Tough for an Indiana guy to say this . . .
Tuesday, February 07, 2017 4:00 AM
Notes scribbled on the back of a pamphlet entitled Proper Inflation Techniques for NFL Footballs . . .
I have long said that generally, I’m a good and kind individual. I donate to charities. I go to church. I try very hard to be courteous to my fellow man . . . well, MOST of them anyways. And when I die, if I venture south instead of north, it will likely be because of my deep-seated hatred for the New England Patriots.
I have found over the years of rooting for the Colts – both the Baltimore and Indianapolis versions – that the Patriots have long been the target of my scorn. I don't remember the two teams playing in the ‘60s when I became a football fan. But in the ‘70s, the then-Boston Patriots always seemed like the one team the Colts could never sweep (they played twice a year). It didn’t matter how good or bad either team was. The Horseshoes would win one game and the Pats the other.
It didn’t help when the Colts came to God’s country via a Mayflower moving truck on a cold, dark night. Didn’t help a’tall. That’s when we stopped splitting games with the confounded New England Patriots and they just won most of them. To make matters worse, just about the time we were waiting for the world to explode in Y2K, Tom (Mr. Perfect) Brady stepped in as quarterback and Bill Belichick as coach. And it really didn’t help a couple of years later when they started their string of seven appearances and five Super Bowl championships in 15 years.
This year, though, something changed.
It began when Brady answered a question (from a cute 7-year-old kid no less) about who his hero is. I hate Brady for being perfect, but a perfect answer couldn’t inspire hate. He said his hero was his dad. He choked up a bit. It didn’t seem fake.
For a guy who asked his own dad to be the best man in his wedding, that answer struck a big-time chord with me.
Then, there’s the situation with his mom and her battle with cancer. Brady kept it quiet and handled it exactly the way a son should.
And finally, there was the game itself. Like most of America, I tuned in and was astounded at how easily the Atlanta Falcons – a team with an owner who looks like a bit player in a B mafia movie – was rolling over the mighty Patriots. Normally, I’d be chuckling with delight at each long Devonta Freeman run or Matt Ryan to Julio Jones pass.
Except I wasn’t.
I found myself mesmerized by Mr. Brady. He stayed focused. His shoulders didn’t slump (well, maybe a little after he threw the interception to Robert Alford who ran it back for a touchdown). As the hole Brady and the Patriots were in grew . . . and grew . . . and grew, he became the perfect example of a lesson far too many people miss. Sometimes, the difference between victory and defeat is one person’s determination. It’s a great business lesson. It’s an even better life lesson.
Brady willed that team to claw and scratch and kick itself back into contention. He carried them from the brink of oblivion to a spot that held a ray of hope, to a tie and finally to the first overtime win in Super Bowl history.
Afterward, he cried. He was with his mom. He was with his hero. His wife and children were there. They hugged.
In that moment, Tom Brady was a son, a husband, a father and a man who found a way when most men would have given up.
I so much want to hate Tom Brady today. I just can’t.
Two cents, which is about how much Timmons said his columns are worth, appears periodically on Tuesdays in The Paper. Timmons is the publisher of The Paper and can be contacted at email@example.com.