Much is being written about the remarkable Super Bowl win for the Patriots. Some are asserting it was the greatest moment in Boston sports history. Kevin Cullen provided a thoughtful essay in his Tuesday Boston Globe column, “The real Super Bowl lesson wasn’t about revenge.” Many in Patriot’s Nation believe that the come from behind overtime victory was sweet revenge for the unfair “Deflate-gate” saga. Yes, revenge was in the Houston stadium Sunday night but he left mid-way into the third quarter attempting to beat the traffic to the airport.
Revenge is a very human response to feeling slighted. It is usually seen as a way to punish someone who misbehaved. In the Patriots’ case revenge is our attempt to right an outrageous wrong by NFL commissioner, Roger Goodell. While revenge may allow us to feel good, that feeling does nothing to change the past. Researchers on the effects of revenge have found – “Rather than providing closure, it does the opposite: It keeps the wound open and fresh.”
Cullen has a different view that resonates with me. He said, “Everything our parents, our teachers, our coaches had tried to teach us transpired in the last 18 minutes of this magnificent spectacle, this Super Bowl. In the end, it wasn’t about revenge. It was about not giving up, about perseverance.” But the more important lesson was about the power of love. Love also attended the Super Bowl. Love was seated in the Brady family box. Tom Brady’s mom, Galynn, has been undergoing chemotherapy and radiation treatments for the past 18 months. She was unable to attend any games in the 2016 season. Yet she mustered enough strength to see her son play in the Super Bowl. She didn’t attend for revenge. Rather she attended for love – a love that did not depend on the final score.
Love is a powerful force. It summons the best in us, provides hope and provides courage to overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles. For those of us that are spiritual, maybe the Patriots were assisted by a team of angels. How else can we explain the unbelievable plays of the fourth quarter? Julian Edelman might not have caught the ball without divine intervention.
So as the duck boats go back to their regular duties and the players go to wherever they go in the off season, let’s remember what the Latin poet Virgil wrote:
“Omnia vincit amor et nos cedamus amori” – “Love conquers all, let us all yield to love”
That is the teachable message for our children.