It was a great decade, wasn't it? After the ringless 90's, the 2000's saw 6 Championship parades. The most since the Celtics went ballistic in the 60's and won 9 titles. No other decade compares.
Here are the nominees for Athlete of the Decade:
Tom Brady - QB, New England Patriots
Paul Pierce - SF, Boston Celtics
Manny Ramirez - LF, Boston Red Sox
Marc Savard - C, Boston Bruins
And the winner is...
Thomas Edward Brady Jr.
A list of Tom Brady's accomplishments is insignificant to encapsulate what Tom Brady means to the Patriots and to the sports fans of Boston. As I mentioned above, the 1990's were a decade of woeful sadness. Ten years dominated by Dan Duquette, Rick Pitino, Pete Carroll, and Jeremy Jacobs.
The teams were occasionally competitive. The Bruins made the Stanley Cup Finals in 1990, the Red Sox progressed to the ALCS in '99, the Celtics visited the playoffs occasionally, and the Patriots made it to the Super Bowl.
But there was still no joy in Mudville. And to someone born in 1984, growing up a Boston sports fan in those dark times was like growing up knowing that Santa was not only a lie, but he actually touched little children as they slept.
There were some fine athletes in Boston. Drew Bledsoe, Pedro Martinez, Raymond Bourque. But no Champions. Not to belittle what these guys did, but without the team winning, watching individuals excel gets a little mundane, even painful. We even had to watch them win with other teams.
When Tom Brady and the Patriots beat the Rams, things changed, but not overnight. A Championship was glorious, but it wasn't until 2003 that we as fans began to EXPECT victory. That's when the Patriots 21 game win-streak started. In '04, the Red Sox changed the sports landscape in Boston from uphill to downhill. In '07, Boston was on top of the sporting universe, with a World Series Champion, an undefeated football team, a bound-for-glory Celtics team, and the #2 college football team in the country.
But Tom Brady started these expectations. If Tom Brady has a bad game, we theorize about injuries that must have been the culprit. If he throws a pick, we expect someone else is to blame. He's godlike in our eyes. Because he is The Creator of the sports world we now thrive in.