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Tom Brady cements legacy with fourth victory

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New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady’s list of accolades sounds like a math equation when read aloud. Two-time NFL MVP, 10-time Pro Bowler, six-time AFC champion. Now you can add two more: four-time Super Bowl champion, three-time Super Bowl MVP.

If it wasn’t already the case, Brady now belongs in a hyper-elite class of quarterbacks who include names like Favre, Elway, Bradshaw, Marino, Unitas, Young, Tarkenton and Montana.

Does he care?


“I’ve never thought much about that,” Brady said. “I just love the game. I love playing. Probably the most gratifying thing is to win the game and then to celebrate with your teammates and your loved ones.”

In his 14 seasons, Brady’s greatness has been called into question. Before Sunday, he had lost his last two Super Bowl appearances and victory almost eluded him again. Jermaine Kearse brought back shades of David Tyree and Super Bowl XLII to Glendale.

Brady said he didn’t see the circus catch by the Seattle Seahawks receiver. But he did see defensive back Malcolm Butler’s game-saving interception made possible by the Seahawks fateful decision to pass instead hand the ball off to the best running back in the league.

Had Marshawn Lynch scored from the one, the conversation about Brady would have turned from greatest to former great who couldn’t finish the job later in his career.

He knew his legacy was hanging in the balance.

“I was a young kid when we won those first three,” Brady said. “Playing against the other best team, obviously, one play here, one play there, all things change, and we’ve been on the other end of that, too. “

Ironically, it was a rookie who made sure the conversation didn’t change. Butler, undrafted out of West Alabama, intercepted Russell Wilson’s pass on second and goal to seal the win and put Brady into a club of three.

He joins Joe Montana and Terry Bradshaw as the only quarterbacks to win four Super Bowls. Brady said he’d never forget Butler’s contribution.

“You put a lot of hard work in over the course of the season and Malcolm did that,” Brady said. “To recognize a formation, a play, put it all together in your mind as a young player, it was the perfect play at the perfect time. Obviously, none of us will ever forget that play.”

Brady now holds the records for most career passes (247) and completions (164) in a Super Bowl and broke the record for most passes completed with 37 against the Seahawks. He led the Patriots in a 10-point comeback victory, the largest fourth quarter deficit overcome in a Super Bowl.

In spite of all these accomplishments, he remains humble.

“I love representing our team,” Brady said. “All the guys work really hard. It’s a big commitment that a lot of players make to play this game and it’s a lot of sacrifices and a lot of support from a lot of people that love you and support you.”

One is Coach Bill Belichick, who has won six Super Bowls as a head coach and assistant. The two men have gone to six Super Bowls together and they’re so entrenched it’s hard to mention one without the other.

“There’s no player I respect more for that than Tom,” he said. “That’s been a great pillar of strength for our football team for the past decade and a half. I sincerely appreciate that.”

The scary part? Brady is 37-years-old and doesn’t feel finished.

“I am still kind of in the midst of my career,” he said. “We’ve been on the other end of this two times in the last seven years, being ahead late in the game with the chance to win it, and not closing it out. I’m glad we had the opportunity to do it.”