Tom Brady defined the most dominant era ever for Boston sports, winning six Super Bowl titles with the New England Patriots and cementing himself as the greatest quarterback in NFL history.
Still, according to Colin Cowherd, there was a distinct difference between Brady and the region where he enjoyed unprecedented success, and it’s becoming more evident as the 43-year-old QB navigates his first season with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
“In New England, we thought he was stoic and part of the system. In Tampa, he’s taking these unnecessary risks,” Cowherd said Thursday on FOX Sports 1. “Or is he? Or is this who Tom Brady’s always been? He was just conforming to New England? California dude, this is who he is. He’s a risk taker.
“Derek Jeter always felt like New York: the good-looking single guy for all those years. He felt like a Yankee. Troy Aikman has always felt like a Dallas Cowboy to me. Big Ben (Roethlisberger) has always felt like a Steeler. Tom Brady’s never felt like Boston. He just conformed.”
Brady, who grew up in California before attending college at the University of Michigan, joined the Patriots as a sixth-round draft pick in 2000. He took over as New England’s starting quarterback in 2001 after Drew Bledsoe went down with an injury. The rest, of course, is history.
Boston embraced Brady, a fiery competitor who helped make the Patriots a perennial championship contender, and vice versa. The marriage lasted two blissful decades. But sometimes, you just need a change. Maybe the divorce was inevitable, and perhaps we’re now seeing the Brady we would’ve seen had he been drafted by a different organization and not played under Bill Belichick for 20 years.
“Tom Brady is aspirational. He married a supermodel. He’s creating a global brand. He has houses in Costa Rica, Montana. Tom’s always been about growth and evolving. That’s not Boston,” Cowherd said. “Boston is you work hard, make a decent living, you buy a summer home on the Cape or maybe Maine, and that’s about as far as you leave, an occasional vacation down to Florida. That’s what Boston is. They stay there forever.
“Tom Brady is fun and happy. Boston is cranky and intense. Look at Tom Brady’s lifestyle brand — does it say Boston? No drinking, avocado ice cream, lots of yoga. That does not say Boston. It says California where Tom has multiple homes. It says west. Tom Brady was never Boston.”
Cowherd believes Belichick, on the other hand, is very much a Boston-type guy. It’d be interesting, then, to see how Belichick would adjust to coaching in California or somewhere a little more laid-back.
“I don’t buy that Tom has changed. I keep hearing that,” Cowherd said. “I think that this is closer to who he is: fun, adapting, evolving, thinking big, taking big risks, California thinker, always evolving, trying new stuff.
“That is the opposite of Boston, and it’s absolutely what I think Brady is.”