Tom Brady and the Patriots: Leaving God Out of the Super Bowl

Once again, I’m compelled to write about my love-hate relationship with Tom Brady.

It wasn’t supposed to happen this year. Brady was suspended for the first four games of the season because of “Deflategate.”  That penalty was supposed to ensure the Patriots would lose their first four games. Instead, the Evil Empire Patriots defied expectations and went 3-1.

And they defied expectations during the Super Bowl with the biggest comeback in Super Bowl history. Headlines across the Internet claim the Patriots played the “greatest Super Bowl yet” and “Tom Brady Stands alone as NFL’s greatest after rescuing Patriots in Super Bowl.

Excuse me while I throw up…

Why I Hate (and Love) Tom Brady

There are two main reasons that I hate Tom Brady and the Patriots. First, they win. They beat my Seahawks in the 2015 Super Bowl. That game was also dubbed one of the greatest Super Bowls ever, because it came down to the last few seconds. And last night they scored 31 consecutive points in an epic comeback to win yet another Super Bowl.

The second reason that I hate Tom Brady is because my wife has a massive crush on the man. Like, MASSIVE. She always roots for the Patriots.

Did I mention that I hate Tom Brady?

When the Patriots beat the Seahawks in 2015, I admitted that the reason I hate Tom Brady so much is because he’s everything that I want to be. I envy the fact that he wins all the time. Why can’t the Seahawks win? And I’m jealous that my wife, and seemingly every woman in America, thinks he’s hot. But the flip side of envy is admiration. So, as hard as this is to admit, while I hate Tom Brady, I can’t help but respect the man for his game … and for being so damn hot.

But there’s something else that I admire about Brady – his secularism when it comes to football.

Here’s what I mean – during an interview after the game, Brady said nothing about God. He didn’t thank God. If the Seahawks won the Super Bowl, you bet Russel Wilson would be thanking God all over the place.

God, the Beatitudes, and the Super Bowl

I love God, so it may sound strange to you that I’d rather athletes not thank God after winning a game. Why? Because it reflects a theology that doesn’t match Christianity. Thanking God for winning a game is to claim that God is on the side of the winners. But over and over again, Jesus tells us that God blesses the “losers” of society.

Take the Beatitudes, for example. Jesus doesn’t say “Blessed are the winners!” Rather, he flips our understanding who is “blessed” upside down.

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.

Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.

Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.

Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Thanking God for winning a Super Bowl reflects a misunderstanding of who God is, at least from a Judeo-Christian point of view. Jesus was formed by his Jewish background. It’s a background with stories that made the radical claim that God hears the cry of the victims of human culture. God heard the cry of Abel when his brother killed him. God heard the cry of Israel when it was oppressed by the Egyptians. God heard the cry of the widows, orphans, and immigrants. Jesus, following these stories, said that God blesses the poor, the meek, the hungry, and those who are persecuted.

After such an amazing come from behind victory, it would be tempting to see something supernatural behind it. Some “divine plan” lurking behind the scenes to bless the Patriots with an epic comeback. But God doesn’t create winners and losers in football games, or in politics, economics, race relations, housing, etc. We are the ones who create winners and losers. And it’s our responsibility to work for a more just and blessed world.

So, when it comes to winning the Super Bowl, I’d rather we be more like Tom Brady. I’d rather we keep God out of it.

Image: Screenshot from Youtube: “Super Bowl 51 Postgame Celebration and Trophy Presentation – Patriots vs Falcons” by Mic’d Up & More.

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