcons, they have two weeks to find a game plan that’ll keep the Patriots’ offense in check.
Thumbnail photo via Geoff Burke/USA TODAY Sports Images