The sight of Tom Brady in a Tampa Bay Buccaneers uniform still seems a bit strange for New England fans who were accustomed to him as quarterback of the Patriots for 20 years. But many Pats fans in the Super Bowl today. AP Photo/Brynn Anderson

Tom Brady has played in so many Super Bowls, he should get to select the halftime show. Tom, who would you like to hear this year? The Weekend? We’ll get on it.

Brady is playing in another Super Bowl. The New England Patriots are not. To some Patriots fans, seeing Brady in the Super Bowl is a treat no matter what uniform he’s in. They hang their No. 12 Patriots jersey in the closet and pull on that new Tampa Bay Buccaneers jersey. Like New England’s nautical blue, Tampa’s pewter goes with almost everything. They will cheer for Brady, and his trusty sidekick Rob Gronkowski, with gusto throughout the Super Bowl.

Other Patriots fans will watch Super Bowl LV with contempt for Brady the Buccaneer. If you fall into this category, here’s a little advice before you give yourself an ulcer watching the game.

Get over it. It’s nothing personal. If feels personal, though, doesn’t it? It felt personal when Johnny Damon and Jacoby Ellsbury pulled on New York Yankees pinstripes. In Cleveland, it felt personal when LeBron James announced on live television he was moving on to Miami. That’s the thing about being a sports fan. You equate the success of the team with your own. The team wins, you win. The team fails, you fail.

The best player in NFL history leaves, it must be a reflection on you. Some fans feel betrayed. That is an abject waste of a good sense of betrayal. As much as we fans think so, it’s never about us. Everything about being a sports fan is vicarious, and that’s fine. We care because it’s a distraction. We care because it shouldn’t matter, and that makes it matter more.

You got 20 years. The best 20 years ever for an NFL team. Nothing about that changes just because Brady moved to Florida.

Tom Brady has played in so many Super Bowls, he could legally change his name (either last or first or both) to Lombardi and nobody could find it puzzling.

We never thought about the Brady Era in New England ending because we were a few years into watching Brady give Father Time a wedgie. It was apparent a while ago that the conventional rules of aging do not apply to Brady, so it made sense to think he would be the quarterback of the Patriots forever.

If Brady wants to spend the second half of his playing career on the Gulf Coast, it’s no concern of yours. No New England fan should feel his success in Tampa Bay diminishes what he accomplished in Foxborough. Hoping Brady fails also comes off as pettiness of the highest order.

Don’t get me started on this whole Brady vs Belichick nonsense. Never mind, I’m started. That is the most asinine debate since Tastes Great vs. Less Filling. Brady and Belichick achieved more together than any player and coach in NFL history. Twenty years is a long time to have a work relationship, and it’s natural that it comes to an end. It’s also natural to assume they butted heads quite a bit over those two decades, but that happens in any job. Their professionalism is what drove them to work together for so long, not a deep friendship. That professionalism doesn’t disintegrate because they work at different places. Any insinuation that Brady is sticking it to Belichick or Bill is sitting somewhere stewing about Brady’s success in Tampa is the stuff of hot takes and clickbait.

Tom Brady has played in so many Super Bowls, he’s provided fans of the Patriots more happy memories than they could have ever expected. Isn’t that enough?


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