The edge of greatness
AP photo by Paul Sancya
I have been wondering all day what it must be like to be Tom Brady today. This day. The day after losing to the Giants in the Super Bowl for the second time.
Sure, he has a beautiful supermodel wife who has earned nearly a billion dollars. Brady and his family could live off his personal wealth into the next century. He is handsome, intelligent and is probably a really nice guy. He is a sure-fire first ballot Hall of Famer when he retires.
But yesterday the distinction between being considered great at something and achieving greatness in that endeavor came clearly into focus. Three Super Bowl rings — exceptional, amazing, great. Four Super Bowl rings — rarified air, right there with Joe Montana and Terry Bradshaw, greatness. More than four? We may never know.
What we do know is that an opportunity slipped away with the field clock yesterday as time ran out on the Patriots team — and Tom Brady, in particular. Everyone knew what was at stake going in, and everyone knew what had been lost as the Giants celebrated their well-earned victory.
The team was doing it for Myra Kraft; they were doing it for the fans. But it really was Tom Brady’s opportunity to cement his legacy as one of the all-time great quarterbacks, maybe the greatest ever. His name will always be in the discussion, but it likely will never be at the top, unquestioned.
Tom Brady feels bad, Wes Welker feels bad, millions of Patriots fans feel bad about losing a game that the team was favored to win. But the sadness is about much more than that. It’s the recognition that a moment has passed, a singular moment that serves to separate humanity from something supernatural, something permanent and immortal.
It’s reserved for very few and it’s name is Greatness. We know it when we see it.