Tom Brady made his weekly appearance on the Dennis & Callahan show on Monday morning, a day after the Patriots clinched their 11th AFC East title in 12 seasons with a 41-13 rout of the Dolphins. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.
Brady completed 21-of-35 passes for 287 yards and two touchdowns with one interception. He also scrambled for a first down in the third quarter to spark the offense after an unimpressive first half.
“I found a little space there,” Brady said of his run. “They’ve been doing it to us the last few times that we played them where they really focus the coverage on a few guys and it leaves definitely some places to run. When I felt like I had the look, I kind of wanted to pull the trigger, and I saw some space and got some great blocks down field. So it ended up being a big play in the game.”
That 17-yard run was a hot topic after the game.
“Well, it’s pretty atypical. I guess when it happens once every seven or eight years then yeah, it can definitely be talked about,” Brady joked. “But I thought there were a lot of great things to be talked about. Certainly, a lot of guys played really well yesterday. Our defense is playing as well as I can ever remember. They really set the tone for us the last bunch of weeks.
“I’m glad we were able to put some things together there in the second half. But it’s a good defense. They’re the fifth-rated defense in the league. They got guys that can rush, they got guys they can cover. We made some plays there in the second half, which was great to see.”
After being tackles, Brady got up and was very vocal in the direction of Dolphins safety Walt Aikens.
“I don’t remember [what was said]. No, I don’t remember much,” Brady said. “He gave me a good little pop. Normally I’m always going down or getting out, and I was pretty close to the goal line. But there’s a reason why they’re called safeties and they’re the last line of defense. He definitely didn’t let me get any farther than I wanted to go.”
Asked if he took the hit in an effort to light a fire under the team, Brady said: “Well, I said after the game that I wasn’t in the best of mood at that time. So I think when I got there and I was into the secondary and surveyed some things and then I saw him coming, I just figured, why not? I don’t take those too often because usually those don’t go to well for me or for many players when they’re not used to getting hit. And he was bigger than I thought he was. I wish I would’ve stayed on my feet. But it was good play, it was a play that we needed. A lot of guys made a bunch of plays that we needed. I was glad to be able to contribute.”
Later in the third quarter, as the Patriots were starting to pull away, Brady again was seen being very vocal on the sideline.
“I wanted more points. That’s what I wanted,” he said. “We had a bad first half, and we kind of exploded there in the second half. I really wanted to drive the nail in the coffin. I think we were all pretty disappointed by the first half and wanted to have a great second half. We had a good third quarter, and I really wanted us to finish strong with a great fourth quarter. We tried, we made some plays, got down there somewhat close and then couldn’t convert on the third down, which I would have loved to have done.
“Every time we take the field we’re trying to score. I don’t think we ever take the pedal off the metal until there’s no time left in the game. Especially against a team that beat us before and we’ve always had tough games against. And they’re a good defense, so it was good to put up 41 on them.”
The Patriots led just 14-13 at halftime, with half of their points coming courtesy of special teams. Brady said there was a lot of emotion in the locker room during the break.
“I think that it wasn’t necessarily we were going to go in there and make a bunch of scheme changes, because we basically hardly had the ball on offense. We had the ball for 25 plays, and they were 25 pretty crappy plays,” he said. “It wasn’t like there was a lot of coaching going on about, ‘Here’s what we’re going to do, here’s what we’re going to adjust or change,’ because we hardly did anything to keep the ball. We couldn’t convert on third down. We just had so many poor plays, self-inflicted wounds that don’t allow you to score points. And you need to be able to string them together. We missed plays that we should have had.
“Everybody was pretty fired up. Certainly Josh [McDaniels] was fired up. He expects a lot more out of us than what we were giving him there in the first half. Everybody kind of dug deep, responded. Sometimes it doesn’t go well and you’ve got to see what kind of mental toughness you have. Last time we played them we were up 20-10 and they outscored us a bunch there in the second half. It was a little bit of a role reversal this time around.”
Following are more highlights from the interview. For more Patriots news, visit the team page at weei.com/patriots.
On the Sports Illustrated story detailing his dedication to his workout regimen and a healthy diet: “It’s been quite a learning experience for me over 15 years of playing pro football. I think there’s been a lot of things I’ve learned that I would love to teach other people, because I feel like I’ve learned a way that is the most conducive to — I always use the word sustaining peak performance. There’s a lot of high school kids, there’s a lot of college kids, there’s a lot of pro athletes that really want to do the best. And sometimes you get wrong information or misinformation. So you’re trying to do the best, but you end up getting better at getting worse. I think I’ve found ways I can really get better at getting better, and not just going out to do what people have always done in the past, just try to improve themselves as athletes. And it’s a very systematic thing.
“Really over the last four or five years I’ve always talked to my friend who is alluded to in the article, Alex, about, I always said when I was done playing I really want to go out and teach people. I have two sons myself that are going to be in sports, and I want them to not have the type of issues that a lot of players today or players of the past have had. Because I don’t think I’m going to have any of those problems with knees or hips or head issues or shoulder issues just because of the way that I’m able to take care of myself, and through the people and the support system that I have be able to try to perform as well as I can for as long as possible.
“Like I said, it’s more of a lifestyle. There’s no magic bullet. It’s not like you’ve got to do this one thing and you’ll be able to achieve that. It’s a lifestyle approach. It’s eating right, it’s the right nutrition, it’s working out the right way. It’s trying to be preventative. The last thing you want is to get an injury and then now you’re behind the eight-ball for the rest of the season. I think you’ve got to work as hard as you can to try to prevent injuries, and that’s the key to sustaining peak performance is to really not get hurt. That’s kind of what it was all about, and that’s what I’ve really learned over the years. I want to do a great job in my next life really educating people how to do that.”
On if he ever has times when he does not adhere to his healthy diet: “It’s balance in all things. So if that’s really what you want then you’ve got to go for it. But moderation to me is not once a day. It’s like, ‘Yeah, I don’t drink much, it’s just one drink a day.’ Well, to me that’s not really moderation. If you want to go out and you want to have a drink, it’s a special occasion, great. If you want to go out and have ice cream or a cheeseburger, great, in moderation. But you’d better do a lot of other things. It’s like having a bunch of bad meals and then having one good meal. That one good meal ain’t going to make any bit of difference. The same thing if you have a lot of good meals and you have one bad meal. The one bad meal is not going to make a difference. I’d say I do a lot more good than bad. But yeah, if I want to have a cheeseburger, I eat a cheeseburger. It’s not that rigid. …
“The one thing I probably don’t drink is soda. I haven’t had a soda in a long time. I don’t think that’s helping me at all. The hydration is really important for all athletes, because you really need hydrated muscles. You need soft, supple, playable muscles if you want to be able to sustain it. But so often we train ourselves to get big, rock-hard muscles that can’t give. Then once you get hit, that’s where you tear tendons and ligaments. … I see a lot of injuries around the league and I just shake my head, like, ‘Man, that’s so easily preventable.’ Think about it: You’ve got multimillion dollar athletes that you pay all this money to and then the guy can’t play because of a very easily preventable injury. And I think that’s the thing that’s frustrated me over the years to see is to see people get injured when it’s not really necessary. …
“I’ve always been someone that’s been intrigued by learning, and been intrigued by understanding better ways. And typically as an athlete you want to push the envelope. I kind of have a thirst for knowledge. I’m always trying to push the envelope with things that have different approaches. And I figure out the techniques that work for me. I think it’s balance in all things. I think that’s the most important thing.”
On his preferred desert of avocado cream with cacao: “It does the trick. It’s not quite as good as mint chocolate chunk or something like that, which is pretty delicious, too. Yeah, there’s a place by our house in Jamaica Plain that has it. The kids love it. It’s not as bad as it sounds.”
On if his sons will play football: “If they want to. I would love it. I think it’s the greatest sport in the world. It teaches you a lot about teamwork and discipline and work ethic and sacrifice and selflessness, all the great lessons that it’s taught me. I’m not worried about them playing at all, because I know that if there’s ever an injury — which, look, if you play sports there’s going to be injuries — that I know exactly how to treat them. It gives me a lot of peace of mind knowing that I’ve had someone that I’ve learned from that’s taken care of me for so long that I’m not worried about injuries, Yeah, they come up, you deal with them and then you get yourself better, you rehab the right way, you work hard to prevent injuries, and you get back out there and you’re able to do things that you love to do.”
On seeing Drew Bledsoe after the game: “It was great seeing him. He’s been a friend since the day we met. We’ve always kept in touch over the years and I love seeing him back at the games. It was nice to be with him.”