It’s been a roller coaster 24 hours for Tom Brady — from being down 25 points in the Super Bowl, to coming back from the worst deficit in history to become the first QB to win in overtime, and to collect his fifth championship ring.
Throughout all of it, he has also been dealing with the personal strain of his mom, Galynn, undergoing radiation and chemotherapy to treat an undisclosed type cancer for the past 18 months.
And there was that little matter of Deflategate and starting the season suspended for four games, too.
All of it came to a head on Monday in a very early morning press conference where the NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell had to do what many sports pundits predicted was his worst nightmare — hand the Super Bowl MVP trophy to Brady.
“The two gentlemen we have here have set new bars across the league. Five Super Bowl championships, and four MVPs for Tom Brady, cementing his legacy as not just a great Super Bowl performer, but maybe one of the greatest player of all time,” Goodell said introducing Brady and coach Bill Belichick, while stood in front of the Vince Lombardi trophy that they’d won for the second time in two years.
“It’s a great honor for us, and me personally, to have both of these guys here this morning.”
Despite the bitter stand off in court that marred the offseason last summer, Brady remained poised when he shook Goodell’s hand and accepted his award.
“It’s an honor to be here and have the commissioner present us with the trophy,” he said. “It certainly means a lot and my kids will be happy to see that trophy. They always ask ‘where’s that trophy?’ so now I can take it home for them.”
After a rare family photo on the field flooded social media following the Pats’ 34-28 comeback win over the Atlanta Falcons, Brady was asked by a reporter why it meant so much to have his mom there for it.
“It was great, she’s been through a lot, [it’s] way harder than what I’ve been through and way harder than what the team went through last night,” he said. “My dad has been there every step of the way. They set such a great example for me.
“All families go thought challenging times — she has a lot of support and a lot of love, I was just happy last night to be able to celebrate with her,” Brady continued, tears welling up in his eyes as they did the week before on Media Night when asked about her.
“She hadn’t been to a game all year, so this was a hell of a game for her to be at.
“My sisters, all my kids, my little girl was there. It will be nice to go home to them, they haven’t had their dad around a lot lately. I am going to be a dad for a little bit,” he added.
As for the historical night he had just experienced at NRG Stadium, followed by a raucous after party and no doubt very little sleep, Brady said: “It is a lot of emotion — football is always an emotional sport — highs and the lows.
“We weren’t feeling great about how we played, then we started executing a lot better. The lows of not playing great, then playing great — then the end,” he said, still collecting his thoughts about executing what most fans feared at halftime was impossible.
“To be able to celebrate with our teammates and my family, it’s a night you’ll never forget.”
However, Brady did still seem pretty miffed about the jersey he wore during the game that mysteriously disappeared from the locker room.
“I put it in my bag, I came out and it wasn’t there any more. That is a nice piece of memorabilia, it’ll probably end up on eBay,” he said when asked about it.
“Those are pretty special ones to keep, but what can you do?” he added later. “I’ll take the ring and that’s good enough for me.”
While Tom was diplomatic with Goodell, Belichick later snuck in a few digs at any Brady-doubters when asked about if TB12 had any extra motivation this season.
“With all due respect, I think it’s inappropriate to suggest that in Tom’s career he’s been anything other than a great teammate, a great worker,” Belichick said. “He’s given us every single ounce of effort, blood, sweat and tears he has in him. To insinuate that this year was somehow different, that this year he competed harder or competed to a higher degree than he has in the past, is insulting to the tremendous effort and leadership and competitiveness for the 17 years I’ve coached him.
As for the team that brought him his seventh Super Bowl championship — making him the winningest coach in NFL history having now surpassed Chuck Noll — he had high praise all around.
“This team earned it all the way from OTAs [organized team activities] through training camp, we were presented with a lot of challenges,” he said.
“It was an honor to coach these guys. What ever you saw in the fourth quarter and overtime last night is what I’ve seen all year.”