Fact. Tom Brady is the greatest quarterback ever. Fact. Super Bowl 51: to rehash it would be to diminish it.  To explain how exceptional Tom Brady and the Pats were at the end (if we are talking human beings, celebrities, biggest stage) would be to diminish them. Hear this out: The arguably greatest QB in history, before Sunday, just orchestrated the greatest comeback in Super Bowl history.  That’s not hyperbole. That’s what happened.

Cut to my very-much-in-Atlanta family room with all of our offspring fully present in full Falcon regalia. Third quarter: Falcons up 28-3. What? No really, seriously? We were emphatically predicted to lose.  Faintly in the distance (no lie) we could hear July 4th-level fireworks going off in Atlanta neighborhoods in all directions. Dina and I had our three adult children with us, together, in our family room, watching the game on our modest, but serviceable, 50″ flat screen. They had all turned down other Super Bowl parties with their friends to be with their way-less-cool parents. We will treasure that forever. To add glory to non-injury, that right then 28-3, forever, a top 5 family moment? OMG, easily.

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Then I jinxed us. Maybe you thought you jinxed the game? No, it was me. I had chosen a few days earlier (for some dumb reason) to be the neighborhood proprietor of the neighborhood “squares game.” If you don’t know what that means, it’s a Super Bowl party game. At a commercial in the 4th quarter, I walked to my neighbors house to pay him – he had just won $30 for the 3rd quarter squares. Prior to that, I had been texting that neighbor (two doors down) saying “come get your money, you won!”. He didn’t come. I felt bad, so I went to his house in that fateful moment to give him his cash winnings. Then, inevitable tragedy happened. Did I mention that I jinxed us? The mojo back there, two doors back, in my house? – Re-donk-ulous. I walked away!  – from the mojo! I will never forgive myself. Why did I do that? At my neighbor’s house meanwhile, I stayed, against my better judgement, watching Matt Ryan fumble, on his TV. I politely then said, “Back at my house the karma rocks! Gotta go!” They understood….but I got home too late.

The rest, as they say…whatever. We lost. It was horrific. It was excruciating. I’m 53, I have had far worse moments in my life, but this is in the Top 10. I got kicked dead-center in the gut last night at about 9:15 EST. I’m still feeling it.More critically, I flatly believe I jinxed us. I walked away from the good vibrations when it mattered most. At one point, when I was going down in flames at the neighbor’s house, my daughter texted me – “dad, get your ass back here”. I left my phone at home. Damn. I’ve said before that I believe that the God who is likely loves football, but that He also likely isn’t overly concerned about football outcomes. That said, I am insanely superstitious. My God never needs to be appeased or appealed to for a football score, no matter how I feel about it. On the other hand, fate? lesser gods? those guys? They are the ones that I continue to make sacrifices to. You know, the couch karma, the house mojo, the reverse jinx – it feels real. It is real, for me.

God may not work that way, the world in fact doesn’t work that way, but I’m one of those poor souls who still insists on appeasing other gods. It’s what I do. However, last night, in my humanness, I was immersed in all of the joy and all of the pain of all of “that”. After we lost last night, I didn’t scour my closet for a sackcloth and grab some ashes from the fireplace so that I could go sit in the middle of our suburban cul-de-sac and lament…but damn, I could have. Joy and pain, that’s the deal, welcome to the now and not yet.