The year was 2005 I was a junior in High School, my beloved "ring-less" Eagles faced the Patriots in Super Bowl 39. This was it, this was the year the jokes end about the Eagles never winning a Super Bowl, McNabb finally had a weapon in Terrell Owens who helped him have a career year. Even when Owens broke his leg hope was not lost, I knew Owens was going to do everything in his power to play in the championship, he missed all of the postseason except the most important one. Owens was set to help this team finally get over the hump, nine catches for 122 yards in his first game back from injury under the brightest of lights, Owens laid it all on the line that night. Donovan McNabb who just completed one of his best regular seasons throwing for 31 TDs compared to only 8 ints had one of his worse games of the season throwing 3 picks. After falling behind early in the 4th quarter the Eagles managed to pull within three, ultimately they didn't have enough in them to pull it out falling 24-21. Tom Brady and the Patriots won back to back Super Bowls (the last team to do so) and their third in four years. As an Eagles fan I was devastated especially when the following year the team began to fall apart, Terrell Owens was suspended indefinitely midseason and that would be the last we saw of him in an Eagles uniform. So the hate for Tom Brady started there. Then in 2006 Brady started to date super model gisele bündchen, 2007 the Patriots went undefeated in the regular season (Giants fans know how this story ends), also in 2007 the Patriots were being investigated in an incident forever known as "spygate". It was during this time that outside of Patriots fans, the hate for Tom Brady and the Patriots was at a high point, the rings, the super model, the alleged cheating, the arrogance, safe to say no one liked the Patriots and they definitely didn't like Tom. Fast forward to March 20th, 2020 Tom Brady signs with the Tampa Bay Buccaners. While I started to appreciate Tom for his consistent greatness and I hated him a little less and started to like him more over the last 15 years, it was when he signed with the Bucs that I believe was a turning point for not only me, but NFL fans. A huge part of this such a reversal of feelings is the fact that under coach Arians, Tom not only bought into the system but let his character shine in it. He has gone from the "Patriot way" to the "no risk it, no biscuit" but somewhere in-between is Tom Brady a fierce competitor, a perfectionist, yet still just one of the guys. If this year taught us anything it is Tom Brady really is just one of the guys. Tom maybe be 43 but he has found a way to connect with every person on the roster, whether it's 68 year old Arians or 22 year old rookie lineman Tristan Wirfs. This year, his first with the Bucs, his personality shined bright and really wore through the armor of hate we once wore for Tom. Seeing this side of Brady has thoroughly helped me not only appreciate his greatness, but actually enjoy watching him. Now as Brady hoisted his seventh Lombardi trophy it wasn't hate, but appreciation and respect towards on of the best to ever play the game. If you need any more evidence just check out the Tampa Bay's Super Bowl parade below.
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