Before the start of the NFL season, New England Patriots fans were in a position to contemplate a most intriguing question: Who would fare better, the Pats without Tom Brady or Tom Brady without the Pats?
That question was answered in a most definitive way on Sunday, when the seemingly ageless Brady led his Tampa Bay Buccaneers to the world championship by decisively beating the defending champs, the Kansas City Chiefs.
Since sports is all about statistics, let’s line up a few. It was Brady’s seventh Super Bowl title. The Bucs beat the Chiefs on their home field 31-9 in Super Bowl 55, with Brady earning his fifth Super Bowl MVP award.
It was Brady’s first Super Bowl title without the Pats and, significantly, without coach Bill Belichick. Brady is joined only by Peyton Manning, a Hall of Famer, as a quarterback to win a Super Bowl with more than one franchise.
Also, as the Associated Press reported in its post-game story, Brady at 43 “broke his own mark for oldest player to win a Super Bowl.”
Who can blame a Pats fan for feeling the team let its star slip away too soon?
Everybody has their favorite player. That’s part of what being a sports fan is all about. But at this point it’s fair to say that Brady has entered a more exalted realm. Brady told CBS after the Super Bowl win in 2019 (his sixth with the Patriots) that he preferred “trash” to “GOAT” because it gave more incentive for improvement, which is understandable. Where is up when you’re already the greatest of all time?
Consider how fortunate you are to have watched Tom Brady throw a pass, the way fans were lucky to have seen Babe Ruth swing a bat. It doesn’t come around very often.
You have to tip your hat.