RICHMOND, Va. -- Many believe Tom Brady is the best quarterback to ever play the game of football.
If he wins Sunday's Super Bowl, there won't be any question about it.
But at the same time, he's probably the most hated football player on the field today. Why is that?
As they say, it's easy to hate a winner. And he will likely be the winningest winner ever.
President Donald Trump calls him a "great, great champion; unbelievable winner."
And he's a handsome devil with a beautiful wife, tons of money - a quintessential sports success story.
Stir in a healthy dose of swagger, a dash of arrogance, a pinch of entitlement and a steaming, stinking lump of a cheating scandal and you have a lip-smacking recipe for hate.
And, oh, there's his relationship with Donald Trump, who probably outranks even Tom Brady when it comes to haters.
During his post-election celebration in Massachusetts, Trump called Brady a "great friend of mine, great, great champion," and told the cheering crowd that the quarterback called to congratulate him on his victory and to say he had voted for him.
Never mind that Brady was a sixth-round draft pick - number 199 - who earned his shot the hard way. Never mind that he won his first Super Bowl 15 years ago and has since taken a pounding that would put most of us on disability.
I needed a reference point for Brady hate, so I visited my old friend Lynne McCarthy, since I knew she had fought through her recent bout with breast cancer, in part, by naming her tumor "Tom Brady."
"I was diagnosed with breast cancer in January of last year," she told me.
"I named it because I found out when you find out you have cancer people look at you kind of off-putting, and they're kind of afraid to talk to you.,” she said.
"So I thought what better way to change the narrative than by naming it. And I thought who do I not like more than most anybody else? And that's Tom Brady."
She said it's partly "his personality, his arrogance, perhaps . . ."
But the unforgivable sin for her - "a die-hard Red Sox fan" - was seeing Brady wearing a New York Yankees cap when he plays for Beantown.
The tumor's name, she said, gave her and her friends something to joke about, to rally around.
"I found a lot of people were able to jump on the bandwagon," Lynne said, "and I got all sorts of gifts that were Brady-related - 'No Brady' pins. It was really heartwarming to see people talk about that instead of the fact that I had cancer."
Deliciously, it made one of her very best friends, a big-time Patriots fan, admit that she hates Tom Brady.
Symbolically, the "deflategate" scandal took Tom Brady out at about the same time surgeons removed her tumor.
She’s currently cancer free and has been for a while now.
So, in a way, Tom Brady helped her beat cancer. Isn't there a soft spot in her heart somewhere for the much-hated quarterback?
No, she replied, "Not at all. He's been cut out of my heart, and other places."
So what is she have to say about this coming Super Bowl Sunday?
Lynne smiled sweetly and said, "Go Falcons!"