On Wednesday, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers held a boat parade in Tampa to celebrate their Super Bowl victory. During the parade, quarterback Tom Brady decided to throw the Lombardi Trophy to his fellow teammates on another boat. Brady launched the trophy with a two-hand throw. The silver trophy arched over the bay, glittering in the sun, and landed in the awaiting hands of Tight End Cameron Brate.
Immediately, the video of this throw became viral. Viewers and commentators were aghast that someone with the status of Tom Brady would be so dismissive of such a cherished and sought-after prize as the Lombardi Trophy. Many commentators asked the question, what would have happened if Brady had missed the throw, or Cameron Brate did not make the catch? The trophy would have sunk to the bottom of the bay, and a very expensive and exhaustive search would have ensued, possibly never finding their original Super Bowl Trophy. Many people could not get their heads around why Brady would have made such a throw.
Yes, it is true that if Brady had missed the throw, they may have lost the Lombardi Trophy forever. But it is also true, that if Brady had missed the throws to Rob Gronkowski and Antonio Brown in the end zone during the Super Bowl game, then the Buccaneers also would have lost the Lombardi Trophy. This is the difference between the Super Bowl champion, the GOAT mentality (I’m going to make the throw) versus the loser mentality (what if I miss the throw?). This is why Brady is the GOAT.
In 2001, Tom Brady, former 6th round draft choice, had no business believing that he could make the necessary throws to outperform and beat out former number one overall pick, Drew Bledsoe, but he did. He was the only one who thought he could do it. In that same season, very few people actually believed that Tom Brady could lead the upstart New England Patriots over the former Super Bowl champs, and the “greatest show on turf”, St. Louis Rams, but he did. And when the score was tied with less than 2 minutes left in the game, and most people thought he should’ve just taken a knee, and gone to overtime, Tom Brady said, “I’m going to wing it”, just like he did on the boat a few days ago. Brady made several tight-window throws on that final drive, flirting with possible interceptions, and led the team into field-goal range to win the Super Bowl that night.
Being fearless to make the throw, and executing the throw, sums up why Tom Brady has hoisted the Lombardi Trophy seven times, and why he is universally regarded as the Greatest Of All Time, even the great Jerry Rice conceded that fact a few days ago. Not only does this incident sum up Tom Brady’s career and life, it should be a lesson to everyone about living a fearless life. We are going to be expected to make “difficult throws” in our lives, and we must not only make these throws fearlessly, but with the utmost confidence not only in our ability, but in our preparation to execute them. That is the mentality of a Champion. They do not allow the negative consequences to scare them away from attempting “difficult throws” that they know they can and should make in life.
This seemingly trivial incident shed a light on the mentality of one of the greatest athletic performers and competitors in American sports history, and it should not pass unnoticed or even misinterpreted by those fearful souls who shy away from competition, and never hoist the trophy.
Judd Garrett is a former NFL player, coach, and executive. He is a frequent contributor to the website Real Clear Politics. He has recently published his first novel, No Wind.