When the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Kansas City Chiefs take the field this Sunday in Super Bowl 55, they will both be playing for much more than a trophy and some added contract bonuses.
What is at stake during this Football game is unmatched in any other championship final…
With the eyes of the entire world on them, both teams, led by their respective world-class Quarterbacks in Tom Brady and Patrick Mahomes, are going to be playing for that little boy they once were, dreaming of the moment they got to step on the field in a Super Bowl championship.
Both teams have that aura of being winners, they have that characteristic within their locker room of knowing what it takes to go all the way and get the job done.
Patrick Mahomes is playing for joy. Tom Brady is playing for revenge:
— Herd w/Colin Cowherd (@TheHerd) February 5, 2021
That, of course, wasn’t always the case for Tampa Bay, until they brought in six-time world champion Tom Brady via free agency, solidifying the culture and signalling their intent to take their organization to the next level.
Six championships by one player in any sport is an astonishing feat in itself, but in the NFL where there is so much constant change within a franchise due to the large roster sizes and tight salary cap restrictions, what Tom Brady has done in his 21-year career is truly one-of-a-kind.
So, on Sunday if we were to watch Brady hoist his SEVENTH career Lombardi Trophy, this time within a whole new set of coaches, players, staff and system, would that make him the greatest winner we have ever seen in team sports?
Of course, athletics have a way of exposing greatness in many individuals, from solo sports to team-oriented. We have seen the likes of Michael Phelps capture a total of 23 Olympic gold medals. Jack Nicklaus, a cornerstone of Golf, who won 18 majors including 6 green jackets at the Masters’. As well as Serena Williams, who has captured 23(!!!) Tennis grand slams and counting.
Serena Williams has won so many trophies she doesn’t even know what’s in her trophy room lol pic.twitter.com/t7naCFcsWx
— Yashar Ali 🐘 (@yashar) February 5, 2021
Being able to find this kind of success in solo sports is an honour and accomplishment, and should be viewed as that, utter domination of an individual within their craft, no help from anybody else when it matters the most.
In team sports, success is judged a little bit differently.
There is no specific thing that any expert or average fan can point to that suggests a player is a great one in their respective sport other than winning. It is how we judge any player’s greatness in today’s age and rightfully so.
The greatest winner’s in the history of team sports all share very similar qualities, they provide comfort for their peers and enable the people around them to be better at what they do. When you have LeBron James playing for your team, everything feels better within the organization, it may even enhance the performance of the guy selling doughnuts during the game.
Winners are also culture changers, they are conquerors and people that everyone wants to go to battle within the most prized moments you can think of.
I wanted to write this article to list off some of the most gifted champions we have ever seen in team sports, and touch a little bit on why they were so groundbreaking.
Wayne Gretzky –
You don’t just randomly pick up the nickname “The Great One” for nothing. When you think about Wayne Gretzky, the only word to describe it is dominance. The dominance was so inevitable that other teams felt coming second place was a reasonable goal due to the fact you knew you weren’t going to beat number 99 in the big games.
Even people who wouldn’t consider themselves fans of Hockey know who the great one was, and what he brought to a sport that had trouble getting off the ground until the late 1970s when Gretzky came onto the scene.
Wayne won 4 Stanley Cups with the Edmonton Oilers, shattering any and all team records you can think of as well as enabling his teammates to do the same. If you took away all the goals that 99 has ever scored, he would still be the league leader in points throughout NHL history.
That screams greatness. The one time Gretzky lost to a team in the cup finals was in 1993 to the Montreal Canadiens, yet that season, Los Angeles fell in love with the game thanks to him, exceeding more than double the season ticket sales for the franchise and boosting them to get to where they are today.
The things that Pele did for the game of Soccer will never be matched, as he is considered the biggest catalyst and revolutionary the World has seen within the sport.
Pele provided an understanding of what were third-world countries when he started playing, and cultural goliaths when he finished. His goals were to be an example for young people in Brazil and it extended across the globe through his words and play on the field.
Pelé’s 1970 World Cup Best Moments – with commentary
Years past his prime yet still capable of producing one of the all time great World Cup performances. Genius pic.twitter.com/8CeWDs1FRh
— AllThingsSeleção ™ (@SelecaoTalk) January 29, 2021
A leader of leaders, and a winner of winners. 3 total world cups for his country making him the only player to ever do so. He also had unreal club accolades to go with his international success, as he led his hometown team, Santos, to 10 league titles; and even went to New York in 1977 to with them a North American league championship, too.
Michael Jordan –
After winning an NCAA title with his hometown North Carolina Tar Heels, Jordan continued to be the greatest, bringing 6 titles to a franchise that was nothing before he arrived. The Chicago Bulls transformed overnight into a worldwide phenomenon thanks to MJ, who touched people all across the world through his mantra and way he played the game.
Perhaps the most special part about Jordan is the way he spoke to people and handled the big stage. He was known for being the hardest worker in the room always, and never shying away from the clutch moments.
Video #4 of the “Top 5 NBA on NBC Intros” list:
Michael Jordan’s final regular season game as a member of the Bulls in 1998 against the Knicks.
🎤 Bob Costaspic.twitter.com/ic0cHaK2Xk
— Randy Cruz (@randyjcruz) February 3, 2021
Not only these great things, but in his 6 championship runs, not once was he taken to a game 7, and never in his career had he gotten to the NBA Finals and lost.
Tom Brady –
What else is there to say? At 43 years of age, Brady is doing what nobody even dreams about. Playing to an age where you are supposed to be slowing down, both on the field and within your mindset of preparing and running back another season after another season.
What makes Brady so special is his work ethic and aura, he spends up to $1.5 million on his body and health and creates programs for his teammates to join him while he is playing with them.
By making everyone around him better, he also is unmatched in his accomplishments, capturing 6 Super Bowl titles over his career, and just coming up short in another 3, games that could’ve been won if not for a couple of miracle plays by the opposition.
— NFL (@NFL) February 2, 2021
This Sunday when we watch Tom Brady, it would be normal to think that it may be the last time and to savour it, but that’s not the case. Brady said in an interview this week that he expects the Buccaneers to be even better next season, so this won’t be the last time we hear of what is one of the greatest winners in the history of sports.
Evan Power, Evolution 107.9