Last weekend, like millions of Americans, I watched Tom Brady win another Super Bowl. In doing so, the legendary quarterback provided America a timely message that our culture desperately needs. And he did so without having to take a knee.
In his first year as a Tampa Bay Buccaneer, Brady defeated the reigning champions, the Kansas City Chiefs, by a score of 31- 9 in his 10th Super Bowl appearance. At 43, Brady's age showed in certain areas, but perhaps most importantly, he still knew how to survive the sudden attack of the Chief's defenders – AKA the blitz.
Cards on the table: I have watched the NFL for years, but this season I only watched the Super Bowl.
Chalk up my largely abandoned fandom to the recent addition of politics in professional sports leagues. For me, that sort of intrusion taints the beauty of sports.
While I don't hold a hard and fast opinion on the events surrounding the national anthem controversy, I do believe that football should remain a sacred space, when so few hallowed spaces remain.
Americans need a place to unite under one flag, without having to think about the ongoing historical or identity politics. This way, our heroes can show what makes America great and how to improve our country, rather than force it upon us.
For example, Brady's leadership shows why quality character should be instilled in all Americans.
This past year, as in many previous years, he built and led a talented football team. He dispelled any notion that his winning ways were merely the product of New England's top-notch coach.
Indeed, he has traveled far from the early years as a California kid who didn't have "the right build" and was "too skinny" for the pros.
Brady is simply a hard worker who strode into the Super Bowl to play the game of his life. That success requires character.
Of course, it also requires skill, but all Americans can learn a thing or two from the former Patriots quarterback; Brady won namely because he could see the blitz coming.
He used the Chief's aggression against them by dropping in short screens to move the chains. He established a ground game, then opened up the longball into the endzone.
In his previous nine Super Bowl games, Brady had never thrown a touchdown pass in the first quarter. That ended Sunday when he threw an 8-yard touchdown pass to tight end Rob Gronkowski seconds before the quarter ended.
By end of the first half, Brady had added two more and was throwing for 80% completion. Brady made it clear that his strategy was too much for the younger Patrick Mahomes and the Chief's squad.
Of course as a Republican, it's nice to know that Brady may hold likeminded beliefs according to media reports, but that isn't why I enjoy watching him play.
I was aware there had been some negative reactions due to his apparent political persuasion and his relationship with former President Trump. But I was never sure why the acquaintance caused an unfavorable response.
After all, is it the job of an athlete to non cogitas oppose the president?
Sometimes, it is unavoidable when sports truly is the only mouthpiece to injustice, but as a general rule, I hold that sports are best served as a stage for national catharsis.
Consider this: When eligible for the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1962, Jackie Robinson asked voters to only consider his on-field qualifications, rather than his cultural impact on the game.
Again, the stage of sports should be revered because we all need a break from the profane and mundane in rudimentary politics that has pervaded nearly every aspect of entertainment, media and culture.
We know about the wall between church and state, but what about a wall between the field and party politics?
This wall should respect our private moments, where we can come together to bask in the achievements of our celebrated athletic heroes.
In America, our nation's athletic icons like NBA star Michael Jordan, tennis star Serena Williams, Olympian Michael Phelps, and, as if he needed to add any more to his resume, Tom Brady, become our heroes because they fulfill their callings not with the proper political opinions but by demonstrating their fortitude and strength of will. In short, their actions speak for themselves.
In triumph, our heroes show the great qualities of valor and virtue, what the Greeks called arete.
Events like the Super Bowl, the World Series, or Stanley Cup, provide the stage, the heightened moment, for one player to emerge as the GOAT, the greatest of all time.
Right now, Tom Brady is the GOAT.
He deserves America's praise and admiration not because he lives a decent life, or because he supports a certain cause, but because of his performance under fire.
When Brady hoisted his seventh Lombardi Trophy and credited his teammates, one could detect the voice of the great Vince Lombardi himself saying, "The difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge, but rather a lack of will."
When political persuasion enters the arena, that non-sports related conversation tends to drown out such a message. It muddies the water, making it difficult to see true greatness and hear the lesson it teaches us as grit and glory transcend the field of competition.
Brady's lesson came not by words, but by his triumphant spirit. His game last Sunday, as well his entire career, tells all Americans that when you feel the pressure coming — whether it be in personal calamity or in voicing the truth — stay calm, don't let the pressure get you, avoid the blitz, and remember to keep marching forward.
Robert Orlando is a filmmaker, an author, an entrepreneur and a scholar. As an entrepreneur, he founded Nexus Media. As a scholar, he has in-depth knowledge of ancient and modern history and politics. As an award-winning writer/director, his latest films are the thought-provoking documentaries "Apostle Paul: A Polite Bribe," "Silence Patton," and the new release, "The Divine Plan: Reagan, John Paul II and the Dramatic End of the Cold War." His books include "Apostle Paul: A Polite Bribe" and, as co-author, "The Divine Plan." His work was published in "Writing Short Scripts" and he has written numerous articles on a wide range of topics for HuffPost, Patheos, and Daily Caller. To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.
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