Although he’s barely 30-years old, Tom Brady is the quarterback for the undefeated New England Patriots (16-0). Life seems to be going well for him. This year he set the NFL’s single-season touchdown pass record and you can add this season to his already stuffed trophy case. All before the age of 30, Brady won three Super Bowl rings, two Super Bowl MVP trophies, named to the Pro Bowl several times. Even a bulleted summary list of his accomplishments on the football field extends for pages! He dates supermodels and has a contract in the millions, the things you would expect for a man some are saying may be the greatest in NFL history.
But after I started to assemble a series on Ecclesiastes, a keen TSS reader pointed me to a pre-Christmas interview Tom Brady gave on 60 Minutes. You can watch the interview here. During this clip―and it’s hard to determine the context―Brady makes the following statement:
“Why do I have three Super Bowl rings and still think there’s something greater out there for me? I mean, maybe a lot of people would say, ‘Hey man, this is what is.’ I reached my goal, my dream, my life. I think, ‘God, it’s got to be more than this.’ I mean this isn’t, this can’t be what it’s all cracked up to be … I love playing football and I love being quarterback for this team. But at the same time, I think there are a lot of other parts about me that I’m trying to find.”
We can praise God that Tom Brady would humbly and publicly admit (at some level) to the emptiness of life. And to do it on national television is startling, too. I don’t think I would have the courage to say this. Brady clearly understands the harsh reality of this world that meaning and fulfillment cannot come through our accomplishment because we never will amass accomplishments enough. The vanity and emptiness of life are inescapable.
So please pray for Tom Brady. Let’s pray that he would find true rest and life and hope and fulfillment in the forsaken One who died a bloody death under the most profound and horrible experience of emptiness. And Pray for Walt Day, who I believe is still the chaplain for the Patriots and a man with a background at Campus Crusade. Pray that God will give him the wise words of eternal wisdom to share.
May we all, through Ecclesiastes, discover that “meaninglessness is the mother of meaning.”
11 thoughts on “Tom Brady, Super Bowl rings, and Ecclesiastes”
I remember reading a story about Troy Aikmen that reminded me of what Brady said.
The story goes that after the Cowboys won the Superbowl everyone was at the after party accept Troy. He was in his hotel room wrestling with the fact everyone was acting as if this was the “end all, be all” of life and he had an empty feeling in his stomach that there had to be something more.
If I can find that story I’ll shoot it to you. Blessings on the Ecc. series.
I’m glad you posted that.
It’s like the old quote “this life will soon be past, only what’s done for Christ will last”.
Great quote to open the door for the Gospel, Ascol had this on the founders blog with a great follow up to the quote with his response to Tom Brady. Welcome to Maryland.
Interesting post; here’s a man who by all worldly measures is wildly successful and yet ‘still hasn’t found what he’s looking for’.
Of a related note: a good book on Ecclesiastes is Sinclair Furgeson’s The Pundit’s Folly.
Let’s pray that God brings Tony Dungy across his path….then Tom can hear firsthand about what/who he’s missing…
[…] Sports: Tom Brady revealed to 60 Minutes a few weeks ago the emptiness he feels in spite of his Hall of Fame-bound career. [HT: TSS] […]
Tony, I would love to read/listen to your series on Ecclesiastes and any other cross centered materials you are aware of on the book!
Please let me know.
Ok I understand that putting “Meaningless all is Meaningless” into a more spiritual light is prevalent but what about taking a look at Solomon frame of mind when he wrote this book? “Ecclesiastes Exposed” does the best job of looking at what scripture has to say about this.
[…] built on our biggest accomplishments. Can’t be. If they were, I would still feel like Tom Brady. They (our lives) are built on our defeats. I am who I am today because of them. Convinced. […]
In light of Tom Brady’s statement, “is this all there is?” I think the answer is Yes and No.
1- No, there is more meaning to life- worship the Lord and glorify him in sports.
2- Yes, enjoy the wife of your youth (Prov. 5) [be content here] and Ecc. 5:18-19, “drink and enjoy oneself in all one’s labor in which he toils under the sun…[God] has empowered him to eat…and receive his reward and rejoice in his labor; this is the gift of God.”
[…] “Why do I have three [now four] Super Bowl rings and still think 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 reached my goal, my dream, my life. Me, I think, ‘God, it’s got to be more than this. I mean this isn’t, this can’t be what it’s all cracked up to be.’”2 […]