ESPN’s TV broadcast of Monday Night Football between the Patriots and Bills included a strange animated short featuring Tom Brady and Bill Belichick.

Based on the classic “Love Actually” gag of a lover flipping through sign cards outside the home of a desired partner, the scene was decidedly pro-TB12. Belichick is seen reminiscing about his golden years with Brady as quarterback in New England; his team will miss the playoffs this year while Brady and the Buccaneers are postseason bound.

At the end of the animated short, Brady shuts the front door in Belichick’s face.

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Something about the animated versions of Brady and Belichick are off-putting, even if the idea is funny. It definitely ventures into uncanny valley territory.

Brady showing up in full Buccaneers uniform is a bit bizarre. And Belichick almost looks … not villainous?

Patriots fans will be quick to point out that New England has played right at its expectations this year given its lean 2020 roster, while Brady has at times struggled despite an all-world cast of receivers. But after decades of ruthless NFL dominance, it’s probably time for those supporters to get used to being the butt of jokes.

They can ask their Monday night opponent, now at the top of the AFC East after years of turmoil, how to handle it.

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