Tom Brady is the greatest quarterback of all time. After last night’s NFC Championship victory, Brady is going to his TENTH Super Bowl. Only one other quarterback (John Elway) has even gone to five, and Brady doubles that. Brady has as many NFC Championship wins as Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees, both hall of famers and two more of the greats of this era.
But Brady has many detractors. Sure, I get that there can be fatigue over seeing someone always win. But people were happy to see Tiger win majors and dominate the PGA world. People rooted for Michael Jordan. Why the disdain for Brady?
I’m not a Brady fan but I also don’t dislike him. I do appreciate the greatness.
Brady’s greatness is in his work ethic. He’s gone to four of the last five Super Bowls. As a man who was in his late 30s and early 40s. He’s famous for how he trains, how he prepares, the strict diet that he keeps.
Brady is not the most talented quarterback in the NFL today. He wasn’t the most talented in the NFC Championship. He won’t be the most talented in the Super Bowl. And I think it could be argued that he was never the most talented quarterback in the NFL.
Sure, Brady had talent. He also had some physical tools. He’s a big guy. But lots of quarterbacks have all of that.
But not everyone works as hard as Brady, not everyone takes care of their body like Brady. And that’s what sets him apart.
I was a teenager when Tiger was at his height. It seemed like everyone rooted for Tiger. No one got tired of him winning. Why?
Because our society loves a prodigy.
We had clips of Tiger putting as a 2 year old. He dominated youth tournaments growing up. Tiger seemed like he was born to be a great golfer. LeBron was playing in nationally televised games in high school. LeBron was “the chosen one.”
Don’t get me wrong. Obviously LeBron, and Tiger, and Michael Jordan, and all of the other greats all worked very hard to excel. But I think that when we think that someone has this almost supernatural ability, we can appreciate that talent and that they can do things that mortals cannot.
Everyone love a prodigy. And when we see someone whom we perceive to be a great prodigious talent, that gives us all an excuse to not excel. “Because some people are just born great.”
But Brady isn’t so transcendent. Mainly, he just worked hard. And that’s why people hate him.
Because Brady holds up a mirror to the rest of us about what we could be. And I’m not talking about football. I’m not saying everyone could have been an NFL quarterback. But we all have things where we could exceed if we decided to put in the work to be great.
But many of us choose not to. I’m not saying that we need to all work 20 hours a day and become zealots and act like achievement is the only thing that matters in life (it isn’t). But the concern is that a lot of us never come even close to reaching our potential.
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