Super Bowl XLII was not lost on Feb. 3, 2008. The Patriots’ perfect season was not lost on the football field at all, actually.
It was all lost in front of a microphone on Jan. 30, 2008. That’s when Tom Brady couldn’t hold back his laughter upon hearing Plaxico Burress‘ Super Bowl prediction.
“We’re only gonna score 17 points? Ha ha ha,” Brady told reporters when informed of Burress’ 23-17 prediction. “OK. Is Plax playing defense?”
As that giggle left Brady’s mouth, so too went the Patriots’ Super Bowl chances.
OK, that may be extreme hyperbole, but some Giants players told Steve Serby of the New York Post that seeing Brady’s giggle was more motivation than they would ever need.
“I’m in a room with [several defensive players] and we kinda see this pretty boy chuckle — like, ‘We’re only gonna score 17 points!’ — and it just seems like the whole room turned red,” Justin Tuck told the Post. “Like everybody was quiet. Literally fist-clenching, teeth. … If we could have went and played right then, we would have went and played that second.”
Tuck finished that game with six tackles and two sacks on Brady, and he forced a fumble as well. Osi Umenyiora recovered that fumble, and he shared his memory of Brady’s chuckle.
“I remember the arrogance of the whole way he scoffed,” Umenyiora told the Post. “I remember that making us particularly angry. … We just knew then that we were gonna take his head off. We just knew that right then. I mean, come on, man. There’s levels of arrogance, you understand what I mean? In the interview, like psshh, ‘We’re only gonna score 17 points?'”
In Brady’s defense, the quarterback had reason to be confident in his offense. The Patriots scored 36.8 points per game that year during the regular season, and they put up 38 points at New York in Week 17.
Brady also immediately launched back into Bill Belichick/Patriots’ Way mode, lauding Burress as a great player and saying the Giants “should have confidence.”
“23-17?,” Brady later added with incredulity. “I wish he said like 45-42 or something like that. At least he’d give us a little more credit for scoring a few points.”
The Patriots, of course, ended up scoring just 14 points in the 17-14 loss.
“We don’t make predictions,” Brady said that day. “We just let our play do the talking. I learned that lesson early in my career. No matter what you say during the week, and God knows we say a lot this entire week, but we’re focused on going out there and trying to do our very best.”
Apparently, Brady wasn’t done learning lessons, as the Giants taught him another one just a few days later. Don’t expect to see too much giggling from Brady this time around.