The New England Patriots are Super Bowl LI Champions. As a Patriots fan, I’m on cloud nine. As a Tom Brady fan, I’m even more convinced that he’s the greatest quarterback of all time. And as an ardent defender of the Patriots during “deflate-gate,” I’m still re-watching the clip of the commissioner handing New England the trophy.
In all of my excitement, I keep thinking back to a 2005 60 Minutes interview. You’ve probably seen it. It gets passed around the internet as often as Brady hits Edelman on crossing routes. In the interview a younger “Tom Terrific” reflects on the success he has had to that point. And then he says something shocking. Brady wonders:
Why do I have three Super Bowl rings and still feel like there is something greater out there for me? I mean, maybe a lot of people would say, “Hey man, this is what it is.” I’ve reached my goal, my dream, my life is… Me, I think, “God, it’s got to be more than this.”
To be honest, I was stunned the first time I heard this interview as a high school student. This guy had everything I could ever want: success as a professional athlete, fame, money, etc. He lived the life I dreamed about. The life I worked every day to one day achieve. How could he want or need anything more? Isn’t fame, fortune, and beautiful women enough?
No one has ever explained it better than C.S. Lewis did in Mere Christianity. He says this:
Most people, if they had really learned to look into their own hearts, would know that they do want, and want acutely, something that cannot be had in this world. There are all sorts of things in this world that offer to give it to you, but they never quite keep their promise. The longings which arise in us when we first fall in love, or first think of some foreign country, or first take up some subject that excites us, are longings which no marriage, no travel, no learning, can really satisfy. I am not speaking of what would ordinarily be called unsuccessful marriages or trips or so on; I am speaking of the best possible ones. There is always something we grasped at, in that first moment of longing, that just fades away in the reality. The spouse may be a good spouse, the scenery had been excellent, it has turned out to be a good job, but “It” has evaded us.
Somehow, even with the Super Bowl rings, and the money, and the wonderful family “It” had still evaded my hero. Lately, I’ve been thinking… I wonder if his feelings have changed since that 2005 interview. A lot has changed for TB12 over the last decade. He’s played in 4 Super Bowls since then and won 2 of them. He’s made a lot more money, and he married his wife Giselle. He’s even had 3 kids. Maybe he found what he is looking for.
My guess is that the 5th Super Bowl ring that he won on Sunday still isn’t “It.” Leading the largest comeback in Super Bowl history still isn’t “It.” Embarrassing the power-hungry NFL commissioner who wronged you still isn’t “It” (though I enjoyed watching it). Even his beautiful family isn’t “It.”
The answer is, and always will be, Jesus. “It” can’t be found anywhere else.