In 2008, I signed up to play Fantasy Football with some girlfriends. My first year as coach and I drew the second spot for the draft. While the top three draft picks were all running backs, I decided to skip the usual protocol and draft Tom Brady as my quarterback as my first round pick. I thought it was a move of pure genius. The previous season, Brady had led the Patriots to a 16-0 regular season before losing the SuperBowl by 3 points to the Giants. Despite their disappointing loss, I knew Brady was a two-time SuperBowl MVP. And, not to sound totally girly but, I had always thought he was reasonably handsome. I figured that if I’m going to be watching football, I might as well be staring at someone worth looking at, right? I ended up with a fairly decent team, and I could not wait for the season to start.
Then, as my stupid luck would have it, midway through the first quarter of the first game for my fantasy team, Brady was hit by Kansas City Chiefs’ safety, Bernard Pollard. Brady limped off the field assisted by two trainers and did not return. The news was bad from the get-go. Matt Cassell would be starting for the rest of the season. Seriously? I wasted my first round draft pick on Brady and he was done in 7 minutes? I was deeply, bitterly upset. He’d given me 7 lousy minutes and he was gone. Typical man. From that moment on, Tom Brady was dead to me. The next day, still fuming, I hastily backtracked. I dropped Brady as my QB and picked up Aaron Rodgers who was stepping up to replace Brett Favre. I’m smart that way.
Ever since that game in early 2008, I’ve lived to root against the Patriots and, most especially, Tom Brady. I’ve reveled in every single loss they’ve had. The day that the Buffalo Bills beat the Patriots, I jumped off my couch, screamed, and ran around my house hooting and hollering like a hillbilly who just found two possums in one possum trap. People have tried to reason with me. They’ve told me that Brady didn’t intentionally leave me high and dry. They’ve told me it wasn’t personal. It’s just a game. I wouldn’t listen to them. The bottom line was that I went out of my way to choose him and he’d let me down. It’s hard for a guy to come back from that in my book.
This year, I went into our draft with the same game plan I’ve kept all four years. Draft quarterback first. The past two seasons I had drafted Brees and Rodgers. This time, I had second draft pick again. I was thrilled. I counted on the number one pick being Arian Foster. That was going to leave my go-to QB, Aaron Rodgers, open for me. Guess what? Rodgers was the first draft pick. I was reeling. I thought about picking up Foster, but I really believe it’s more important to have the best QB you can get. So, I made a big decision. I swallowed my pride and drafted Tom Brady. It was epically disappointing to have to do it, but I’m a coach. You can’t let personal feelings get in the way of your team’s success, and Brady was the second best quarterback pick, in my opinion. It had to be done.
Well, so far this season, Brady has done okay. He’s not been knocking my socks off, but at least he’s managed to play without acquiring with a crippling injury. (Knock on wood, fingers crossed.) Today, though…today it occurred to me that perhaps Tom Brady and I are like some unholy union spawned in hell. My team won last week. Brady had not put up nearly the points he was predicted to, but at least it wasn’t dismal. I was feeling optimistic as the projected scoreboard for my fantasy match-up this week had me winning by 12 points. We’re not 5 minutes into the first quarter and I check my scoreboard to see Tom Brady actually has a negative 2 points. Are you kidding me? We’re cursed, Tom Brady and me.
I quickly whipped off a text to my friend, Andrew.
Me: You know…if Tom Brady was determined to screw me, I could think of a nicer way for him to do it than Fantasy Football.
Andrew: You’re giving a whole new meaning to a fantasy league.
Me: Hahahahahaha! (Then I thought about it for a minute…was that a cut?) Hey….he could do worse!
But, seriously, of all the ways for Tom Brady to screw me, his performance on the football field thus far this season is not what I had in mind. I could come up with myriad scenarios that would be infinitely preferable. And, you know, he could do worse. I mean, I know he’s married to a stunning, lingerie supermodel and….wait. Where was I going with this?
Tom…if you’re listening, picking you for my QB this season was a colossal leap of faith on my part. It required a level of forgiveness of which I wasn’t sure I was capable. I know the fate of my entire team doesn’t fall squarely on your shoulders, but it sure would help if you’d step it up a bit. I’ve got lots of fantasies involving you, but the best one was the one where you actually take my silly team to the championship game.
Imagine how I feel…I was 7th Draft Pick. I chose Peyton Freaking Manning, I hate him. And I have to cheer for him as my Fantasy AND my Actual TEAM QB!
I am sorry, Rach. I do understand how much it sucks. Even though I need Brady to put up big points for me, I am secretly happy still when the Pats lose as they did today. We all have our faves and our enemies. That’s what makes football fun!