Time. Truth. Heart. Three words that ultimately define any display of greatness. Three words that ultimately define Tedy Bruschi's amazing return to the NFL. I know that the media managed to hype this comeback to the point where it became almost nauseating. It's precisely why I waited two weeks to begin writing my take on it. But now that all the insincere, mandatory gushing has begun to fade, I wanted to take a moment and talk about what Tedy Bruschi really means. This isn't coming from Michael Irvin trying to hog the camera on ESPN. This isn't coming from a jaded broadcaster trying to act excited. This is coming from a guy who's lived and died with every game Tedy's played his entire career. This is coming from somebody who Tedy plays every down for - one of his true fans.
When Tedy ran out onto the field against Buffalo, it was hands down, the highlight of the 2005 season. Unless this team manages a dramatic turnaround and wins Super Bowl XL, it's just not getting better than that. I realize that the story of any player coming back after suffering a stroke seven months ago is incredible. But Tedy Bruschi is not just "any player". Tedy Bruschi is a man whose entire life has consisted of overcoming the odds and succeeding beyond everyone's expectations. He's never been the biggest, strongest, or fastest player on the field. He's probably never even been the smartest. But one thing that is without question is that Tedy Bruschi is always, always the player with the biggest heart.
There is no doubt in my mind that the Patriots would not have won any of their Super Bowls without Tedy Bruschi on the field. In addition his great instincts which allow him to make awe-inspiring plays at the biggest moments, Tedy possesses an attitude that has come to define the Patriots locker room. It is an attitude of respect for his game, for his teammates, and for his fans. It is an attitude of love, and humble gratitude for everything he's been given. It is an attitude that refuses to quit, refuses to give anything but its best. An attitude like that can't help but infuse his teammates with passion, determination, and pride. An attitude like that can't help but overcome the largest of obstacles, even one as large as a stroke.
Time. Truth. Heart. Each define who Tedy Bruschi is: A player who understands the proper moment to rise to the occasion. A player who stands with character before his teammates and fans. A player who is willing to give every ounce of himself to achieve his goal. And on that cold, October night in Foxboro, Tedy Brushci displayed all three in as clear and genuine a fashion as ever before. His return sent a message of hope to everyone who has felt something was impossible. And perhaps most importantly, he sent that message to the Patriots nation, who were feeling that capturing a third Super Bowl title was just that.
He's not the biggest, strongest, fastest, or smartest. If Tedy Bruschi can overcome impossible, than anyone can. Especially a team that lives on doing what can't be done. All it takes is Time, Truth, and Heart.
4. Eagles... You don't know how much I love writing that, and actually believing it's going to happen.
Cowboys over Buccaneers, Giants over Bears
Panthers over Giants, Cowboys over Seahawks
Panthers over Cowboys
Patriots over Bengals, Steelers over Jaguars
Colts over Patriots, Broncos over Steelers
Colts over Broncos
Colts over Panthers
Indy, there hasn't been a team that's been more fun to beat over the past four years. Take that as a compliment. But you're clearly the better team at the moment, and I'll give you your dues. Congratulations.