Dearly beloved, we congregate on this Sunday to say a final good-bye to the greatest of all time. A time to be born, a time to thrive, and a time to die.
While we bid farewell, let us not forget the greatness he was. No quarterback ever participated in or won more Super Bowls. From the humble beginnings of a sixth round draft choice that shared even the starting role while in college, he flourished in winter after winter in the Northeast. Whether it be snow or the dead of night, he was always the shining light that brought joy to his many followers.
Along the way he also attracted detractors, those that found his exploits both on and off the field offensive to their hopes and desires. It is that way for the truly great ones, they are as much followed by those that wish for their downfall as those that celebrate their accomplishments.
But, if no one has any other final words before we put his legacy to bed, let us bow our heads and say farewell.
While most began their bow, a voice interrupted the proceedings with not words of surrender, but rather a call that the burial of his greatness is premature. That moving to Florida was not a sign of his retirement, but rather a rebirth with a new cast of characters that is not on the brink of seeing his career end, but rather on the verge of another chapter of greatness.
The voice is not that of any in attendance to bury the great one, but the great one himself.
“I’ve been counted out before,” he announces with resolve in his voice. “I didn’t enter the National Football League with the headlines of a top draft pick, or possess the arm strength of other great quarterbacks, or a body that would grace the cover of any muscle magazine.
“No, my legacy is forged from the challenge to conquer against all odds. I have not only won the most Super Bowls, I also own the greatest comeback in the series history. I have thrown more touchdown passes than anyone and won more games, and I’m not done.”
But, it is said by the assembled congregation, we are not here to dismiss your past greatness, but rather to allow you the dignity to pass into the history of the league without any more need to expose yourself to the rigors and dangers of playing. After all, you are now against men half your age that are bigger, stronger and bent on piledriving you into retirement.
You have nothing left to prove.
“Yes I do,” says the one who is driven to turn his football funeral into a revival. “I have a lot to prove; prove I can win at age 43, prove I can win for my new team and prove that I am not ready to pass the torch of the greatest to the young lad visiting Florida this week, Patrick Mahomes.”
The assembled masses bow their heads, one more time not trusting that the aging man out of Michigan is really up for the task.
It is not the first time he has been doubted. His college head coach at Michigan doubted him, never fully surrendering to him as his team starter. The league scouts doubted him, every team had multiple chances to pick him in the draft before the New England Patriots cashed the greatest ever to play his position with a sixth round pick.
This week, no matter who says they still believe in Tom Brady, know that he is an underdog at home when Mahomes comes calling on Sunday.
I still believe in him, at least in this spot for one last grasp at the golden ring.
Qoxhi Picks: Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+3½) over Kansas City Chiefs