Many have anointed New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady as the greatest of all time, also known as the GOAT.
Brady may deserve that title with all of his accomplishments in the NFL since being selected as the 199th pick in the draft back in 2000. Even if he is the GOAT, one of the main reasons people put him at the top of the list is flawed.
He’s won five Super Bowls, he’s played in eight Super Bowls, he’s led his team to AFC East titles and a place in the AFC Championship game almost every year and the list goes on and on. Those are great accomplishments, but what people tend to forget is football is a team sport.
No one individual can win a Super Bowl by himself. Football is by far the more strategy than any other sport and it takes athletes working together more than anywhere else to win.
Brady does not even play on defense or special teams where three of his five Super Bowl wins were decided. He was not on the field when Malcolm Butler made the game-saving interception for the Patriots against the Seattle Seahawks to win the 2014 Super Bowl. He was also not on the field when Adam Vinatieri connected on the game-winning field goals for the 2001 and 2003 Super Bowls.
Brady is a first-ballot Hall of Famer, no doubt, and he may be the greatest ever, but it’s not automatic just because he won five Super Bowls.
It’s not like basketball where Michael Jordan or LeBron James could take over at both ends of the court and just tell everyone else to basically get out of their way. Jordan and James had help, but a football player must rely on his teammates far more than basketball.
If we are going to judge quarterbacks strictly on Super Bowl wins, then Trent Dilfer’s championship with the Ravens would make him better than the great Dan Marino. I highly doubt any reasonable football fan believes Dilfer was a better quarterback than Marino.
I say all this to remind our readers and fans of a very important lesson many of us forget.
Football takes an entire team to win and everyone must do his part. As we head into the 2018 football season for both high school and junior college, that is a very important lesson to remember.
When things go well, we should not give one athlete all the credit. When things go poorly, no one athlete deserves all the blame.
Even though many players go two — possibly three — ways in high school, there are 11 athletes on the field at the same time and no one can accomplish anything by himself.
Take Clarksdale High School in 2017 as an example.
The Wildcats were expected to have a good offense, but they struggled in that area. The defense, on the other hand, turned out to be a pleasant surprise and kept them in games they appeared to have no business winning.
When it was all said and done, Clarksdale was eliminated in the first round of the playoffs with a 14-7 loss at home against Corinth. I believe the biggest problem was they could not perform well in all three areas – offense, defense and special teams. It truly showed no one athlete on one side of the ball could win it by himself.
Lee Academy was the other playoff team in Coahoma County and got bounced out in the first round of the playoffs. The Colts suffered through many injuries and it proved costly. One or two good players could not save the season by themselves.
Coahoma Early College High School won just one game and juggled athletes around in many different positions.
Coahoma County High School had a few talented players in skill positions, but that was not enough to be a playoff contender.
I want our kids to know you have to work together, be unselfish, respect your teammates and coaches and understand everyone has a role. There may be a “star” on your team, but no one can win it by himself. Each player has a key part in a team’s success and that should be the mentality week in and week out.
I also hope our fans show the same respect to our teams. Do not yell and embarrass a player from the stands when he makes a mistake. Everyone will make a bad play, but no one wins and loses a game by himself.
Tom Brady didn’t win five Super Bowls by himself. The New England Patriots won five Super Bowls as a team playing well in all three phases of the game.
Good luck to all four of our high schools as they prepare to play in football jamborees on Friday night. It’s going to be a great season.