New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady is one of the most polarizing athletes to ever live. On one hand, he's a sixth-round draft choice that wound up a three-time NFL MVP and, oh yeah, a five-time Super Bowl Champion. Arguably the greatest football player to ever live. On the other hand, some see Brady as "the golden boy" of football. A man who's had rules made for him. A man whom the media paints as perfect, even though some of his haters like to say otherwise. Many also like to accuse him of being a cheater, after he was tied to the DeflateGate scandal.
Brady has made plenty of great friends on and off the field. Obviously, he's very close with some of his teammates. But he also has some very high-profile friends who are famous outside of football. Brady works with some of these fellow celebrities closely off the field, and you may not know about some of these friendships he has. But of course, the future Hall of Famer has made plenty of enemies throughout his career. And it's not just because he's a winner who has probably beaten your team hundreds of times. Many of Brady's haters have explained fair reasonings as to why they cannot stand him.
This is what makes Brady such a fascinating player. He has countless of fans and is close with so many people on and off the field. But on the other hand, he also has plenty of enemies who will never respect him. Here are eight of Brady's very close friends, and eight of his biggest enemies.
16 Close With: Mark Wahlberg
Hollywood actor Mark Wahlberg was born in Dorchester, Massachusetts, and is known for his love of all Boston sports teams. Wahlberg has special connections with Tom Brady, having appeared at Super Bowl 49 to watch TB12 win his fourth Super Bowl against the Seattle Seahawks. On top of that, Wahlberg had Brady appear in his 2015 comedy film, Ted 2. The scene sees Wahlberg's character telling Brady he doesn't think that he cheated (when discussing Deflategate). Wahlberg and Ted also disturb Brady in his sleep, so the five-time Super Bowl champion angrily throws both of them out of his house.
But really, this is one of the closest bonds between an athlete and an actor that you will ever see.
Wahlberg is one of the biggest celebrity Patriots fans out there, and we know just how much a guy like Brady loves being respected by other powerful men. If the two weren't close in real life, then there's no way Brady appears in Ted 2. He had to play a part in a rather inappropriate scene that only a good friend would be able to talk Brady into doing. The relationship between these two is for real, and maybe we'll see them in television together again.
15 Can't Stand: Jimmy Garoppolo
The Patriots drafted Jimmy Garoppolo in 2014, with the exception he would eventually replace Brady in Foxborough. But with the former playing at a high level into his 40s, the Patriots were facing a quarterback dilemma. According to a shocking report from ESPN's Seth Wickersham back in January, Bill Belichick actually wanted to move on from Brady and roll with Garoppolo to cement his legacy: "Garoppolo played well in 2016, starting in place of the suspended Brady, and Belichick began to see Garoppolo as the final piece of his legacy, to walk away in a few years with the Patriots secure at quarterback...And complicating matters even more was that Belichick didn't want to trade Garoppolo."
Wickersham also added in the report that when Brady learned that Belichick wanted to replace him, TB12 went to owner Robert Kraft for help. Brady got Kraft to force Belichick to trade Garoppolo to the San Francisco 49ers for nothing more than a second round pick. We don't know the full truth behind this story, but it's definitely sketchy that the Patriots gave away Jimmy G for a low price in his contract year. He's won his first seven NFL and just signed a massive $137.5 million deal with the 49ers. Though Aaron Rodgers and Brett Favre got along just fine in Green Bay, it doesn't appear to have been the case with Brady and Garoppolo. Hard to envision these two ever being friends, if Brady really did his best to make sure Garoppolo got traded.
14 Close With: Julian Edelman
Julian Edelman has been the best and most reliable wide receiver of Tom Brady's career. From a seventh-round draft pick (as a quarterback, might I add), to a two-time Super Bowl champion and perennial Pro Bowler, Edelman is a key reason why Brady has played at a high level for so long. It was supposed to be a brutal blow to the Patriots when Wes Welker left New England to join the Denver Broncos. Instead, Edelman stepped right up and has been Brady's only consistent wideout since 2013. Without that insane Super Bowl catch against the Atlanta Falcons, Brady would be 4-4 in Super Bowls. If Edelman didn't have that clutch game-winning catch against Seattle in Super Bowl 49, Brady would be 3-5 in Super Bowls.
When Rob Gronkowski has been hurt, Edelman has stepped up to the plate and delivered excellent performances. The two work out extensively in the offseason together, building up an incredible QB-WR relationship like we haven't seen in years. Brady owes a lot to Edelman for helping him win his last two rings, but Edelman owes him even more after going from a backup receiver to a Pro Bowler with a pair of championships. What a bond these two have.
13 Can't Stand: Antonio Cromartie
Antonio Cromartie announced his retirement earlier in the offseason, but we must not forget that he hated Tom Brady more than almost any other player in NFL history. He was part of the New York Jets during their days of being coached by Rex Ryan - whose big mouth added more heat to the AFC East rivalry.
Prior to the Jets and Patriots facing off in the 2010 AFC Divisional Round, Cromartie had a ton of trash talk to send Brady's way (via the New York Daily News). "We see that a lot. He does it a lot. That's the kind of guy he is. We really don't give a damn, to tell you the truth," Cromartie said. On top of that, he used a couple of expletive terms to describe Brady. "That's what I think about him. I don't really give a damn about him, I don't have to play against him, I play against the receivers," Cromartie added. Of course, Brady would shrug off the criticism and say he's "been called worse." The Jets would ultimately upset the Patriots with a 28-21 victory, but Brady has since collected two more Super Bowl rings. This rivalry was truly fun while it lasted.
12 Close With: Robert Kraft
Robert Kraft purchased the Patriots in 1994 and wound up saving this franchise from relocating to Hartford, Connecticut, in the late '90s. He wound up making the bold decision to hire Bill Belichick away from the New York Jets (a day after he took their coaching job), and gave him full power as head coach and general manager. It was a wise move by Kraft, as Belichick went on to draft Tom Brady with the 199th pick in the 2000 draft. The rest is history, as the Patriots have won five Super Bowls - and Brady's relationship with Kraft is as close as it can get between an athlete and a player.
As mentioned above, Brady reportedly went to Kraft to force Belichick into trading Garoppolo, which he did.
On top of that, freelance NFL writer Adam Kurkjian had this interesting tidbit, which hints at Kraft saving Brady once again: Even though it's a golden rule to never doubt Bill Belichick in New England, it sure seems like Kraft and Brady have no problem working together to stand up to the legendary coach. Did we mention the five Super Bowl championships? Ah yes, Brady is so close to his owner, as if you didn't know already.
11 Can't Stand: Jalen Ramsey
Prior to the epic 2017 AFC Championship Game between the Jacksonville Jaguars and New England Patriots, star cornerback Jalen Ramsey engaged in some trash talk with the defending Super Bowl Champions. Following their big upset against the Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC Divisional Round, Jalen Ramsey had this to say (per CBS Sports): "I ain't got too much to say. But y'all make sure you bring that same energy out here next week AND the week after. We goin' to the Super Bowl AND we gonna win that [trophy]!" The five-time Super Bowl champion fired back - appearing on WEEI in Boston and warning Ramsey "it's how you play, it's not what you say," while adding that he was "more concerned about how he plays opposed to what he says."
And during warmups in that memorable AFC Championship Game, Brady and Ramsey appeared to have exchanged some heated words (go to the 0:25 mark): Unfortunately for Ramsey and the Jaguars, Brady was able to rally Jacksonville back from a 10-point fourth quarter deficit to win the AFC Championship. These two teams are set to meet in Week 2 of the 2018 season, and you can bet Ramsey will have some more words to say about the man who ended Jacksonville's chances of reaching their first Super Bowl.
10 Close With: Alex Guerrero
Meet Alex Guerrero, Tom Brady's trainer who may be the central reason as to why Brady and other Patriots players are struggling to get along with head coach Bill Belichick. Guerrero and Brady are extremely close friends, as the former has helped the three-time MVP sustain excellent body shape and remain in peak condition, hence why he's played well into his 40s. But here's the problem: Coach Belichick wasn't comfortable with how much time his players (namely Brady), were spending with Guerrero. This also included Rob Gronkowski, whom we all know how has a rough relationship with the coach that has turned him into a legend.
So what happened? Belichick banned Guerrero from team activities, ordering him to stay away. Neither the coach or Brady would talk to the media about it, so we don't know every bit of detail. However, Brady has found a way to respect the coach's decision while staying close with his trainer. It's worth noting that Guerrero is also the godfather to Brady's son, John. That's the sign of being close friends with somebody. With Brady being able to stay healthy and play at a legendary level in his 40s, you know he and Guerrero are going to be close friends forever. TB12 owes it to his trainer for sustaining excellence for this long.
9 Can't Stand: Ray Lewis
Tom Brady is arguably the best quarterback of all-time. Ray Lewis is arguably the greatest linebacker (and easily the best NFL leader), of all-time. These two men clashed aplenty throughout their respective careers, and the heat between the pair of legends was so Hollywood-like. Lewis ripped Brady for selling a low hit during a game between the Patriots and Baltimore Ravens in 2009. “Without totally going off the wall here, it’s embarrassing to the game. You can’t do that. [Tom] Brady’s good enough to make a play. Let him make his own play. You can’t end the play like that, and then throw the flag. No, man. The embarrassing part is when he understands that, and he walks up to one of us and says, ‘Oh, that was a cheap one.’"
The good news for Lewis is that his Ravens would throttle the Patriots 33-14 in the AFC Wild Card Round later that year.
The two teams met again in the 2011 and 2012 AFC Championship Games - with the latter being Lewis' final season. That provided some more epic trash talk between the two: And back in 2015, Lewis said that people only know who Tom Brady is because of the infamous 'Tuck Rule Game'. That was two years after he retired from football, so we know the heat between he and Brady has never left. And it may live on forever.
8 Close With: Peyton Manning
There is no rivalry like it. Peyton Manning and Tom Brady are the two best quarterbacks of the 21st century. They've combined for 12 trips to the Super Bowl, eight MVP awards and they both own countless NFL records. Manning and Brady faced off 17 times, with the latter edging the five-time MVP 11-6. However, Manning went 3-2 vs. Brady in the playoffs - with all three victories coming in the AFC Championship Game.
Now, the media and all NFL fans love to call it the Brady-Manning rivalry. But in reality, these two couldn't be any closer. Brady called Manning the greatest ever back in 2011, and the two have spent a lot of time together outside of football. When messages of Brady putting down Manning were leaked to the public in 2015, The Sheriff brushed them off kindly. These two had a major rivalry on the field, but they're very close in reality.
7 Can't Stand: Terrell Suggs
We talked earlier about how much Ray Lewis and Tom Brady couldn't stand each other, but the 2018 Hall of Fame inductee isn't the only Ravens legend who can't stand TB12. In fact, you can make a case that Terrell Suggs has the most hatred against the Patriots quarterback. Throughout his career, Suggs has notably refused to say Brady's name during talks with the media. It was Suggs who barely hit Brady below the knee in that aforementioned 2009 game, which set Ray Lewis off.
Though Brady hasn't been one to usually talk trash off the field, he's made it clear just how much he hates the Ravens. Suggs is one of the most physical players on the field, and he's taken his shots at Brady - who's known for flipping out on refs whenever he's touched. Both may be future Hall of Famers, but the respect will never be there.
6 Close With: The Donald
Long before The Donald became president of the United States, he and Tom Brady developed a strong friendship. The two have played lots of golf together, and Brady admitted well before the 2016 election that having The Donald "would be great," even though he doesn't like talking about their friendship with the media.
On Twitter, Donald has also been active in showing plenty of support for Brady, namely this time after the latter had his four-game suspension in 2015 overturned: Brady may not like it, but everyone knows how close he is with Tom off the field. He openly endorsed 'The Donald', and the latter always sings high praises for him. It's one close friendship between one of America's favourite athletes and the president.
5 Can't Stand: Rex Ryan
Rex Ryan was brought on as head coach of the New York Jets in 2009, and he made his presence well-known by trash talking Brady, Belichick and the Patriots organization. In fact, Ryan seemed to be more worried about the Patriots than his own Jets organization at times. Ryan made it clear that he didn't come to New York to "kiss Belichick's rings." He and Brady had a handful of showdowns - most notably the aforementioned 2010 AFC Divisional Round won by the Jets.
During a 2015 game between the Patriots and Buffalo Bills (when Ryan coached there), Brady yelled out "Rex Ryan" during an audible. That only fueled the rivalry even more. And though Ryan isn't coaching right now, he's made it clear that he has grown tired of Brady and hopes he'll retire.
4 Close With: Bill Belichick
Multiple reports have suggested that Brady's relationship with coach Belichick is fractured, but even if that's the case, make no mistake: This is one very close friendship between the best head coach ever and arguably the best quarterback in league history.
Belichick is the one who took a chance on Brady in the sixth round of the 2000 draft.
The latter repaid Belichick by displaying craft and resiliency, hence the five Super Bowl championships and all. Brady and Belichick have needed each other to make this franchise the best of the 21st century. Even if their relationship isn't as strong as it used to be, you know they'll stay friends forever. Those five Super Bowl victories will go unmatched by another QB-coach duo.
3 Can't Stand: Richard Sherman
Richard Sherman is arguably the biggest trash talker in the NFL. Throw in a quarterback that many people just want to beat dearly, and you have yourself one major player vs. player rivalry.
When the Seahawks beat the Patriots in Week 12 of the 2012 season, Sherman tweeted out a photo of them talking after the game, with the caption reading "U Mad Bro?" And prior to their Super Bowl 49 meeting, Sherman said Brady isn't the nice guy everyone makes him out to be. He said Brady called the Seahawks "nobodies" in their 2012 meeting. Brady and the Patriots won Super Bowl 49, but the Seahawks won the 2012 and 2016 regular season. Sherman now plays with the San Francisco 49ers - Brady's boyhood team.
2 Close With: Rob Gronkowski
The relationship between Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski is nothing short of awesome. Throw in an elite quarterback and probably the best tight end in history (along with his huge personality) and the friendship is legit. Brady and Gronkowski aren't just friends on the field. In April Fool's Day of 2016, Gronkowski pulled off a hilarious prank on his teammate:
Don't forget what we talked about above, in that Brady reportedly threatened to retire if Belichick traded Gronkowski. These two men are surely going to be close forever, even long after their respective NFL careers come to an end. Really, even Patriots haters have to admire this type of friendship.
1 Can't Stand: Roger Goodell
He may not admit it publicly, but perhaps no player in the NFL despises the commissioner as much as Brady. Let's go back to DeflateGate 2015, when the Patriots allegedly deflated footballs in the 2014 AFC Championship Game against the Indianapolis Colts. Goodell hired lawyer Ted Wells to get to the bottom of it. His findings? Brady was probably "generally aware" of the football tampering. Goodell slapped Brady with a four-game suspension for the 2015 season, despite a lack of strong evidence suggesting he was tied to the crimes.
Brady took it to court and had the punishment overturned for the 2015 season. But during the 2016 offseason, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals overturned it. Brady kept on trying to fight but ultimately gave up and sat out the first four games of 2016. He got the last laugh, however, returning and leading the Patriots to a Super Bowl 51 championship. It was quite awkward when Goodell had to hand Brady the Lombardi Trophy, perhaps the most embarrassing moment of his career.