The Spirit of a Champion

This weekend, millions of Americans focus on the big game. We will don our team jerseys, add our initials to squares in hopes of winning one or more quarters, and consume tons of quesadillas, guacamole, and beer. We will critique the over-produced half-time performance, as well as each commercial during the broadcast.

The Super Bowl is easily the biggest sports spectacle in America. Once again, the team that many deem the “most hated franchise in the NFL” shares the stage with the Rams of Los Angeles. The New England Patriots are going to their third consecutive Super Bowl, and tenth overall.

In the Patriots’ defense (as if they need one from me), there are many reasons why we hate some sports teams: Success, and the fact that we despise those who win at the expense of our favorite team! Those who know the game agree that quarterback Tom Brady is the greatest to ever play the game. Amazing, considering his 2000 NFL combine scouting report, which stated, “Poor build, skinny, lacks great physical stature and strength, lacks mobility, not a strong arm, can’t drive the ball down field, does not throw a really tight spiral, a system-type player who can get exposed if forced to ad lib, gets knocked down easily.”

Not a glowing report for a kid who played quarterback at Michigan. Tom was drafted in the sixth round of the 2000 NFL draft, pick 199. When Patriots’ team owner Robert Kraft congratulated him, Tom looked him straight in the eyes (according to Kraft) and said, “Thank you, it’s the best decision this organization has ever made.”

Most would deem that comment cocky, or arrogant, but here was a kid no one believed in, no one but him. Brady had then, and still has, a fire in his gut that drives him to excellence. He’s been counted out on several occasions.

Take Super Bowl LI, when Brady and the Patriots were down 28-9 to start the fourth quarter, only to lead a monumental comeback to win the game in overtime 34-28. That was the greatest comeback in Super Bowl history.

A Fire Within

There are people in life, underdogs who won’t fold the cards they’re dealt, who refuse to give up, to throw up their hands and quit. The list is impressive: Babe Ruth’s father called him big and clumsy, said he’d never amount to anything. Rudy Ruettiger was told he’d never make the team at Notre Dame. When he auditioned for the Grand Ole Opry, the manager backstage told a 19-year-old Elvis Presley he should go back to driving a truck!

I can name many here at Phoenix Construction who possess that same spirit, that same fire that drives a person to beat the odds and rise above circumstances. Isn’t that the true heart of a champion? Going above and beyond expectations, rising above the ashes of doubt, and soaring to great heights. Why do you think we’re named Phoenix?

Happy Super Bowl week. I’m certainly not a sports prognosticator, but I wouldn’t bet against the 41-year-old Tom Brady on Sunday — or the leadership at Phoenix. Just saying.

Be well and live like a champion today.

Dave Cowley is the Senior VP of Investor/Public Relations at Phoenix Construction.

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