Super Bowl LV : Greatness

Updated: Feb 18

Since I entered double digits being alive, I’ve been able to watch the greatest athlete, in my opinion, in American sport history do his job. I’m very lucky I get to say this, not many people do. The only reason I do not envy those who crammed around the ring to see Jack Johnson, sit in the stands to see Babe Ruth, watch Muhammad Ali, Jordan, Kobe or Lebron on television is because I had my own.

Tom Brady was drafted by my hometown team, and the head coach who still coaches us today. For almost 20 years, I got to witness consistent greatness, consistently. Every year we were competitive, every year it seemed like since i was a very young kid, there were play off parties and endless celebrations going on. For. Twenty. Years.

Sure, a lot of credit obviously lays at the feet of the man who drafted him, assembled the team, stoked the culture and all that. But, I think more, and I feel like more and more are waking up to this something that I’ve always believed, is just how much lay at the feet of Tom Brady. One human being. The man, his work ethic, intelligence, his acuity, hunger, his drive. The consistent dedication to his craft, the responsibility he felt to his teammates, his love and loyalty to the team who gave him an opportunity to play professional sports. He never let us down. Ever.

My first memory is the snow bowl. I was leaving my uncles, it was close to Christmas. Fresh memories from when it all began back in the early 2000s.

We were so bad for so long, and here we were. Every year, competitive. Not to mention so many wasted years in there too. He was on board for every one of them. He got injured. I’ll never forget that year. Or the excitement for when he came back.

Did he tail off in OTA’s and practices toward the end here, sure he did-and I would too.

Belichicks coaching ego didn’t allow other egos in the room, for Gronk retired rather than play like a kid in detention, same was true with Tom I’m sure. Although his class won’t allow petty things like that to drip out.

I understand a head coach wanting all of his players ordinarily to adhere to his program, but this one human being, maybe two more f you include the greatest tight end ever, were far from ordinary. I think some who didn’t see this then are seeing this now in plain sight. He was the reason we turned around. Those early 2000s Patriots teams are amongst the greatest collection of professional sport talent that has ever been assembled. Credit the coach for that. And all of the players who were undoubtedly leaders when Tom was just finding his way. But credit the quarterback with making it all work, whatever collection it was at the time-to compete.

We always competed.

That’s the one thing you know now. If Tom Brady, at age 44, comes to your team next year you know one thing for certain-you will compete. Will you win? Will you make it to the super bowl? Who knows. That’s not up to him. That’s not in his control. But what is in his control, you can bet your last dollar that he will control it, or them. Whatever it or they are.

Tom Brady is a master at what he does. What he does isn’t just play quarterback-he competes. He teaches. He helps. He builds. You can’t say enough good things about him. Sure, say plenty of bad things about him politically or socially or romantically, if you so choose-that’s none of my business. What’s my business, or more accurately what was my business (since it is hard to let him go and see him succeed with another jersey on) is me getting yet another opportunity to bear witness to the greatest of all time at what he does, getting to go out there and do his job all over again. Does he throw the same long balls he threw to Randy Moss? Surely not. But he can still land them long, and that’s what counts, isn’t it? At his age? Have you ever seen a more dedicated and purely competitive athlete up close and personal? Save for Zdeno Chara, who can compare in terms of pure hard work dedication and pain dedicated to a cause to a team-In my life Tom takes the cake. Tom stands tall, taller than any single athlete I have ever seen in my life. And I’ve seen many. This doesn’t mean Lebron isn’t the best basketball player, or anything like that. He is, if you think so. I’m focusing on the motivation, the drive, why Tom Brady is still the best at what he does. Answer lies in his heart, in his head.

Translates into his fingertips.

St. Patrick’s Day 2020 was when Murphy’s Law came for the laws of the universe. I’ll never forget looking at my phone that day during work to learn that Tom Brady was leaving my hometown team. I’ll never forget the anger the shock and disappointment that washed over me being in a car while it was raining in midtown Manhattan.

How could this be? Why? Where was Bill? The day I learned my hometown team lost our hero was the same day I learned that I lost my job, and more than likely had to leave my beloved adopted city. Because of the uncertainties surrounding an unknown contagion that just entered our land. I’ll never forget that day. The confusion. But I won’t let it dampen me. I’ll never forget being able to see this man do his thing. I will never again see such a thing in my life. And that’s alright. I’m content now with saying how I got to watch my own Babe Ruth, my own Jack Johnson. Up close and personal. How can you ever replace the lessons, or the fun! Good luck Tommy. We love you.

Edited 2/16

Congratulations to Tom his team and to his entire family on yet another Super Bowl ring. Having watched the mic’d up portion of the highlights, I can tell why you won the game. Because you won the game before the kick off. Your team showed up ready to go to work, the other team showed up shouting into the air about nothing talking trash without a point on the board. You won the game because of your tireless selfless dedication to your team, to your teammates and to your own work ethic. You won the game because you are the greatest quarterback and possibly one of the greatest competitive athletes ever to play a major North American sport. I’ve never seen a general like you on the football field. Madden and College has infected the art of playing QB. No one else knows the game before the snap like Tom Brady does. It’s his genius. There will be no other athlete like you in my life. I’m so upset at my team for letting you go, not because I don’t appreciate my head coach, but because when you have Babe you do not let him go. You do not just let him walk. You do not, not pay him. Nor do you sabotage a championship by benching your most important defensive player in the biggest game of the year, to maintain the perception of team above all. When the ‘team’ is a man’s ego. Unparalleled talent requires unparalleled critique of your own philosophy of how you coach a football team. Maybe this explains why Tom was here as long as he was to begin with. Zero explanations, and countless, actually a years worth, of finger pointing caca articles and sound bites creating noise to distract you from the facts at hand. I will always root for you man, how could I not. You are my hero. Thank you for being with us for as long as you were, for taking the paycuts you took, for putting up with the crap teams and the selfish decisions made by our coach. Thanks for giving us a great ride, and you’re welcome for acquiring some of the mind of the greatest coach of all time. You know Tommy, you wouldn’t be anything without Bill. It’s just about, high, time that the inverse become true as well in peoples perceptions. I will never apologize for nor stop being critical of, the lack of accountability. Why didn’t anyone ask Bill why didn’t you give a contract extension to tour star QB who helped win you 6 rings? Why did you force the greatest right end of all time to retire? Why didn’t ANYONE ask Bill why he forced Tom to sign with TB? Not one single local Boston reporter asked Bill the question, he was just allowed to pretend like Tom walked away unprecipitated. Of course, leaving out how all Tom wanted was a 2 year extension. Not to mention, the man’s team was hollowed out, his salary wasn’t what he asked it to be and he was being treated as if he just started playing the game. This simply does not fly with one of the greats of all time, two greats of all times actually.

The same exact way that Bill would never stand to be treated as if he just started the game. That’s how he treated Tom and Rob.

And shame on him, but more importantly shame on the press, for not giving us the full story nor much of any accountability. I hope we rebuild, I hope our head coach has continued success. I hope that Tom does as well. None of this should’ve happened, but I’m happy to see Tom happy. We will always love you.

Thank you

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