Me to Group: “Hi, my name is Scott and I’ve accepted that Tom Brady is the greatest of all time.”
Group Response: “Hi Scott.”
More important than accepting it, I’ve decided to appreciate it. That’s the key to my sanity as a pro football fan, and particularly as a Bills fan. Yes, Tom Brady is the greatest of all time at his position, the most important position in football. And perhaps the toughest position in all of pro sports. For the last 5 years or so, it was always in the back of my head. I would hear sports pundits proclaim it here and there, and like many, I would always point out that he hadn’t quite surpassed Joe Montana. But barring injury I knew he would, and I’m sure I’m not alone.
So anyway, here’s the thing – we are witnessing a true legend. This past Sunday’s epic Super Bowl comeback by Brady and his fellow Patriots (and epic Falcons meltdown, by the way) sealed it. This is not just the guy who has had his foot on the Bills’ throats for 16 years. This is Babe Ruth. This is Michael Jordan. This is Wayne Gretzky. This is Tiger Woods during his first 10 years. Sorry, but he’s that good. Now in historical retrospect, who really hates Babe Ruth other than an advanced age group of Red Sox fans? Who really hates Michael Jordan other than hardcore Knicks and Jazz fans over the age of 35?
That’s how I’ve chosen to view Tom Brady. Not only because it will limit the inevitable depression that results from the 2 days each year during which he slaps my team around, but also because it just makes sense. The guy has now officially transcended any rivalry (not that Bills vs. Pats is really a rivalry), any punditry, and petty sports fan bitterness. 5 Super Bowl rings, 7 Conference Championships, 11 Conference Championship appearances, 14 division titles, most wins in NFL history by a QB and many meaningful records that are either held by him or within his reach.
I had the good fortune of witnessing Michael Jordan play against The Hawks in Atlanta during what was supposed to be his last season in 1998. What I remember most about being at that game were the thousands of blinding flashbulbs that went off every time Jordan touched the ball. No one seemed to care who won the game. I know I didn’t. I was just grateful to see a sports legend in person, an athlete whose greatness is unlikely to be matched in my lifetime.
So I’m choosing to appreciate Tom Brady instead of be maddened by him. It’s much healthier. Because after all, it looks it may be a while before he’s done.
Group Response: “Thanks for sharing, Scott.”
Thanks for reading.