An interesting trend I've noticed among the dozen or so Patriots fans I know is their unabashed love for Tom Brady even in the face of his departure from New England. Ask any of them what they think of TB12 today and they'll give you as flattering an answer as they would have after he led them to their sixth Super Bowl.
This isn't the norm for every fan base and their former hero. When Brett Favre left for the Vikings, Packers fans were ready to crucify the man who brought them their first Super Bowl since 1967. Of course, it's apples and oranges, not only because Brady accomplished more than Favre, but also because he didn't leave for a rival.
Still, I don't think we've ever seen a fan base stay so in love with a player who just left them as Patriots fans are with Brady. Need an example? Just look at the latest search volume for "Tom Brady jersey" and "Tom Brady." According to Google Trends, New Englanders remain more interested in Brady than anyone else over the last 30 days.
Search volume: "Tom Brady jersey"
Search volume: "Tom Brady"
What those four charts show is the total search volume over the last 30 days for "Tom Brady jersey" and "Tom Brady." As you can see, states in New England dominate both categories. Florida is sixth in Tom Brady jersey and seventh in Tom Brady search volume.
Another interesting note from related queries in the Tom Brady search is "why did Tom Brady leave the Patriots?" Clearly Patriots fans, while still interested in Brady, are also still searching for answers for why he left .
It's never easy saying goodbye. It's even harder when you've been together for 20 years and celebrated so many amazing moments together. Clearly, Patriots fans aren't ready to walk away without looking back.
You can't really blame New Englanders for still being so interested and invested in Brady, even if he's already moved on from them. They love him because of what he did for them, but also because what he represented to them: the hardworking, handsome winner they all aspire to be, quite frankly, what most aspire to be. Now he's gone and, like an ex searching through photos on Instagram, they're still searching for what he's up to and trying to find ways to show him they still care.
Expect to see a lot of Bucs jerseys around New England whenever we get out of this quarantine.