Tom Brady, Super Bowl rings, and Ecclesiastes

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.”