HOUSTON: Tom Brady hailed his team’s mental toughness after leading the New England Patriots to a miraculous Super Bowl victory over the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday (Monday in Manila).
Brady, 39, insisted his team had never given up, even after falling 28-3 behind in the third quarter.
“We all brought each other back,” said Brady, who threw for 466 yards and two touchdowns to earn the Most Valuable Player award.
“We never felt out of it. It was a tough battle. We’re in the locker room with each other every day and we know what we’re all about. That’s what it comes down to.”
The win completed a tumultuous season for Brady, who was banned at the start of the season for four games over the “Deflategate” saga.
Brady shrugged off suggestions that the win amounted to a personal redemption.
“This is all positive,” he said. “We’re going to remember this for the rest of our lives,” added Brady, who had been in tears at the end of the game.
“I’ve got my family here and it’s the end of a long marathon,” he said, explaining his emotional response. “I usually wear them on my sleeve.”
Patriots owner Robert Kraft however could not hide his delight at a win which came after two years of conflict with the National Football League following Deflategate.
“A lot has transpired during the last two years and I don’t think that needs any explanation,” Kraft said. “This is unequivocally the sweetest.”
Brady meanwhile would not be drawn on whether he considered it the greatest Super Bowl of his career.
The Patriots quarterback has now won a record five Super Bowls, more than any other quarterback in history.
“They’re all great,” Brady said. “This team resembled a lot of teams from the past. Everyone rose to the occasion in the second half and overtime.
Patriots coach Bill Belichick was similarly non-committal on whether this was Brady’s greatest performance.
“Tom’s had a lot of great ones – tonight was one of them,” Belichick said, also praising his team’s resilience in successfully changing the course of the game.
“We just kept trying to find a little crack in the armor and keep plugging away,” he said.