February 4, 2012

Super Bowl: Tom Brady makes team better

The quarterback inspires his teammates to believe they can win.

By Mike Lowe mlowe@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

INDIANAPOLIS - During Media Day at the Super Bowl, a VH1 host walked around to New England Patriots players and coaches and asked them to critique the various hairstyles quarterback Tom Brady has had over the years.

 Tom Brady
click image to enlarge

Tom Brady, says Patriots Coach Bill Belichick, “always finds ways to work on things to make him a better player ...”

The Associated Press

17

Tom Brady's postseason wins, tied with Joe Montana for most by a quarterback.

5

Times Brady has appeared in the Super Bowl (counting this year), tying him with John Elway for most by a quarterback.

Coach Bill Belichick, of course, wouldn't bite. But others had some fun, pointing out Brady's "rock star" days with his big mop of brown hair, his "red carpet" days with his finely-coiffed hair, and his "early days" of his awful crewcut.

The common thread through all of these various hair styles has, of course, been this: no matter how Brady wears his hair, he finds ways to lead the Patriots to success.

The 34-year-old California native has a chance to step into hallowed ground today when the Patriots play the New York Giants in Super Bowl XLVI at Lucas Oil Stadium.

With a win he would tie Pittsburgh's Terry Bradshaw and childhood idol Joe Montana for most Super Bowl victories by a starting quarterback -- four.

A win would also give Brady the record for most playoff wins. He is tied with Montana with 17.

Brady, of course, doesn't think of such marks.

"Honestly, I haven't given much thought to any records or anything like that," he said after the Patriots arrived in Indianapolis.

"For me and for our team, it's really about this one game and the challenges that the Giants present us."

It's that thinking that has always kept Brady grounded. He truly is a celebrity, married to a supermodel, Gisele Bundchen, and with homes on both coasts. He has a lifestyle most fans dream about.

But, his teammates and coaches say, nothing distracts him from his quest to win.

"He's never satisfied on where he's at, what he's done or how he's playing," said Belichick.

"He always finds ways to work on things to make him a better player -- better preparation and being more knowledgeable about what we are doing, what our opponents are doing and situation football.

"I would say he's really improved on a daily basis. Certainly it's incremental. It's a lot of small steps, since he plays at a high level. He's always continued to do that."

Brady has the highest regular-season winning percentage (.780, on a 124-35 record) among active quarterbacks with a minimum of 32 starts.

This year he passed for a franchise-record 5,235 yards, second in NFL history to Drew Brees, who threw for 5,476 this season.

In the AFC divisional playoff round, he tied the NFL playoff record with six touchdown passes against the Broncos.

And yet he's never satisfied, a trait he shares with his coach. He works as hard now as he does when he was selected in the 2000 draft out of Michigan, a steal in the sixth round, the 199th player selected.

"Guys have a certain way about going about everything, working hard," said Patriots second-year defensive back Devin McCourty.

"That's Tom every day in practice. From the first mini-camp I was here and I saw him, he was working hard.

"He was very competitive and that always sticks out. What we saw from Tom last week in practice and what we saw this week is always the same. He is a consistent guy. He works hard and he gets everyone to rally behind him."

The Giants know they cannot afford to let Brady control the game Sunday.

The two-time Super Bowl MVP has always played well on football's biggest stage. More than that, he gets his teammates to believe they can win.

Asked what scares him most about Brady, Giants defensive tackle Chris Canty didn't speak about his passing.

"It's just his ability to be able to elevate the players around him," said Canty. "He's a tremendous competitor and you can tell that the team feeds off his energy, his performance, his attitude. And so it's no coincidence that they're here as well.

"They feed off a great player. And he is a great player."

Staff Writer Mike Lowe can be contacted at 791-6422 or at:

mlowe@pressherald.com

Twitter: MikeLowePPH

 

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