Tom Brady is widely considered the NFL G.O.A.T. and, with seven Super Bowl championships out of ten trips to “The Big Game,” the 43-year-old quarterback has fittingly earned the moniker “Lord of the Rings.” But during this year’s NFL virtual “Draft-A-Thon” special, football’s real-life Thanos told Shannon Sharpe there is one particular ring from his three failed Bowl appearances whose absence still gnaws at him, and he would gladly part ways with a few in his current collection if he could get that one instead.
In the 2007-2008 season, Tom Brady and his New England Patriots had a perfect run and won every playoff game up to Super Bowl XLII as well. However, on February 3, 2008, Eli Manning and the New York Giants had different plans, dashing Brady’s dreams and beating the Pats by a score of 17–14.
So Sharpe turned to the 5x Super Bowl MVP on the special, “Tom, I want to ask you. Would you be willing to trade two Super Bowl rings to win that one Super Bowl?” And with other notables like Kevin Hart, Deion Sanders, Mark Wahlberg, and Mariano Rivera on the telecast, Brady was direct and without hesitation in his answer. In a two-word reply akin to his own Gospel of John 11:35, Brady replied, “I would.”
35 years earlier, the Miami Dolphins were the first team to have a perfect regular season, then win all their playoff games through to the AFC-NFC Championship Game, and finally win it all. However, Brady’s shortfall meant he did not get to stamp his name alongside coach Don Shula, QB Earl Morrall, and the ’72 Fins for that accomplishment.
Brady would be thwarted at his chance for another championship four years later, again by Eli Manning and the New York Giants at Super Bowl XLVI. “Instead of celebrating a grand slam–championships in every major sport over a period of four years and four months,” wrote Dan Shaughnessy in his 2012 piece for the Boston Globe, “New Englanders are spitting out pieces of their broken luck, bracing for the avalanche of grief from the New Yorkers they envy so badly.”
Eli Manning seems to find solace in being the one to stop Brady twice, though, and he made it clear to Brady and Pats Nation they are simply going to have to charge Super Bowl XLII to the game. And with one tweet, Manning managed to express the feeling in half the words that Brady used, too: “Never.”