The New England Patriots have created quite a few enemies over the years as the NFL’s premier dynasty. When you watch an opponent repeatedly win, it’s only natural for disdain to set in.
Such was the case for former San Diego Chargers offensive lineman Nick Hardwick. Hardwick opposed multiple Patriots squads during his NFL career, finishing with a 2-5 record against New England. He recently filled in on Peter King’s “Monday Morning Quarterback” column on NBC Sports, and noted that his feelings towards the Patriots have changed.
“As a player and opponent, I used to despise them, mostly because we were only able to beat them two times in my career, and only once with Tom Brady at quarterback,” Hardwick writes. “The other time was with Matt Cassel (in 2008). Do we even count that one? But now, I find myself cheering for them.”
A big reason why he now roots for New England is its six-time Super Bowl champion.
“For one thing, Brady has done a great job of allowing us access to him as a human. It’s easy to hate the machine. It’s hard to sustain hatred towards a human. I can’t believe I’m saying this publicly, but I devour any information I can get on the guy. He’s beyond impressive. And hell, so are the Patriots. There I said it. They are something to marvel at, learn from, and cheer on. Unless they’re playing my Chargers.”
Accessibility is something Brady has seemed to master between his booming social media presence and “Tom vs. Time” Facebook series. This likely has helped many people, including Hardwick, appreciate Brady more than they previously had when he went about his life privately.
We’re sure there are still those out there who despise Brady and the Patriots, and will continue to until the day their reign ends.
Thumbnail photo via Greg M. Cooper/USA TODAY Sports Images