LOVE TO HATE

Del Olaleye: Sports hate is healthy, so (bleep) Tom Brady and the Patriots

It's easy to hate Tom Brady. Photo by Todd Warshaw/Getty Images

F--- Tom Brady might be the most used phrase across Philadelphia the next two weeks. With the Eagles in the Super Bowl, Philly fan will be at full tilt as their city becomes one of the epicenters of the football world.Their what I like to call “sports hate” for Tom Brady stems from a past on-field result and a possible future result. He was the QB of the 2004 Patriots. The same Patriots who beat the Donovan McNabb-led Eagles in Super Bowl XXXIX. He just so happens to be standing in their way again as the Eagles attempt to become Super Bowl champions for the first time. That is entry-level sports hate. Player A has a chance to ruin your season. They hate him because they should.

My sports hate for Tom Brady is at an elite level. I don’t think I’ve rooted against one player longer than I have Brady. As a Dolphins fan, Brady’s career includes countless victories against my favorite team. Not really countless. There is a record of it somewhere. I just refuse to look it up. The victories number so many that he has helped turned the Dolphins into merely a road bump he has to run over twice a season as opposed to a legitimate threat. The Dolphins have done enough to crater their own chances that I don’t really hate the Patriots anymore. They play a brand of football that is so far superior that I don’t even get mad when Miami loses. I’ve been in this stage of acceptance for about a decade. With that being said, I still root for Tom Brady to lose every time he touches the field. I told you I was at an elite level.

I know I’m not alone. There is at least one player, coach, referee or owner for everyone that no matter the situation, you hope they die a slow and painful sports death. I proposed this topic on the Raheel and Del show in mid-December and phone calls flooded the show. From Bud Adams to Matt Schaub to Nick Saban to Drayton McClane, everybody had someone they wanted to fail miserably. You continue to root for their failure long after the adverse effects on your team that they’re responsible for have worn off.

College football is the perfect place to cultivate your sports hate. Your school has the same opponents every year. Sometimes those opponents are in your home state. Opposing coaches, players and fans say things to hype up their squad by denigrating you and yours. I was born in Daytona Beach, Florida. So were several of my cousins. Our family football allegiances are divided amongst the big 3 schools in the state. Florida, Florida State and Miami. I have family who love Florida State and Florida. I will never root for the Seminoles or the Gators. I hope they lose every time they touch the field, court or pool. When people tell me they root for FSU or Florida I immediately begin to have thoughts about them as human beings. I can tell you those thoughts aren’t complimentary. Watching FSU catch an L on a Friday night in October at Boston College was better than watching Miami beat UNC the next day.

Like I said, I’m elite.

Spending a perfectly good 2.5 to 4 hours watching a sporting event you have no emotional connection to just to root for the downfall of a person you don’t know means your sports hate has reached Super Saiyian. Embrace that. When your teams are mediocre or flat out terrible you need something to give your sports life meaning. No better way to find meaning for an otherwise empty sports existence than to revel in another’s misery.

The Patriots have a chance to win their sixth Super Bowl. Nobody needs that. I’ve got no connection to the Eagles besides Eagles Fan Holly but I know who I’ll be rooting against in Super Bowl LII.

F--- Tom Brady? You're damn right, F--- Tom Brady.

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There's an elephant in the room when it comes to the Houston Texans. No, it's not Bill O'Brien. He's the ominous black cloud that hoovers over the whole building. That cloud is like a slow moving weather system that's constantly dumping rain and flooding the city. Eventually, it'll pass, we'll rebuild and recover from it.

It's not even the McNair family. Cal and Janice are the building itself. It exists, but needs people around and operating it in order for it to fully function. Sure, it could use some work. After all, it's almost twenty years old and could probably use a facelift. It happens when buildings age and are only taken care of or held to minimal standards.

The elephant in the room is Deshaun Watson. More specifically, his progress as a franchise/superstar quarterback. I've heard different people talk about this in one way, shape, form or whatever. AJ and Fred covered it on ESPN Houston's The Blitz. My friend @itsDanielBsr tweeted it and brought it up as well. There were others who talked about this topic, but these were the two places I encountered it in which I could pay closer attention.

When it comes to Watson, most people believe he's a great talent. However, there is a growing sentiment that it's time for him to take the next step. Watson turned 25 on September 14. He signed his four-year extension about a week before his birthday. When you're getting paid like a top quarterback and people recognize you as one of the better young quarterbacks, there comes a time when you need to poop or get off the pot.

When calling Watson to the carpet, people will call O'Brien into question. O'Brien is a factor in holding Watson back some. He's been the play-caller his whole time here in Houston up until this year when he allegedly turned it over to Tim Kelly. We've all seen how that has gone. O'Brien is also the general manager that traded away Watson's top target in DeAndre Hopkins. These type of things can hinder a young quarterback's growth and development, but at what point do we stop blaming O'Brien and start looking at Watson?

Some will point to the offensive line as a key factor as to why Watson isn't progressing. We've seen him escape sacks and create plays out of thin air. But when is it time to call him to the carpet for not going through his reads and/or making a check-down? He often escapes sacks and looks downfield, but should he be looking to scramble more often? Should he be reading progressions better? These intimate details are answers we won't ever get, but we hope we can understand that Watson is making his reads and decisions the way he's supposed to.

Whether it's his big extension, his bumbling idiot of a head coach, his lack of protection, or his lack of weapons, fans will eventually stop giving Watson a pass. Del said it best on ESPN Houston's The Bench: When will people stop bringing up Clemson when talking about Watson's greatness? NFL quarterbacks have their college career talked about in their rookie seasons. After that, it's all about what have you done for me lately. I sincerely hope Watson realizes his tremendous potential. He's a star now and a superstar in the making. The one thing that he needs is the success on the field that will catapult him into the upper echelon of the other top talents at his position. Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers, Pat Mahomes, Russell Wilson, and Lamar Jackson all have either a league MVP award and/or a Super Bowl ring. If Watson is to be mentioned in that rarefied air, he needs to start taking the necessary steps. The clock is ticking and people are watching. Your move Deshaun.

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