Friday, January 18, 2008

Tom Brady. ’Nuf said.

So, I thought that Sunday, Dec. 16 was the best day of my life (on the set of the NFL Today show all day, meeting Dan, Boomer & Coach, getting Dunkin' Donuts coffee delivered) but today far surpassed it. I'd like to write a novel about today but need to go to bed for an early day at Gillette tomorrow so...

As part of my freelance work for Watch! CBS Sports magazine, I was invited to attend the Patriot's press conference for Sunday's AFC Championship game. Of course, I accepted (duh).

(me @ the Patriots' AFC Championship pre-game press conference @ Gillette Stadium! this photo appeared on the front page of the Providence Journal's business section on Sat. 1/19 for a story about national media staying in the city's hotels for the, okay, Providence -- work that angle!)

My game plan was to keep a low profile and not say anything...which lasted longer than most would expect. Out came Bill Belichick (am I the only person who finds this guy HILARIOUS?), then Mike Vrabel (MUCH bigger in person), then Tedy Bruschi (is he the nicest guy on the planet or what? I want a Tedy Bruschi bear just like him), then Kevin Faulk (a lot shorter than I expected).

Then, the grand finale: Tom Brady. At this point, I'd asked nothing (but taken lots of photos with my new BlackBerry Pearl -- everyone else was doing it!) but then a reporter asked Brady a question about keeping his adrenaline in check. He said, yeah, it's hard, gotta keep focused on the game at hand, etc. but he also said that it was a particularly hard thing for him to do. I was like, WTF? This guy is known for being cool in the pocket, nerves of steel and all that. Then, I remembered: isn't this the same guy who TOOK A NAP BEFORE HIS FIRST SUPER BOWL??

I couldn't resist the urge any more. I had to speak. I tapped the NFL Network guy on the shoulder and asked for the mic next. He agreed. As Brady was wrapping up an answer to another question, I took a deep breath, my own adrenaline going like mad, and said (transcription from

Q:Wondering way back to your first Super Bowl against the Rams, it was reported that you had taken a nap in the locker room prior and now you're talking about the adrenaline and keeping it in check; what's changed over the years?

TB: I think I was naive back in the day. My first couple years, I thought it was easy. I got to the Super Bowl, hey, this is no problem, you start a few games, you're in the Super Bowl and U2 is out there playing in the field. It was a great environment. I think we all look back on that Super Bowl, any time it's your first time in those experiences and everything felt like it was so out of control, you can look back and realize how much fun it was. Now you kind of know what to avoid so you lose a little bit of that naivete as Mr. Kraft would say and you just focus on whatever you need to focus on. The adrenaline, it comes and it goes. I think for me the more prepared, the more comfortable I feel with what we're doing, I think the more relaxed I'll be. I think adrenaline is a little bit different because you get very excited when you run out in front of 75,000 people, and especially in a game like this, and those emotions just play out.

Check the video at (my question starts at 9 min. 7 sec. and his answer ends at 10 min. 28 sec.) -- Brady is all smiles the entire time (giggity giggity), esp. at the end when I jokingly reminded him about the TV audience that's also watching (but then realized I don't want to nerve him out and screw up my own team so I tell him to forget about the TV audience). Oh. My. God.

But then, the day is capped by national media picking up on my I-can-die-now moment (it was a press conference, after all)...

The Associated Press writer covering today's press conference used Brady's reply to my question in the article he filed. The article, "Chargers QB Rivers 'optimistic' he can play in AFC championship game," has since been picked up by news outlets that subscribe to the AP wire service (i.e. A LOT, including the Sporting News, ESPN, Yahoo, AOL, USA Today, etc.)

From the AP article:

Tom Brady, whose best games often come in the biggest settings, was typically more composed, joking about a future in Hollywood.

For all his experience in pressurized settings, the Patriots quarterback suggested he had more trouble nowadays when it came to keeping his adrenaline in check. Brady was reminded that six years ago, right before playing in his first Super Bowl, he took a nap on the locker-room floor. Brady wound up as the game's MVP in a win over the St. Louis Rams.

"I think I was naive back in the day," Brady said. "I thought it was easy."

Okay, I'm going to try to sleep now (operative word: try).

p.s. my Uncle Mark and cousin Manda say I was on the NFL Network's coverage today. Luckily, they're HUGE Pats fans and DVR'd it. Can't wait to see how it looks!!!! Again: Oh. My. God.

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