In two weeks, Tom Brady will play in his ninth career Super Bowl and even he can’t believe his historic success.
After engineering yet another iconic, game-winning drive during the New England Patriots’ thrilling 37-31 overtime victory over the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC Championship Game, Brady sat at his locker in a bit of stunned disbelief.
“We’ll remember this one forever,” Brady told NBC’s Peter King. “It’s one of the great wins in franchise history.”
And this wasn’t hyperbole.
The Patriots entered Sunday’s game at Arrowhead Stadium as three-point underdogs to a high-powered Chiefs team led by presumptive NFL MVP Patrick Mahomes, speedy wide receiver Tyreek Hill and All-Pro tight end Travis Kelce. New England led 14-0 at halftime and by 10 in the fourth quarter until all hell broke loose. The lead changed hands three times in the fourth quarter, and when the Patriots scored with 39 seconds to take a 31-28 lead, that appeared to be all she wrote for Mahomes and Co.
But the young gunslinger marched the Chiefs right into field goal range on two plays and Harrison Butker sent the game into overtime.
The Patriots won the coin toss and co-captain Matthew Slater told the world they wanted the ball. Brady received the ball and Mahomes never saw it again. The 41-year-old quarterback marched the Patriots 75 yards on 13 plays, including three separate third-and-10 conversions, culminating in a two-yard touchdown run from Rex Burkhead that sent New England to Super Bowl LIII.
“It’s hard for me to imagine. Nine Super Bowls. I know. It’s ridiculous,” Brady told King.
When presented with the statistical difference between his playoff performance in his 20s and his 40s, Brady had an answer — but still was shocked at the overall success he has obtained in his career.
“When you first started your job, compared to you now, are you better?” he said. “You have a lot more experience. That’s what this is. Experience. So I don’t think it is all that surprising. We have been fighting uphill all year. This game is hard to win. The next game is harder to win. This game, you just celebrate it for what it is. Then we go to work on the Rams.
“I never imagined any of this, believe me. This is beyond. I mean, who could ever imagine this? Nine Super Bowls? I just take it for what it is and enjoy it. I love my teammates. I love my coaches. I love my family. It takes a lot of people to support you, for all of us. I’m just happy for all of us.”
Brady will look to win his sixth Super Bowl title when the Patriots face the Los Angeles Rams in Atlanta on Feb. 3.
Thumbnail photo via Mark Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports Images