Derek Jeter and Tom Brady are two of the most famous athletes in modern history. Although Jeter was more known for quietly dictating MLB games while Brady does so loudly in the NFL, they are two of the greatest winners ever. Jeter recently opened up about what Brady means to him. But as a New York icon discussing Boston sports, his comments hurt some fans.
Derek Jeter’s MLB career
Jeter didn’t have the same path to greatness as Brady. While TB12 had to wait for several rounds before the Patriots called his name, Jeter was the sixth-overall pick of the 1992 MLB draft out of high school. However, he didn’t take the field right away for the Yankees.
Jeter spent three years in the minors honing his game before finally taking the Yankees’ field for 15 games in 1995, according to Baseball-Reference. While his star power wasn’t immediately apparent, he got better every year. He wasn’t a statistical beast on offense or defense, but he always seemed to show up when it mattered.
In many ways, the 1996 World Series was his coming-out party, and the legend of Jeter was born. The infielder helped anchor the greatest era of Yankees baseball in decades thanks to his leadership. For most of the two decades that he spent with the club, Jeter was the heart and soul.
There might have been better hitters, base runners, and fielders on the team, but none conveyed what it meant to be a Yankee superstar quite like Jeter. He retired in 2014 as one of the most beloved figures in the franchise’s history since the days of Mickey Mantle.
Tom Brady’s Jeter-like career
Tom Brady didn’t have everything handed to him. Although he was a much later pick in the 2000 NFL draft than Jeter was in his MLB draft eight years earlier, he similarly had to wait before his grand debut.
Leading into the 2001 season, Brady was a 199th-overall pick of the previous year’s draft with no surefire path to success. By the end of that year, however, he was a Super Bowl champion who changed the NFL for two decades going forward.
Brady rarely dominated the league statistically, details Pro Football Reference. He only led the NFL in completion rate once, throwing yards three times, and total touchdowns four times, but he was undoubtedly one of the best quarterbacks in the game. Teams could try all they wanted to dethrone him, but chances were, Brady was going to have the last laugh against most of them come postseason.
Like Jeter, Brady was the face of a league for two decades. Although he will spend his 2020 season with a new team, he will forever be the face of the New England Patriots’ two-decade run of greatness.
Jeter and Brady on Jeter and Brady
Winners across sports often feel a connection to one another, and Jeter and Brady are no exception. In 2012, the pair exchanged compliments with one another. Despite New York and Boston being bitter sports rivals, reports the Boston Herald, the faces of the two cities, at least in the 21st-century, heaped praise on one another. Brady started.
“You see someone who plays the game the way you think it needs to be played, like Derek Jeter,” Brady said per The Boston Herald. “I love the way he plays the game. Those great-caliber athletes you look up to and admire for what it takes day in and day out to be a great player. You always watch other athletes and how they play the game, what makes them successful.”
Jeter heard the remarks and heaped his own praise on a six-time Super Bowl winner.
“I’ve always admired Tom,” Jeter said (per The Boston Herald). “I’ve gotten the opportunity to get to know him throughout the years. I think the way he’s handled himself on the field, off the field, the consistency he’s had, he’s just a good guy. I’ve always admired him. He’s one of my favorite players.”
For New York and Boston to come together shows just how good these superstar athletes are. Boston and New York exist to hate each other in the sports world. While many fans may admire the pair for heaping praise, others likely hated seeing their beloved shortstop praising a reviled quarterback and vice versa.
However, at the end of the day, it was just about two greats spreading love.