A weird thing happened on January 21st 2018. Did you happen to witness it? There isn’t really a word for what happened on the Gridiron that day. Tom Brady and the New England Patriots were home favorites against a Jacksonville Jaguars team that was young, cocky and talented. We all saw what happened on the field — there is no need to get into the details of how the New England Patriots came from behind in the fourth quarter to pull off the victory against – for all things considered – the best defense in the NFL today. We won’t go into those details because that is not the topic of discussion at hand. For there are levels to this game of football.
There is the beginning, where young men delve into this rugged sport. Some from the start know they aren’t cut out for it, but those that feel they are, endure the pain, the disappointment, the glory – all of it that may or may not lie ahead. . . then after they’ve gone through what they think is the hard part – they realize that there is a a shot at being a legend. They realize there are moments that are immortalized in this sport, and they want to partake in one of those moments. For others though, they strive for greatness, they strive for that bronze bust which cements them forever in the Hall of Fame. Then there is a final level of football. This is more a realm than a level, actually. Very few people get to garner this respect and most do not even think about getting to this level because the bar is so high, some men have contracted vertigo even imagining themselves up on such a perch. That level – this realm – is that of the Football Gods.
Brown, Payton, Unitas, Taylor, Munoz, Hannah, Rice. . . there are maybe ten names which fill out this realm. Some have clouded vision when declaring who these gods really are – but if one is to be honest with themselves, these names are the sure fire ones that fit “the gold standard.”
Not many realized what happened on January 21st 2018. If you blinked, you may have missed it.
With about nine minutes left in the fourth quarter, the skies opened up. Clouds separated among themselves, as if scurrying away from the light which would soon push through the marvelous and great blue which caresses the Earth, like wings, carrying it through the cosmos. There was a loud noise, which pushed against the winds of fortune. It was more like a dragging sound, if one is to tell this tale correctly. . . the sound of a chair’s legs, brushing along the floor. A seat was being pulled out and then it happened – Tom Brady passed the football to Danny Amendola down the middle of the red-zone and scored a touchdown.
The Football Gods, looked to each other – now certain that their debating among themselves was all for not. Unitas looks to Hannah and smirks. Brown’s hand still at the back of the chair with a look on his face that says “I’m not standing here all day.”
A light shone upon the red-zone about six minutes later and with a wave of his finger, Rice makes sure that both of Amendola’s feet stay in bounds as Brady delivers a thing of beauty to him at the back of the end-zone — sealing the come from behind victory.
All of who become Football Gods deliver more pain and anguish to the on-lookers than they do joy to their followers – to be hated only feeds the hunger of the Gods. Thomas Edward Patrick Brady Jr. lives off of that hate like no other of the Football Gods. Brady laughs at the hate. Brady mocks the hate. He sits at his dinner table, sees the hate in front of him, sprinkles animosity on top for flavor and washes it all down with a twenty ounce glass of water infused with electrolytes. He has eaten this hate for over 10 years.
The Football Gods have noticed. They even tried tripping him up. They threw the obstacle of the New York Giants at him twice – only to watch him fail – consume more hate – and climb back on top of that mountain called Greatness (which now is looking to physically plant itself in Foxborough, Massachusetts just so the walk up and down the hill is a little easier for the man who is now forty years of age.)
The Football Gods thought they had him when they threw the best defense they could put together in years with the Seattle Seahawks – only to see him raise the trophy. Then they pitted him up against a ‘hopefully newer’ and younger version of himself – who was surrounded by more talent than him in Matt Ryan — only to see Brady lead the greatest comeback in Super Bowl history.
Brown has taken a seat next to the one he pulled out, as Payton tells him “it’s not over, yet.”
Brady, in two weeks will get his chance at yet another Super Bowl victory. Win or lose though, his seat will be waiting for him. He will be sitting at the same table with the Football Gods by the end of this season.