Editor’s note: This is the final post in a week-long series which will ask fans to determine the face of each pro sports franchise in Boston. We’ve already gotten answers for the Red Sox, Bruins, Patriots and Celtics.
All this week, we’ve asked you to vote on the face of each Boston sports franchise, and the votes are in.
While we now know which players best represent each team, it’s time to take it a step further.
Which athlete represents the face of Boston sports?
The list begins with Thomas Edward Patrick Brady Jr., and for many folks, it ends there, too.
He’s been the Patriots’ starting quarterback since 2001, only missing time with his knee injury in 2008. He is, of course, a three-time Super Bowl champion, two-time Super Bowl MVP, two-time NFL MVP and arguably the best to ever play his position. He’s shown very few, if any, signs of slowing down, averaging 37 touchdowns and nine interceptions per year in his five seasons since 2007.
While to some folks, Brady’s reputation has taken somewhat of a hit since not earning another Lombardi Trophy in — gasp! — eight whole seasons, there’s little doubt that when Brady’s career finally ends, he’ll forever be remembered as a legend in New England.
As soon as the name is brought up, images of the undersized second baseman diving around the infield and launching bombs immediately come to mind. Since joining the team full-time in 2007, he’s won a World Series, Rookie of the Year, MVP and two Gold Gloves, and he’s been willing to bat anywhere in the lineup without complaint. Those are all big reasons why his No. 15 jersey is among the most popular seen around Fenway Park these days.
Perhaps the best indication of Pedroia’s popularity among fans is that despite the team’s free-fall in public opinion since September 2011, he remains what most fans consider to be the heart and soul of the team and the best hope for the team to eventually turn around its fate.
The longest-tenured member of the Bruins, it’s hard to believe Patrice Bergeron is still just 27 years old. The talented two-way forward has always shown maturity beyond his years, going back to his rookie season of 2003-04, when he scored 16 goals and added 23 assists as an 18-year-old. Following the ’04-’05 lockout, he led the team with 73 points in ’05-’06 and posted 70 points the next season. His career was threatened by a serious concussion suffered in 2007, and he faced another concussion scare the following season.
Yet, Bergeron persevered to get back to the B’s, and he eventually scored what turned out to be the game-winning goal in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final. It’s still early in Bergeron’s career, but it’s hard to picture him ever playing anywhere other than with the Black and Gold.
“Six-seven, from Kansas, the captain, and The Truth, number 34, Paullllll Pierce!”
It’s been the introduction for Pierce since 2003, as the Los Angeles native has fully embraced life as a Boston Celtic since he was drafted in 1998, and if all goes according to plan, it will continue until the day he retires.
He will finish his career one day with either the second-most or most games ever played in a Celtics uniform in the history of the storied franchise, which alone says plenty about Pierce. He’s also second all time in Celtics scoring with more than 23,700 points, second behind only Larry Bird in scoring average, fourth in assists, seventh in rebounds, his name among legends and Hall of Famers in too many categories to list.
Nicknames can often be a silly thing in sports, but there’s no question that Pierce has proven to be The Truth.