HOUSTON — Tom Brady just has “that look.”
Or perhaps, it’s a special kind of “gene” that separates him from other NFL quarterbacks. Truth is, there are plenty of factors behind the future Hall of Famer’s continued success over an impressive 17-year career. And his Patriots teammates have now come to expect excellence from their leader because he demands it of himself.
“He’s always got that look in his eyes,” receiver Julian Edelman said of Brady in advance of Sunday’s matchup with the Atlanta Falcons in Super Bowl LI. “So we’re going to take advantage of these next couple days and tighten everything up.
“He definitely has the eye of the tiger.”
Moments like this are never too big for the New England fixture. Brady has been defying the odds and surpassing others’ expectations since his college days, and at the age of 39, he continues to cement his status as the greatest quarterback of all-time.
“Oh, it’s impressive,” safety Devin McCourty said of Brady throwing only two interceptions in 12 games during the regular season. “We don’t think about it as much because the honest truth is we expect just greatness out of him all the time.”
Brady certainly hasn’t been perfect. He twice was bested by Eli Manning and the Giants on the Super Bowl stage. But, in Brady’s eyes, past defeats are about as relevant now as his previous four Super Bowl victories.
“It’s a very steep mountain climb,” Brady said. “…You feel very humbled when you’re walking off the field, ‘Wow, we had an opportunity to go out and practice and prepare for a game that is so meaningful to all of us, that we’ll remember for the rest of our lives. So I’m just very blessed for that.
“How we remember this week is going to be determined by the score of the game. It’ll be great feelings if we win. And I’ve been on the other end of that too, which, those are some crappy feelings I’m sure Giants fans still love. But that’s just the way it goes.”
By winning his fifth Super Bowl title in seven tries, Brady could once and for all silence the debate over who’s the NFL’s greatest quarterback. But one thing’s already certain. “He’s a different kind of guy,” said Edelman.
“…I think the one, single thing is there’s this little gene. It’s that gut gene. That clutch gene that he just has. No moment is too big for him. He treats everything as if it’s almost like a drill, but when we’re doing the drills, he’s treating it as if it’s the game.
“ … His whole regimen is football and family. It’s impressive. I think he has just got that win factor.”
Edelman, a Redwood City, California native, grew up a San Francisco 49ers and Joe Montana fan. But there’s no doubt who the G.O.A.T is: Brady.
Said the receiver: “In my mind, he’s the greatest quarterback ever.”