By 41 years of age, some men peer warily down upon their untied shoelaces, dreading the pain attendant with bending to complete what used to be an innocent task.
Tom Brady is not one of those men. For him, collecting Super Bowl Championship rings has become something of a mundane assignment.
Should he desire to showcase all his bling at once, the ageless New England Patriots quarterback will henceforth need both hands. No other player in the 53-year history of the sporting planet’s most-hyped annual show can say likewise.
Just how much higher today’s sixth title put Brady on the list of all-time great athletes is a treacherous question. You could rightfully argue belonged in the pantheon after winning three Superbowls in his first four seasons, between 2001 and 2004.
On the other hand, you could argue longevity is more valued than success. Had Brady flamed-out after such a high-octane start, it’s unlikely he’d qualify as a true colossus. There would’ve always been a question mark over his fortitude and character. For a precedent, look no further than Tiger Woods. Had the golfer won his 14 majors across an entire, unbroken, and unblemished career, things would’ve been a lot different. For starters, he wouldn’t be condemned to the apartment directly beneath the penthouse, listening to the pitter-patter of Brady and Roger Federer’s slippers above.
Four, five, six…at these dizzying heights where no mortal footballer has scaled, it does become somewhat academic. While Brady’s achievements undoubtedly fund his status, they don’t bankroll it. He relies on his age for that.
And probably the best Brady story to emerge from Superbowl LIII is the fact he’ll do it all again for at least another season. How? Tales revealing the secrets to Brady’s endurance are numerous. There’s veganism. There’s meditation. There’s stretch band work-outs. There’s even his bespoke PJs, which claim to assist with muscle regeneration.
None of it would work without one thing: discipline. That’s what Brady and Federer truly have in common. Finding a routine that works and sticking to it. Until they find something better.
They seem immune to worldly and base temptations that have brought countless high-flying athletes to Earth, and even deeper below. The best guess anyone could hazard as to how: Brady and his elite crew can compartmentalise their ego from their success.
Nothing seems to go to their head. They are routinely polite, courteous and professional. Every time, the same. And most times, a winner.