PHOENIX — Looking tired but satisfied, Bill Belichick and Tom Brady said Monday morning that the New England Patriots’ latest Super Bowl championship was built on the hard work and character of everyone on the team.

“It was a real test for our team,” said Brady. “All the guys worked really hard. There’s a lot of sacrifices. Coach talked all week about the need to play for 60 minutes and we certainly did. We never broke our will.”

The Patriots defeated the defending champion Seattle Seahawks 28-24 Sunday night in Super Bowl XLIX to win the franchise’s fourth championship in the Brady-Belichick era. It was their first in 10 years.

“Last night’s game was reflective of the entire season, what I saw on a daily basis from the players and coaches,” said Belichick, who was once again effusive in his praise for Brady.

Brady won his third MVP trophy after completing 37 of 50 passes for 328 yards and four touchdowns. His 3-yard touchdown pass to Julian Edelman with 2:02 remaining provided the winning touchdown.

But he said on Monday, “A lot of people are deserving of this award.”


Even Malcolm Butler, the rookie undrafted free agent from West Alabama. Butler intercepted a Russell Wilson pass in the end zone with 20 seconds remaining to preserve the victory. Seattle had a second down at the 1, but chose to throw the ball instead of running Marshawn Lynch.

“He’s been doing that to me in practice all year,” said Brady. “It was nice to see him do it to another quarterback.”

Brady, who received the keys to a 2015 Chevrolet Colorado (his prize for being named MVP), was in a good mood, considering the controversy surrounding the team coming into the Super Bowl. The NFL is investigating whether the Patriots used under-inflated balls in their 45-7 AFC championship victory over the Indianapolis Colts. Not surprisingly, neither Brady nor Belichick would comment on the investigation on Monday.

When asked how long he could continue to do this, the 37-year-old Brady said, “I love doing it so I don’t intend to end any time soon. A lot of decisions I make in my life is how to sustain it.”

Belichick was in a relatively good mood.

He said the turning point in this season probably came at halftime of the Kansas City loss. The Patriots trailed 17-0 at the time and would eventually lose 41-14 to drop to 22. But Belichick challenged them to be more competitive in the second half and he felt they were, especially in the fourth quarter when the game was out of hand.

After that, the Patriots won seven consecutive games.

“In the end I couldn’t be prouder of all the people in our organization and the players,” said Belichick. “All year long the team grinded it out. They’re tough physically, they’re tough mentally.

“They competed day after day. I worked this team hard. I know from personal experience this team came to work every day. And they didn’t make excuses. It wasn’t always perfect, like last night. But this was a group that never stopped competing, never stopped fighting, never stopped playing.”

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