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FullSizeRenderDear Tom,

Bro. Seriously. I love you, bro. And I take a lot of heat for it. I mean, like, an excessive amount of heat for it. But I don’t care. I am probably the only pastor outside of Boston to have a study full of Brady memorabilia. I love you like Gisele loves nature conservation. You must be protected, because you are an extremely valuable natural resource, the removal of which would upset the delicate balance of the ecosystem of awesomeness in the universe.

I’m writing this not as a BradyHater™, but as a full-on fanboy. You are my favorite sportsman ever — in any game, from any era. And I’ll tell you why. Your exceptional talent on the field is only matched by your exceptional work ethic. I love the way you command your teammates’ respect. And one thing I’ve always respected about you, up until now, is the leadership you’ve shown at the podiums and in front of the press. Unlike a lot of athletes of your stature, when things haven’t gone well on the field, you take responsibility. You don’t shift the blame to anybody else. And when you succeed, as you often do, you share the credit. This kind of leadership maturity is as rare as your talent.

So here’s the deal: I think you ought to do the right thing here and own up to wanting those footballs under-inflated, pressuring your equipment guys to handle that for you, and now insisting that you don’t know what anybody’s talking about. I think what you lose by doing that is much less than what you lose by not. And in any event, whatever is gained or lost, it’s just the right thing to do.

You and I both know that won’t win you any new fans. Your loyal opposition will always oppose you. But your fans will forgive you. Heck, I already do. I promise you — I already do forgive you. But I couldn’t root for you the same way, couldn’t talk you up to my grandkids like I planned to, couldn’t celebrate your championships as I have before, if you don’t do what real men do, which is take responsibility.

Tom, your reputation among many probably cannot be repaired, no matter what you do. I hate that for you. That’s just life, I guess. But I don’t believe “Deflategate” will tarnish your legacy in the eyes of fans like me if you’ll be brave enough to just get transparent with us. Confession of this kind won’t be the worst thing that happens to you in life, even though I’m sure it might feel that way at the moment.

But all the protection, all the spin, all the image management — it’s just making the situation worse. I know that once those footballs were restored to acceptable psi, your torching of the Colts only intensified. I know you beat the Seahawks in the big game fair and square. I know the pressure of those pigskins cannot account for the amazing things you’ve accomplished on the field over your long career, and perhaps have left to accomplish. But the longer you let this go on without owning up, the worse it’s going to get. It won’t go away. It will always haunt you.

So come into the light. We won’t hold it against you. And once you’re out here in the honest clear, I think you’ll find that huge weight off your shoulders, and I think you may see that trying to protect something you can’t keep anyway is a losing game.

I’m a big fat stinking sinner, so I can’t throw stones at you. I’ve done much worse than game the system to gain an advantage. But when I realized trying to protect my image was an ultimately devastating strategy, I embraced the forgiveness I’ve found in God, who through Jesus Christ forgave all my sin (1 John 1:9) and — get this — doesn’t even remember it any more (Isaiah 43:25). There’s real freedom in that light.

So anyways, just some thoughts. Love ya, bro.

Signed: Your biggest fan,

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Comments:


26 thoughts on “An Open Letter to Tom Brady”

  1. Jim says:

    I have a few problems with this post.
    1. This “open letters as blog post” phenomenon has to stop. The people you address them to will never read them, much less care about them being written in the first place.
    2. What does this have to do with the foundational principles of The Gospel Coalition? Yes it talks about being honest, seeking forgiveness, and reconciliation, but seriously CJ this letter is a stretch and takes away from the seriousness of the reason for TGC.
    3. The haphazard nature that this “open letter” was written in seems to be the workings of a 4th grader and not a respected author and pastor as such as you are. There is no scholarship, there is no need for this article, and just leave this opinionated op ed to the sports writers like Steven A. and Skip Bayless.

    1. Jared C. Wilson says:

      Jim, not sure who CJ is. My name is Jared, and I wrote this post.
      I’m sorry you didn’t like it. As a person who ruined his own life with my sin and experienced the restoration of grace when I repented and embraced identity in Christ rather than image, reputation, or “success,” it is not a stretch for me to write this. I am not sure which part sounded like a 4th grader, but I’m willing to take hits on my writing style. No big whoop. But it isn’t simply an “op ed.” It’s just a way to apply the grace of God that has been so powerful in my own life to a current event involving an athlete I really enjoy rooting for. I just want to root for his repentance as much as I’ve rooted for his athleticism.
      Thanks for the comment.

    2. I appreciate the occasional TGC article that communicates the Gospel and connects with the average Joe in my church. To be sure, as a seminary grad and lead pastor in Grand Rapids, I dig into the helpful scholarly pieces on TGC (I even read Themelios, JETS, and Bibliotheca Sacra!). But I am also very glad TGC provides provides material that the general contractor, auto mechanic, and accountant at my church will read… and this may also possibly draw them into all the other great content at tgc.org.
      Since when did TGC require that all blog articles be considered scholarly? DeYoung, Wax, Keller, and others regularly write devotional/pastoral type posts that I would not consider scholarly.

  2. Read my state: Indiana. First, you need your head examined for liking the Patriots. Second, I don’t even follow football. I only know tons of the church people love the Colts. Ever heard of them? Yeah…those guys. Anyway, this is all tongue-in-cheek. I like baseball and Lance Armstrong. Oops did I say that? :)

  3. Brian Henson says:

    Unnecessary. The fact that this is published on a Gospel Coalition blog is disappointing.

    1. Jared C. Wilson says:

      Brian, thanks for your comment. Sorry you didn’t like the post.

    2. Jonathan says:

      Yea, Brian, this is SO disappointing. Who could imagine a pastor using a platform to call a sinner to repentance through the gospel (and on a website title “The Gospel Coalition” no less!)

      In all seriousness, while this piece may not qualify as the most scholarly, isn’t it true that the power of Godfor salvation is found in the gospel (Rom. 1:16)? I, for one, hope this “opinionated op ed” lands on a dead man’s bones, and God uses it to breathe new life. Blessings to you all, brothers!

  4. Jordan P. says:

    Great post Jared. I appreciate your writing.

  5. Rick says:

    Wow, tough crowd. Thanks for the post Jared, I do have a comment. Your article does assume he is guilty, which I think is not clear at this point. Did he prefer the footballs less inflated? Sure. Did he express his frustration with high psi footballs? Definitely. Did his equipment people know how he felt (and not want to hear him vent to them about it)? Undoubtedly. Does that mean he actively conspired with them to deflate the footballs below the allowed psi? Let’s just say, “more probable than not” isn’t very convincing. I read a large portion of the report, and walked away still unclear what exactly happened, especially when it comes to Brady’s direct involvement. Maybe, maybe not.

    I know that isn’t your point. If he did do it, I completely agree. Come out, own it, move on. But I am not ready to jump on the cheater bandwagon just yet. Either way, like you, I am thankful that the gospel is for cheaters, liars, thieves and random other sinners like us!

    1. Jared C. Wilson says:

      Rick, of course I really hope you’re right. If you are, and it’s proven well, I will gladly retract, apologize, and feel awful.
      I don’t think it’s likely he’s in the clear. But I would love for this post to be a big gun-jumper.

      1. Randy says:

        Yeah, I’m no Brady fan, but I kinda think assuming he is guilty as you’ve done here and asking him to own up to something he very well did not do prevents you from being his “biggest fan”! Innocent until proven guilty? :-)

  6. Nathan Garth says:

    Jared, I enjoyed the post. It’s nice to see the gospel woven into this kind of creative post. Props for sharing the gospel in a way that not only points Tom to Christ but the rest of us as well.

  7. Brice says:

    Jim & Brian…golly. Please don’t take yourselves so seriously. Jared thanks for the post.

  8. Brett Moore says:

    Jim / Brian,
    Your reaction to this post is nauseating. So concerned with coming across as serious that you seriously miss the point. Nerds man. SMH.

  9. Roland says:

    Yikes. I loved the post but thought some of the critics were a little harsh. It’s no wonder people don’t like to mix and mingle with the reformed theological crowd :-( In any event, let’s do full of grace AND truth not either or guys. I like the post. Thanks Jared.

  10. Cody Dye says:

    Love the picture. Good stuff.

  11. Why not at times to address some things that are not necessary gospel.

  12. john m says:

    1) You assume that Brady did this. There are several prominent holes in the Wells report. Apparently, the Colts had under inflated footballs also. 2) Goodell lied when he claimed after “deflagate” started that this was the first he had heard about it. In fact, the Colts had contacted his office with their concerns the week prior to the game. 3) The gauges used to measure the pressure had not been calibrated and this produced results that varied for both Patriots and Colt footballs that were “all over the place” as far as psi. Three footballs used by the Colts were under inflated. Does that indict Andrew Luck? 4) The referee stated that the footballs were out of his sight for the first time in his 19 years working for the NFL. Huh??? 5) This report has no “smoking gun.” Americans should presume guilty until proven innocent. You are not Tom Brady’s judge. Leave that to the Lord,

  13. Lynn B. says:

    You should mail Tom your post.
    Gillette Stadium
    One Patriot Place
    Foxboro, Massachusetts 02035

  14. Flyaway says:

    I liked hearing what Jared thought about his favorite. Even pastors have lives. God made all things for us to enjoy. Jesus enjoyed weddings and dinners and I’m sure he discussed his fun times with others. So why can’t pastors write about some of the good things life has to offer? Even though I’m a Seahawk fan I will follow Jared’s lead and forgive TB if he will repent.

  15. Dan Rolfe says:

    I’m also a huge Patriot’s fan (and a pastor) who takes a lot of heat for it here in NC! I loved your post – the tone, the fun, the seriousness, and the humbly honesty. Thanks so much for writing it.

  16. julie says:

    Am I the only person who feels that Tom Brady has probably been ok with cheating for a long time? It’s not like this is the first ‘gate’ to happen during his career. His coach is called Belicheat for a reason.

  17. BobinIN says:

    “So come into the light. We won’t hold it against you.” The reason this article does not work on this venue (TGC) is that the author knows that you can’t shame, or for that matter, encourage someone into repentance, like what Jared is wanting. Coming into the light is the most serious matter there is, and at least in this article, seems like begging to Brady. Let’s beg the Holy Spirit to act (pray), not beg to a pop mogul.

    1. Jared C. Wilson says:

      Bobin, I’m not trying to shame anyone. The invitation to “repent and believe” is found throughout the New Testament. If you don’t believe we should encourage lost people to repent, you will have to explain away a lot of Scripture.

  18. Choz says:

    Nice post. I’m willing to bet that all the guys who have problems with this post are Seahawks, Raiders, Bills,Jets, or Dolphin fans and look for a reason to hate anything about Brady. People miss the point so easily. SMH. They need to start giving out licenses to people to use the internet.

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Jared C. Wilson


Jared C. Wilson is the Director of Content Strategy for Midwestern Seminary, managing editor of For The Church, and author of more than ten books, including Gospel Wakefulness, The Pastor’s Justification, and The Prodigal Church. You can follow him on Twitter.

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