Reimer: Jubilant Tom Brady seems to be enjoying this 'un-effing-believable' Super Bowl run more than all the others

Alex Reimer
January 22, 2019 - 11:19 am
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“Un-effing-believable!” 

“I’m the baddest mother-bleeper on the planet!”

“I love you, too.”

Tom Brady will play in his ninth Super Bowl Feb. 3, but it seems like he’s enjoying this one even more than the others. His apparent jubilation is palpable through expletive-laden postgame interviews with Evan Washburn and videotaped tours through the locker room. At this point, all of Brady’s accomplishments are pure gravy, and he’s gobbling them up. 

On the surface, it’s odd to suggest Brady could enjoy this Super Bowl appearance more than the post-Deflategate run in 2016, which culminated in Roger Goodell handing him the Lombardi Trophy and Super Bowl MVP after a historic comeback. It was the ultimate example of vindication. 

But remember, the interminable Deflategate saga lasted for one-and-a-half years. It featured three court hearings and tarnished Brady’s name. The episode wrecked Brady, according to NBC Sports Boston’s Tom Curran, who’s covered the Patriots’ quarterback since all of this began 17 years ago.

“He was in dark places, because it did a number on his family to be labeled a cheater,” Curran told WEEI.com on the phone recently. “It did a number on his mom, specifically. I don’t know if there’s cause and effect behind her illness, but among her family, there’s a suspicion that it was. That developed a lot of animosity towards the reporting, league and the media from him.”

Brady’s decision to abandon the Deflategate fight that summer, and accept his reinstated four-game suspension, illustrates the apparent duress the scandal inflicted upon him. When Goodell handed Brady MVP honors, it wasn’t time to relish the moment. It was time to be relieved that everything was finally over. 

That apparent feeling of ennui seemed to carry over to last year’s Super Bowl run, which looked like it was entirely devoid of joy. The final three months of the season were mired with reports of tension surrounding Brady’s relationship with Bill Belichick and the role of Alex Guerrero, an obvious point of contention. In the immediate aftermath of the Super Bowl, Brady spoke about losing his conviction, and then disappeared to Monaco and Qatar while his teammates did squats and deadlifts during OTAs. 

This year, of course, we have not heard much about Guerrero –– outside of a mini-controversy over whether he took the team plane down to a preseason game in Carolina. One of the central tenants of the “Four Agreements,” Brady’s favorite philosophical book, is to let go of any grudges. It appears as if Brady has done just that.

After the Patriots’ incredible 37-31 win over the Chiefs Sunday, where Brady engineered three straight touchdown drives in the fourth quarter and overtime, TB12 embraced Belichick at midfield. They professed their love for each other, which would’ve been difficult to imagine last year at this time, when Belichick wouldn't even give Brady credit for playing through a gashed hand.

 “We’ve always got along great," Brady told "Mut & Callahan" Monday about his relationship with Belichick. "We’ve worked together for 19 years. We’ve had the same goals in mind for 19 years and he’s been just a great, great mentor in my life. A great coach. He’s taught me more than anyone ever could about the game of football and I have just always loved playing here and playing for him. He’s the greatest coach of all-time and we’ve had some incredible moments together.”

For his part, Belichick told OMF he wasn’t “going to get into a bunch of gossip” regarding his much-discussed rift with Brady.

Any rational person would admit much of the discussion surrounding the Patriots over the last year has been overwhelmingly negative. Nobody literally said the Patriots “suck,” but we all talked about Brady’s impending cliff, Gronk’s rumored retirement, Edelman’s PED suspension. We ripped the Patriots for their five road losses to non-playoff teams, talking about their lack of skill players on offense and defensive struggles. Judging by Brady’s post-game routine with Chris Hogan, another target of our collective ire, they heard all of it.

From a pure talent perspective, this Patriots team had little business going into Kansas City and beating the high-powered Chiefs. But that’s what they did. Kyle Van Noy terrorized Patrick Mahomes in the first half and Rex Burkhead scored two late touchdowns. It was the ultimate team win, and when Brady needed to make plays late, he found Gronkowski and Edelman. All three of his overtime third-down conversions went to his two stalwarts. 

After the game, Gronk, who almost retired over the offseason, spoke in glowing terms about the demanding atmosphere in Foxboro. “It’s crunchtime. You make the play or you’re done,” he told reporters. “You’re out of the playoffs. It’s huge. That’s the trust that we have with each other. We love playing with each other. Just the bond we have just to go out there and always be on the same page when we need to be is huge.”

There’s something about being counted out that bonds people together. As Brady and Gronk told us via Instagram video, they ain’t going nowhere, at least not yet. 

We don’t know how many more Super Bowl trips are left for Brady and Co. But they seem to be making the most of this one. The drama is behind them, and in the words of Gronk, they can now “be happy, be free.” 

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