Patriots

Patriots

Tom Brady is great. Tom Brady is amazing. Tom Brady is remarkable, fantastic, marvelous, splendid, and stupendous.

Why does he have to be terrific, too?

Haters gonna hate, but this time they're right. There's one Tom Terrific and unfortunately he has dementia. His name is Tom Seaver and if you're the type who wants to LOL over a bunch of dinosaurs rallying around some long-ago baseball (!!!) player by implying that he's irrelevant, perhaps a history lesson is in order.

The news that Brady plans to trademark the nickname, "Tom Terrific," to sell on posters and t-shirts raised eyebrows and then ire, especially in New York. While the adjective certainly fits the six-time Super Bowl champ, it is more instantly associated with the Hall of Fame right-hander, who earned the sobriquet as a young hotshot with the Mets a decade before the quarterback was even born.

You don't have to be 80 to recognize Seaver as the original. Over 20 years in the big leagues -- the last with the Red Sox in 1986 -- Seaver won 311 games and three Cy Young Awards, made 12 All-Star teams, and earned a place in New York sporting immortality by leading the 1969 Amazins' to a World Series title. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility in 1992 with 98.8 percent of the vote.

In March, Seaver's family sadly announced the 74-year-old will retire from public life because of dementia, which will keep him from attending the 50th-anniversary celebration of 1969 in New York this summer.

 

A month after that news broke, Brady's management company filed a pair of trademark applications on "Tom Terrific" covering cards, posters, and t-shirts, among other memorabilia. Even if we grant Brady's team the benefit of the doubt and assume the timing was coincidental, it still kinda gross, if we're being perfectly honest.

Tom Seaver suffers from dementia and all of its associated horrors. Some believe it traces to a 1991 bout with Lyme Disease. Friends say his memory began failing him years ago, when Seaver found himself terrified at the realization that he couldn't name the head worker at his California vineyard, whom he had employed for seven years.

Out of respect to the Seaver family, someone at Team Brady ought to do the right thing and stand down. If Brady wants to trademark anything beyond TB12, it should probably be GOAT. Brady deserves a nickname all his own, given his unparalleled accomplishments. He doesn't need to appropriate someone else's. On the occasional times he's been referred to as Tom Terrific, it has always felt derivative and unoriginal.

Now it feels crass and opportunistic, not to mention grist for Brady's critics, who have noted similar unseemliness in his charity arrangement with Best Buddies, his association with shady characters like Alex Guerrero and Tony Robbins, and his claims about avoiding concussions, which former teammate Ted Johnson considers insulting and irresponsible.

Brady apologists will note that Seaver didn't even originate the name. It actually predates his arrival in the big leagues by a decade as the title character in a 1950s cartoon that ran during the Captain Kangaroo children's program.

If you want to make that argument, you'll get no quarrel from me. It's just further proof that the nickname should be left alone in the public domain.

A few will associate it with the cartoon. More will think of the quarterback. But to the overwhelming majority, there's only one Tom Terrific, and he threw a baseball.

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