Brady’s TEB Capital Management company filed two applications with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office last month, with both indicating commercial intent. One covered collectible trading cards, sports trading cards, posters and printed photographs and the other T-shirts and shirts. The applications, first publicized by Gerben Law Firm, were made on a 1B or “intent-to-use” basis, which means that a company is planning a line of products bearing the nickname. As news of the application spread, so did the outrage over a nickname that was given to the Amazin’ Mets star before Brady was even born.
"I didn’t want people associating me with that [nickname], because that was something I didn’t want to have happen. I don’t like the nickname. I don’t like when people probably give me many nice compliments, certainly that [one],” Brady said. “It wasn’t something I was trying to do out of any disrespect or ill manner or anything like that.”
Asked whether it would be used for marketing and commercial purposes, Brady replied, “I hope not.”
Brady drew fire from all corners of social media and from columnists and sports radio talkers, managing to aggravate yet another New York fan base. Former Jets quarterback Boomer Esiason told WEEI in Boston that he planned to “fight tooth and nail” until the application was withdrawn. New York Reps. Peter T. King, a Republican, and Tom Suozzi, a Democrat, found common ground on the matter. “I feel like Tom Brady, it’s bad enough he’s deflating footballs. Now he’s deflating his reputation,” King said (via TMZ). “There’s only one ‘Tom Terrific,’ and that’s Tom Seaver.” Said Suozzi: “He’s a Republican. I’m a Democrat. And we both agree there will always only be one ‘Tom Terrific.’”
The timing of Brady’s application was “especially galling” to one Mets fan, “given Seaver’s health.” In March, it was announced that the 74-year-old would be making no more public appearances because he has dementia.
The 1967 National League rookie of the year, Seaver won the NL Cy Young Award three times and compiled a 311-205 record with a 2.86 ERA, 3,640 strikeouts and 61 shutouts from 1967 to 1986. He pitched for the Mets from 1967 until 1977, when his desire for a new contract led to a feud with the team and he was traded to Cincinnati. He returned to the team for the 1983 season and also played for the Chicago White Sox and Boston Red Sox. He made 16 starts for the Red Sox in 1986, going 5-7 in his final season in baseball.
Long before Seaver became synonymous with Tom Terrific, that name referred to a cartoon character (along with his pooch, Mighty Manfred the Wonder Dog) on Terrytoons’ 1950s cartoon, which appeared on the “Captain Kangaroo” TV show. Terrytoons’ two Tom Terrific registrations have expired.
Over the years, the label has been applied to Brady, usually on social media and occasionally by the team he plays for.