Patriots quarterback Tom Brady told Dennis & Callahan in a
revealing interview that aired Monday morning that he is grateful for
the opportunity to compete in a fifth Super Bowl, and that he
understands and appreciates the responsibility that comes with it.
Brady talked about how far he's come since he arrived in New England
as an unheralded sixth-round draft pick out of Michigan in 2000.
"I think I realize how fortunate I am," he said "I donít take those
things for granted. I think because itís my life, I donít go, 'Wow, look
at what Iíve accomplished.'
"I was sitting in front of my locker the other day talking to Deion
[Branch], whoís my lockermate, and weíre like, 'Can you believe this?' I
donít think, as an athlete, you can ever imagine that. You hope for the
best, you work hard for it, and if you get the opportunity, a lot of
things need to come together to make it to this point. Look at the
Packers, the Saints. Itís hard to get to this game. To do it five times,
itís crazy. You donít take it for granted."
Looking back at the Super Bowl XLII loss to the Giants, Brady was
asked if he went into the game convinced the heavily favored Patriots
would win the game.
"Sure," he acknowledged. "I donít think anyone thought weíd lose that
game, not because weíd roll our helmets out on the field and weíre the
Patriots and weíre going to win. We thought weíd go out there and play a
great game. When we played them earlier that season, it came down,
basically, to one third-down conversion. Kevin Faulk made, on a
third-and-9, where I threw it he made a great catch and run, we ended up
scoring on that drive and made an interception on the next play. It
comes down to one third-down conversion.
"You look at the last game we played against these guys. We were
2-of-5 in the red area and they were 3-of-5. If we had one more
third-down conversion that game, do we win the game? If they had one
less, do they win the game? I think all those critical plays that you
talk about, we have 60-70 offensive plays in this game. One or two plays
made the difference, and one or two plays made the difference in the
Looking at Sunday's game, Brady talked about the one element that might be most criticial to success.
"Weíve been in 18 games this year," he said. "Even the three losses
have come down to the last drive of the game. Our loss to the Giants
came down to the last drive of the game.
"When we work on the two-minute drill in practice, I think
offensively or defensively, itís going to come down to that. Whoever
executes best in that last situation, I think itís going to come down to
Reminded that the Giants have proven to be pretty good at
last-minute, game-winning drives, Brady replied: "So are we. I hope we
get the ball."
Following are more highlights from the interview:
On the downside to being as famous as he is: "I
donít think I look at things like that. I donít think, 'Man, this
sucks.' Like any human being, you have your moments. Iím probably more
to myself now than Iíve ever been. I really donít do anything these
days. That part is a little bothersome for me.
"To be social is probably more challenging for me now than itís ever
been, because Iím never really in social environments. Iím in a locker
room and Iím in my house. If people want to see me, like my parents,
they come to my house. Probably six or seven years ago, the Friday night
theyíd come into town, 'Where do you guys want to go to dinner?' 'Oh,
letís go to Abe & Louieís.' 'Great, letís have a steak.' I donít
even do that now.
"I donít have as much energy as I used to. I really feel like I need
my energy for this team, and I need to be emotional. By the end of the
week Iím kind of spent, and I need to regroup before the game because
thatís how I play the game. Then, after the game, Iím exhausted. Like
the AFC championship, we win the game and I have all of my best friends
in town, and theyíre like, 'Can we come over?' Nope, Iím putting my kid
to bed and Iím going to sleep. I wish there was a part of me that felt
like I could be a little more social and outgoing -- to go to a Celtics
game, which Iíd love to do, but to me, it ends up being a little more of
an energy drain than something I can really enjoy."
On the recognition and attention he receives in public:
"If people get the opportunity to come up to me and introduce
themselves to me, I want them to walk away and feel, you know what? That
was a nice experience. I think thereís times when I donít have that
energy to put on a face, like everythingís great. I sucked in [the AFC
championship] game. I didnít want to go out there and shake hands,
'Thanks.' I just wanted to go home and really be myself. I think the
place where I can be myself is at home with my family and my friends.
Thatís probably where Iím most comfortable."
On if he ever loses his patience: "My stress, I try
to do a better job managing my stress. At the end of the week, you
really donít want to ask me for a lot of favors on a Friday night. I
feel like the last three weeks, Iíve really been a little bit worn down.
"Youíve got to find ways to regroup. If a guy cuts me off on the
road, I donít get pissed off. I probably drive slower on the road now
than I ever used to. A lot of those things donít really get me pissed
off. Itís hard to get me pissed off."
On if he really thinks he "sucked" against the Ravens:
"I think there were two plays I wished I had back -- the two
interceptions. I thought we didnít do a great job scoring, but the
turnovers hurt you.
"Thereís nothing that correlates more to winning than turnover ratio.
I think coach Belichick said when youíre minus-two in turnovers, you
have a 17 percent chance of winning in the playoffs. When you think
about that, you pretty much escaped. Yeah, we won, but itís not going to
happen -- itís 17 percent of the time, and Iím responsible for that.
So, when youíre sitting on the sideline and watching Baltimore go down
the field at the end of the game, youíre thinking, 'I blew this game for
us because of those two plays.'
"Every fan, every player on this team, every fan of the Patriots,
when you hold that football, you hold the hopes of every single person
of winning the game with that ball. To turn it over or to play
carelessly, thatís something that Iím pretty hard on myself about."
On if he still is surprised to be on the cover of Sports Illustrated:
"Every time. Every time. I get the chills. Ö I used to tear those
covers off and put them up on my wall. Itís a pretty unbelievable thing
to see that and to think, man, there are kids who are tearing those out
and putting them on their wall.
"I feel a big responsibility, as an athlete, to represent yourself in
a certain way because you really are lucky. It doesnít mean you have to
go out of your way every single day to make peopleís lives and
experiences better. It just means you are blessed. When you have the
opportunity to share certain things with some kids or some schools, itís
really a great thing to do because you can be a big influence."
On what Albert Haynesworth might be thinking now:
"Iím not sure. Iíd give anything to play in this game. It just didnít
work out for Albert. Thatís all. I actually had a great relationship
with Albert, and I was hoping heíd do great because that would be for
the best for this team. It just didnít work out. I feel good for Shaun
Ellis, playing for the Jets for all those years, not going anywhere,
then he comes to us for one year and heís playing. I feel good for all
these guys who have been around, and been on good teams, but now theyíre
on a team thatís in the Super Bowl."