TAMPA — Finally a team was able to put the brakes on Tom Brady.
It was the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Fresh off his Super Bowl MVP performance and donning his fresh — albeit sweaty — championship t-shirt, Brady kept running into roadblock after roadblock on the Raymond James Stadium turf in the afterglow of the 31-9 victory over the Chiefs Sunday night.
While he deftly avoided Kansas City’s defenders all night, Brady was all too happy to make pit stop after pit stop as he tiptoed through the confetti.
In between hugs and kisses with his wife and three children, Brady had tons of teammates running up to him like children.
They wanted hugs. They wanted high-fives. They wanted fist bumps. Mostly they wanted selfies. So many selfies. They brought wives, girlfriends, and kids to take a picture and record history with the man who has recorded so much NFL history.
It was like the paparazzi were converging on a red-carpet celebrity; luckily, Brady had a supermodel by his side to guide him through the crowd and help snap a couple of shots.
Brady was on top of the NFL world for the seventh time, and everybody in a Tampa Bay uniform wanted a piece of him.
From all the first-time champions — that would be most of the Buccaneers — to multiple title-holders who have been down this road before — hello, Rob Gronkowski — they wanted to be near the guy who just put a ring on their finger. They wanted to be with the guy who just told them they’d be champions for the rest of their life.
Perhaps no moment captured the scene better than when Brady locked eyes on Gronkowski — just as he had on a pair of touchdown passes in the game. Their eyes were as wide as saucers as they hugged and laughed. It was the moment they had planned on ever since Brady coaxed his favorite target out of retirement.
“He hit up like, ‘Would you come down?’ ” Gronkowski said, giving a Reader’s Digest version of the courtship. “And I was like, ‘I was waiting for you. I was waiting for you to make a move.’ ”
As Brady traversed the field for the final time, he hit the tunnel with his arm around Alex Guerrero, his longtime body guru, friend, and business partner.
This was families time for Brady. Both his families. His relatives and his teammates.
“We’ve been grinding pretty hard, so I haven’t had a lot of time to think about all the things like that,” Brady said when asked about his legacy. “I’m just blessed, grateful for my teammates, all the people that have supported us all year. My boy Alex. It’s been a great year.”
Brady had started the day by waving to a luxury box packed with his family, including his mother and father, who recently revealed their harrowing battle with COVID-19. He ended it by getting a mere two hours of sleep in his daughter’s bed.
“I had five of my nieces and nephews in my bed,” Brady revealed during his Monday morning MVP press conference. “That was pretty unique. Got about two hours of sleep, so I am going to be trying to get some extra sleep today.”
Brady said he was looking forward to more family time away from the cameras, though more selfie requests are likely on the itinerary in the coming days.
“It was great to have everyone there, great to have everyone celebrate,” he said. “It will be a good day today to rest and have some time with them today. I have been away from my family for [a long time].
“I said, ‘Nobody comes to the house until this game is over.’ We’re going to get some time today to chill out and enjoy it.”