FOXBORO — If this week taught us one thing it’s that Tom Brady absolutely, positively should have participated in every organized team activity (OTA). Why, given how sharp he looked Tuesday, the first day of minicamp? To keep himself out of the U.S. Patent Office, where he reportedly filed for a trademark for the nickname “Tom Terrific.”
I had been aware for 50 years that “Tom Terrific” was Tom Seaver’s nickname. This is the first I knew it was one of Brady’s monikers. TEB Capital Management, owner of the TB12 brand, reportedly filed for trademark protection of “Tom Terrific” on May 24, roughly 10 weeks after an announcement that Seaver, 74, was leaving public life because he was suffering from dementia.
Table for a moment the conceit involved with thinking that when the first athlete with the “Tom Terrific” moniker was as great and revered as Seaver that there was room for another athlete who has numerous nicknames to claim Seaver’s as his own. Consider instead the insensitivity of doing so in the wake of the dementia revelation. Might Brady have missed that announcement?
Seaver was given the nickname based on a 1950s cartoon character, “Tom Terrific.” The introduction to the episodes has Tom Terrific saying, “Terrytown presents the real great adventures of me, Tom Terrific, with Mighty Manfred, the Wonder Dog.”
That’s funny from a cartoon character, but a quarterback laying claim to an already twice taken nickname so that he can cash in on it with trading cards, T-shirts, etc.?
The pocket of public opinion rightly has collapsed around Brady, but there is a way for him to get out of this with a quick release, or better yet, an in-person mea culpa during minicamp this week.
Something along the lines of: “I didn’t even think of Tom Seaver when I approved this,” if that’s true. “Obviously, he was an all-time great who had the nickname way before I did, and I feel deeply for him and his family given what he is going through with his health. We have contacted the U.S. Patent office to withdraw the trademark request, a bad idea in the first place.”
I can’t think of a single reason he would not do that.
Sure, it might keep him from making a few bucks, but if Brady were a greed-monster, basing all his decisions on what fattens his net worth, he would have held up the Patriots for far more money throughout the years. Instead, time and time again he took less so to leave enough room on the salary cap so that the Patriots could patch enough holes to remain a championship contender. That’s a big a part of what makes him a great teammate.
Regardless of whether Brady, signed through 2019, doesn’t choose to do the same with his next contract, he deserves credit for creating cap space throughout the years by signing for less than he’s worth.
At the moment though, signing an extension should be a secondary concern for Brady, ranking behind withdrawing the absurd request for trademark protection of “Tom Terrific.” The sooner the better.