I am not a hero worshiper. For that matter, I do not worship anyone except the creator who made me. Do I love ferociously? A resounding yes is my answer. Do I admire people? Another yes. Tom Brady has earned that right as one of those people. Let me explain.
The Golden Era for the New England Patriots
I am from Massachusetts, and for twenty years, we reveled in the golden era of football for the New England Patriots. Now, I was not a football fan until after age 40. Long ago, my dear father tried to explain this not-so-complicated game to me. I could not comprehend that, for the most part, a team must get ten yards in four downs before the ball went to the other team. My father, who was usually quite patient, became exasperated when I could not reconcile it as that simple. As someone who watched other sports off and on over the years, I preferred baseball (no, I did not find it boring), hockey, and basketball. Hence, I threw in the towel regarding football.
Finally, I took an interest when the Patriots began to show some promise with Drew Bledsoe’s arrival. I started to watch football with my husband. We were taking in the game when Mr. Bledsoe was injured. As a result, the expectation was for an unknown to fill these shoes. I vividly remember a reporter interviewing the young Mr. Brady before he stepped into his role. All of us wondered how this sixth-round pick would replace the much-coveted Mr. Bledsoe. Well, as you know, the rest is history.
According to a news report of long ago, before Mr. Brady’s rise, he would stand in line at clubs. When the obscure quarterback shared with women that he was a New England Patriot, most did not believe him. I am sure many thought he was pretending. Little did they know at the time, he was telling the truth. Also, they might look back and wonder what would have happened if they had not rebuffed him.
Tom Brady’s Rise to the Top
Mr. Brady’s rise brought much attraction from well-known luminaries. He had a scene in a movie, dated a movie star, and met his wife, the famous Gisele. I have often stated that neither one of them dated the other for money or fame because both had it. Along with Mr. Brady’s fame came continued success in many categories of his life.
For twenty years, New Englanders were blessed with Mr. Brady’s dedication under Bill Belichick’s tutelage and with the support of the Patriots’ owner Robert Kraft. Together, they brought us six super bowls and thrilled New Englanders beyond their wildest dreams. When Mr. Brady decided to depart, many of us were disappointed, hoping the rumors were false. Alas, they were not.
Although I was not watching much football these past few years, I was taken aback by his decision to leave beloved fans who cheered him on. Eventually, I reminded myself we have the right to choose our path and that Mr. Brady decided to depart New England for a new chapter in his life. Some would say he was self-serving. I do not know, but aren’t we all in some ways?
While Mr. Brady resided in New England, he was most engaging. Early on, an older woman regaled him with her football knowledge, and he gifted her with his helmet, as reported in her obituary. Mr. Brady was polite, and his answers depicted a thoughtful, intelligent man whose acumen went beyond his athletic prowess. He answered reporters’ questions patiently, and from everything I heard, he remained humble, always giving credit to his team members. The naysayers will say, “No way.” I would conjecture they are wrong for a man who has reached such a lofty stature. He remains close to his family, and his concerns for his parents’ health around COVID impacted his practice before the Superbowl. Mr. Brady may be aware of his achievements, but there is a difference between arrogance and confidence in his abilities.
No matter one’s success, luck does play a role, but without ceasing upon it, does it matter? Mr. Brady may have been in the right place at the right time when Mr. Bledsoe was injured. He took that opportunity and went beyond everyone’s expectations, maybe his own. His diligence, tenacity, and resilience have had no bounds, as exemplified by his determination to continue playing football until he cannot. Mr. Brady’s work ethic continues to be legendary. Yes, merit supersedes all. Talent may be a gift, but one must hone it to operationalize it as effectively as it has for Mr. Brady and the team he plays. Dissenters will say he is hypercompetitive. Yes, how could he not be? To continue wearing the crown, one would expect little else. To maintain his superiority, he knows that hard work and discipline are the only factors that will ward off the impending age-related limitations.
A Class Act and American Icon
I will take a page from a close friend by stating that Tom Brady remains a class act. Along with many other New Englanders, I applaud him and hope for continued success in his professional life and other endeavors. We should all be thankful for what he has accomplished for his team and his fans. Thank you, Tom Brady, for being a true American icon! You have earned your place with the great ones!