Earlier this week NFL columnist Mike Freeman tweeted the following:

So we thought we would test it.

We surveyed 1,000 U.S. adults about their perceptions of the four quarterbacks and four head coaches that made the conference championships two weeks ago. Of these eight people, Drew Brees had the highest positive impressions: 41% positive, with 7% negative (net score of +34). While 37% had positive impressions of Tom Brady, 26% had negative impressions (net score of +12). Patrick Mahomes, probable MVP, had the third highest positives: 30%, with 6% negative (net score of +24).

Bill Belichick tied with Sean McVay for the lowest positives (23%) but had higher negatives (18%), for a net score of +5 compared to McVay’s +17.

What one word comes to mind when people think of Tom Brady? 11% said “cheater”, but only 1% referenced deflation (“deflating footballs”, “deflate-gate”, “deflate”). Additionally, 6% said “good”, 4% “GOAT” [Greatest of All Time], another 4% “greatest”, and 3% each said “talented” or “winner”.

Will he be a winner on Sunday? 38% are rooting for the Rams to win Super Bowl LIII, and 26% are rooting for the Patriots (37% aren’t rooting for either).

Of the 636 with an opinion of Tom Brady, 60% like him and 40% dislike him (compare to the 86-88% with opinions who like Drew Brees, Patrick Mahomes, Andy Reid, Jared Goff, and Sean McVay). While 80% like Sean Payton, only 57% like Bill Belichick.

So Mike is right: most people with an opinion of Tom Brady like him, and not many view him primarily through the lens of cheating.

Check out the slides for more details, including the methodology.

Author Notes:

Jeffrey Henning

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Jeffrey Henning, IPC is a professionally certified researcher and has personally conducted over 1,400 survey research projects. Jeffrey is a member of the Insights Association and the American Association of Public Opinion Researchers. In 2012, he was the inaugural winner of the MRA’s Impact award, which “recognizes an industry professional, team or organization that has demonstrated tremendous vision, leadership, and innovation, within the past year, that has led to advances in the marketing research profession.” In 2022, the Insights Association named him an IPC Laureate. Before founding Researchscape in 2012, Jeffrey co-founded Perseus Development Corporation in 1993, which introduced the first web-survey software, and Vovici in 2006, which pioneered the enterprise-feedback management category. A 35-year veteran of the research industry, he began his career as an industry analyst for an Inc. 500 research firm.