HOUSTON — This time, albeit briefly, Tom Brady let emotion get the better of him. But it wasn’t the pressure of preparing for his seventh Super Bowl that got him choked up. It was talking about his bond with his father.
“Who’s my hero? That’s a great question. I think my dad is my hero because he’s someone that I look up to every day,” Brady said, tears welling up in his eyes, as he answered an inquiry from a 7-year-old child in the Super Bowl Opening Night crowd. “My dad.”
Brady, 39, always has been adept at blocking out the noise, and the run-up to Super Bowl LI has been no different.
He’s gone out of his way to steer clear of the constant questions about his support of President Donald Trump and also to ignore the Deflategate drama and the four-game suspension he served this season.
But Brady’s father, Tom Sr., recently made headlines when he blasted commissioner Roger Goodell on San Francisco TV, saying: “He went on a witch hunt and went in way over his head and had to lie his way out in numerous ways, and the reality is that Tommy never got suspended because the court said that . . . Roger Goodell could do anything he wanted to do to any player for any reason whatsoever. That’s what happened. The NFL admitted they had no evidence on him.”
Brady, in turn, joked on Boston’s WEEI radio that “I’ve banned my dad from talking, so he’s no longer available to the media. I love my dad. My dad has been my best friend my entire life. He’s always been my No. 1 supporter. Hopefully, he’s at the game cheering me on.
“He’s a great man and I love him to death. He’s taught me everything about life, certainly about how to be a father because he’s been the best one a son could ever ask for. I try to pass those things on to my kids because he was so supportive of, not only me, but my three sister were all great athletes in their own right. My mom, they’re still married after close to 46 years. I’ve been very fortunate.”
On Monday night, Brady reiterated his love of his family, and insisted that playing on the biggest stage is enough motivation for him. And in the face of questions about Goodell and Trump, he repeatedly insisted that he prefers to remain positive.
“I’m not worried about postgame or anything like that,” Brady said when asked about the potential for an awkward Lombardi Trophy handoff with Goodell if the Patriots defeat the Falcons in Super Bowl LI. “I’m just trying to be positive.”
Asked specifically about Trump, Brady reiterated: “Like I said, I’m just a positive person. I want the best for everybody.”
The Patriots flew into Houston earlier in the day after hosting a rally in Foxborough, Massachusetts.
“It’s been a great season, and we’ve accomplished a lot, but we still have one more to go,” Brady told fans. “It’s going to be tough, the toughest one we’ve had all year. But we’re excited about the opportunity, and we couldn’t do it without you guys.
“As Coach tells us, put all that crap that you have to deal with in the drawer, put it all away for one more week, because we need you guys at your best because we need to be at our best. So get your rest this week. Rest up. Hydrate. And get ready for Sunday because it will be a hell of a game. Hopefully we see you back in Foxborough with a win.”
The typically subdued Brady grew more animated in his closing remarks to the New England faithful.
“Now it’s starting to feel like the Super Bowl,” he said before yelling, “Go Pats! Let’s go!”