Super Bowl awareness is at a high level in Atlanta this week. The New England Patriots and the Los Angeles Rams are in town for the big game and there is a media overload throughout the city.
I don’t know who will win the game, but I am particularly glad that the Rams’ Todd Gurley and the Patriots’ Sony Michel, former University of Georgia running backs, will be representing the Bulldogs in the heralded gridiron contest.
The Patriots enter the game as the 2019 Super Bowl favorites, and it is hard to overlook the talents and ability of Patriots quarterback Tom Brady. He could win his sixth Super Bowl ring and sixth Lombardi Trophy (for the team). Consequently, he would have be considered as a contender for the NFL’s all-time greatest quarterback.
Secondly, he is a senior citizen when it comes to playing professional football. He is eight years older than the Rams’ coach, Sean McVay. According to the NFL Players Association the average career length is about 3.3 years. Brady has been playing for 19 years and has announced his intention to come back next year for another season.
Brady is a master at engineering comeback wins. He has eight postseason come-from-behind victories, his most recent was the 37-31 overtime win over the Kansas City Chiefs for the American Football Conference Championship.
And who can forget the 34-28 overtime win over the Falcons in Super Bowl LI in Houston? Atlanta fans have been kicking themselves ever since. At one point in the game the Patriots winning probability was only 0.3 percent, but Brady orchestrated a miraculous comeback for his team over the “Dirty Birds.”
Don’t ever count Brady and the Patriots out late in the game. The last two minutes of the game is Brady’s time zone. That is where he excels. That is his bailiwick, his sweet spot. At 41-years-old Brady welcomes the challenge of a last-minute uprising. So, I am finding it difficult to pull against the aging Mr. Brady.
Those of us who are in the sunset years of life and maybe in the “two-minute warning” time of life could see Tom Brady as an inspiration – at least an inspiration in terms of drive, determination, and achievement.
I had the privilege of preaching at First Baptist Church in Cartersville last Sunday and we sang “10,000 Reasons.” The words to the song include the following: “Whatever may pass and whatever lies before me, let me be singing when the evening comes.” And then we sang, “And on that day when my strength is falling. The end draws near, and my time has come. Still my soul will sing Your praise unending ten thousand years and then forevermore.”
I thought then and believe now that if Tom Brady can still play professional football and face all the blitzes and sacks and physical abuse an NFL football player has to endure surely I can still serve my Lord and sing praises to him until “my time has come.”
For me finishing well does not mean ending life with a long cushy retirement nor with a pain-free death, but following Christ to the end of my life and singing God’s praises until I join the heavenly choir with the glad hallelujahs of the celestial city.
In the meantime, I have an infallible book to read, believe, live out and preach. I have a Savior who faced a cruel death with joy in his heart (Hebrews 12:2). I have the Holy Spirit who indwells me and enlightens and empowers me. I have a family of faith to encourage me and join me in service. And I also have the promises of Jesus who said, “He that believeth on me, the word that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do, because I go” (John 14:12).
So, I would never trade the Bible for Brady’s playbook, my church for his team, the pulpit for his football, the Holy Spirit for Bill Belichick (Brady’s coach) or my potential reward for his five Super Bowl rings.
I want to say with the Apostle Paul, “I have fought a good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award me on that day, and not only to me but also to all those who have loved his appearing” (II Timothy 4:6-8).