Some people woke up this morning to the news that somehow, some way, Tom Brady pulled off the greatest comeback in Super Bowl history.
Those same people no doubt saw that the Falcons had the game well in hand with the score 28-3 in the 3rd quarter, and either went to bed, or changed the channel. I can imagine that many columnists in Atlanta got a head start on their Monday morning columns, outlining how the Falcons were Super Bowl Champions for the first time in franchise history.
But if you are a sports fan, you know that “It Ain’t Over ‘Til It’s Over.”
What followed was a performance that no doubt cements Tom Brady’s legacy as the greatest quarterback to ever play the game. Now, I’m not a Tom Brady fan, but you simply cannot argue with the man’s accomplishments. There is simply no one else who has done as much as Brady has, or has performed at as high a level over this long of a career. The man is almost 40 years old (ancient, by football standards) and he just put together one of the best seasons of his career, with no signs of slowing down. If he can somehow manage to stay healthy, he could realistically play another 3 or 4 years and still be effective, essentially shattering every quarterback record there is. Who saw this coming?
The answer? No one.
But Brady has lived with this throughout his entire football career.
He didn’t even start on his college football team. He was drafted in the 6th round. Heck, six quarterbacks were taken ahead of him in the 2000 NFL draft, which in hindsight only produced two names you would even recognize (Chad Pennington, Marc Bulger), and only then if you were a true football fan. I won’t rehash the story everyone has heard by now. I believe they made a documentary about it called The Brady Six (?). Look it up.
Anyway, this is not intended to be a love story to Tom Brady. Hardly. I think it more of a love story to sports in general. The drama that unfolds in sports is often so unbelievable that it just has to be true. And more importantly, I believe that sports can be a great teaching tool for us in our daily lives.
There are many people out there who have been overlooked and underappreciated their entire lives. You’ve probably lost count of how many times you were passed over in favor of someone else. It’s been happening for so long that now you may be able to look further back on your life than you can look ahead. By now, you probably think your story is written. The columnists are just putting the finishing touches on it before going to print. It’s too late to make a real impact or a significant mark on this world.
But it’s not.
The Atlanta Falcons and their fans no doubt felt pretty good about their chances heading into the 4th quarter last night with a 19-point lead. Maybe they even began to roll the credits in their mind. And if that’s true, then we now know that that was a BIG mistake. You can’t stop fighting whether you’re winning or losing. If you stop being aggressive, then you are essentially giving up.
Whether you’ve spent tens of thousands of dollars for a degree that qualifies you to work in an industry you have no interest working in, or you feel that you’ve been stuck in the same dead-end job for decades without ever really identifying what you were truly meant to achieve in this life, it is never too late to fight for something you believe in.
Even if the odds seem insurmountable, you cannot give up the fight. If you feel like you’re running out of time and you’d rather just throw in the towel, then I would challenge you to look at last night’s game as a reminder that it’s never too late for a comeback.
What is something you’ve always wanted to do but now you’re afraid you missed out on the opportunity? Well, if you haven’t tried by now, you may never know what opportunities still exist. The important thing is that you don’t waste the time that you have. It’s time to get to work.
Many people are writing this morning about how once the Patriots started their comeback, they knew that they would win. I disagree. I believe that the Patriots knew how much time was left and what needed to be done, and they just went to work. They did the best they could with the time they had left. And they executed. One play at a time. One first down at a time. And they methodically did the best with what they could control.
One the other side of the ball, there was total panic. You could see it begin to unfold. The Falcons had dominated for the first 45 minutes of the game, but once they saw the Patriots have a little bit of success they started to press and got out of sync. Because instead of playing to win, they started to play not to lose.
You never know the outcome until the final second ticks off the clock. That’s why you play for a full 60 minutes. If you do your job, and execute, you may be just good enough to get to overtime. But you cannot throw in the towel.
Who knows, you may be the next overlooked person to go on to be the best! But in order for that to take place, you need to get to work now, and not worry about the time you’ve lost. Do the best with the time you have. It’s not too late for your comeback.