Tom Brady is a name like few others in the sports world.
While there is no denying that he is among the all-time greats in the NFL at the quarterback position, where he fits as far as what he represents is a matter of continuous debate. Going on to win five-of-eight Super Bowls so far with a high likelihood of returning to at least one more, he is seen by his fans as a hero wearing red, white and blue.
But, some of the controversy and hubris associated with him also lists him as an anti hero to many. Regardless of whether you or anyone else may list him, when he does finally get around to retiring it will be as the as the best-looking 40-something field general you’ve ever seen despite the punishment associated with his time on the field of battle. Decades of fighting through a long period of history without suffering many tremendous losses or seeming to age with controversial personal past — to me that is the spitting image of Marvel’s original renegade X-man, Wolverine.
I’m sure those within the fanhood of the New England Patriots would have you believe that Brady is better suited as a wimp turned wonder, Steve Rodgers — better known as the First Avenger, Captain America. Through a set of their goggles, I can’t blame them making this connection as they shout out, “Raw-jah” in effigy of their own “Red Skull”, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. I mean heck, if you look at Rodgers before he took the super soldier serum that eventually made him the shield-wielding warrior of American justice and compared it to Brady as an NFL draftee, it’s few shades short of a doppelgänger.
But here’s the thing about it. . . under some scrutiny, Captain America kinda sucks at his job while Tom Brady as a passer – who barely commits turnovers – clearly doesn’t. The Cap has more collateral damage on his hands despite being a tactical genius that within the movies and comic book lore, he and his team draw the ire of the United Nations to draft what is known as the Sokovia Accords, a series of international laws meant to regulate the Avengers intervention in crises.
That being said, Brady and Wolverine (aka Logan) fall into the category of being greats all their own who will never be unanimously considered the greatest of all time. They each have a single severe weakness that stops them against certain opponents. Wolverine has a skeleton made of an indestructible metal called adamantium while Tom Brady is unable to run or escape a defensive pass rush. The concept of limitation via a particular weakness has left Logan powerless against the Master of Magnets, Magneto and has left Eli Manning a lasting antagonist to the Patriots’ Paragon.
While I can point to certain “plot pieces” to the career of these two legends, it is their personalities that lend me to compare these two. After seeing Brady’s photo at the 2000 NFL Draft, the scrawny silhouette seen there hardly looks like an NFL player — even one with the reputation for being “pretty” like a quarterback. Wolverine himself in the comics stands only 5’3” and 195 lbs. (without the metal in his skeleton) compared to Brady’s current 6’4″ and 225 lbs. (who is closer in build to actor Hugh Jackman who plays Wolverine in the movies and stands at 6’2″ and 181 lbs.) — not exactly a figure one associated with a brawler that is competitive, if not outright dominant in every bout. What is it that makes either of these guys so dangerous?
The guidance between their ears and the heart that beats in their chest.
TB12 and Logan respectively have great minds coaching them through many of their exploits. New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick and founder of the X-men, Professor Charles Xavier, a telepath provide the knowledge of where to focus their intensity. This pair of leaders each know what an opponent is going to do before they even do it to provide an advantage to strategic success.
At the end of the day, what drives either of these heroes at their core? In a word — Anger. Specifically a drive for vengeance by showing those the did them wrong that they will pay for it time and time again. I referenced in my preview of Super Bowl LII that Tom Brady is still bitter about his being drafted in the 6th round. It drives him to continue to pound away to train hard and continue his fight at the same age. Much in the same way that Wolverine relives the nightmare of the incredibly painful process through which he was injected with his adamantium skeleton, Brady is forever haunted and driven by previous trauma that evokes a tenacity few others possess.
And no — it has nothing to do with the fact that his college team was known as the Michigan Wolverines. But I don’t see how that can hurt matters either . . .