When it comes to looking foolish at the hands of New York sports figures, nobody does it better than Patriots quarterback (and Eli Manning Hall of Fame case) Tom Brady.
Come to think of it, Brady’s so bad at trying to beat New York at anything that he even helped Mark Sanchez get to the 2011 AFC championship game by putting up a stinker of a performance in a 28-21 divisional weekend loss.
Now, the Patriots quarterback is going for the trifecta, infuriating Mets fans by trying to usurp the legacy of 1969 World Series ace, Baseball Hall of Famer and “Tom Terrific” himself, legendary Mets pitcher Tom Seaver.
Brady recently filed a trademark with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office via his company, TEB Capital, in an attempt to obtain the sole legal rights to the nickname “Tom Terrific,” according to USA Today.
On the one hand, since Seaver never himself trademarked the phrase, it’s presumably there for the taking.
But on the other hand, the concept of prior use tends to void a trademark’s validity should the original user come forward and attempt to block the trademark’s registration.
Even if Seaver never trademarked the phrase, the producers of “Captain Kangaroo,” who in 1957 aired the original “Tom Terrific” cartoons that formed the origin of that nickname, might have a thing or two to say about the matter.
As the New York Post pointed out, it’s not as if players from different eras or even different walks of life have never shared famous nicknames before.
Consider Sugar Ray Robinson and Sugar Ray Leonard, hockey’s Maurice “Rocket” Richard and baseball’s “Rocket” Roger Clemens, or LeBron “LBJ” James and former U.S. President Lyndon Baines Johnson.
The point is, you could put together quite a large list.
The difference, which the Post’s Mike Vaccaro calls “weasel-ly,” is when the usurper tries to get the government involved.
The Mets tried to get the attention of the USPTO’s Twitter account as part of an effort to block the trademark request, posting a big picture of the prior-use argument for everyone on the internet to see.
— New York Mets (@Mets) June 3, 2019
In the neutral zone west of Boston but east of the New York state line, news anchor Rich Tettemer of WWLP in Chicopee, Massachusetts. surrendered a bit of that DMZ to angry Mets fans.
— Rich Tettemer (@RichTettemer) June 4, 2019
Mets fans themselves were more than happy to give Brady a history lesson.
To those of us in our 40s, 50s and older, the very first person you think about when you hear “Tom Terrific” is of course Tom Seaver. It is a complete and utter insult by Tom Brady to trademark a name he has no business using. Doesn’t Brady have enough accolades?? Disgusting… pic.twitter.com/cBs3xWtxQC
— Marshall Field (@MarshallFieldOD) June 4, 2019
And of course, there was the horde waiting to pile on Boston, which may as well be the national sport of the 44 U.S. states outside of New England.
Tom Brady wants to trademark the name Tom Terrific. Naturally, the N.Y. Mets objected on twitter. Tom Seaver won a World Series in 1969 with nickname Tom Terrific but didn’t trademark it. So Brady wants to hijack a HOFer nickname. So tacky. They have so shame. So Patriots.
— Vito Stellino (@vitostellino) June 4, 2019
Brady might be forced to back down after the backlash to this decision leads to bad publicity for any “Tom Terrific” merchandise he tries to sell.
If that’s the case, it’ll be the biggest win the Mets have pulled off against Boston since 1986.
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