Even though these moments have become a regular occurrence for him, Tom Brady doesn’t take them for granted.
Sixteen years after playing and winning his first Super Bowl, the New England Patriots quarterback will be on the field for the last game of the NFL season for the eighth time on Sunday when he goes for his sixth title.
Now at the age of 40, there’s always a chance this could be his last appearance on the grand stage. But Brady isn’t fixated on the past or looking ahead to the future as the Patriots prepare to meet the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl LII at U.S. Bank Stadium.
“I could never imagine being in this position eight times. To be in it one time is a dream come true, and to be here eight times is unbelievable,” Brady said. “I think I just appreciate it as I’ve gotten older.
“Early on, it went so fast. I think I really relish these experiences and opportunities and make the best of them. We lost a couple of them – in ‘07 and 2011 – and we were lucky to get back and win a couple of times, but this is the one that matters the most.”
Brady’s counterpart on Sunday, Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Nick Foles, couldn’t be in a more different position.
Foles only became the starter when MVP candidate Carson Wentz suffered a torn ACL in Week 14, severely denting the Eagles’ contention hopes.
But Foles has done more than enough to help get Philadelphia this far, including a 352-yard, three-touchdown explosion to beat Minnesota in the NFC Championship Game.
While he’s not as essential as Brady is to New England, Foles is all of a sudden in position to go down as one of the game’s most unlikely heroes.
“To be in this position is extremely humbling, but at the same time, I know why we’re here,” Foles said. “I’m just a small piece to the puzzle, there’s so many other pieces to the puzzle, and that’s the beautiful thing about this team, is we’ve really had to depend on each other throughout the course of the year because of everything that happened. And to be here makes it even more special.”
Though Foles’ performance will be crucial to knocking off the defending champions, the spotlight will truly be on Philadelphia’s defensive line.
Getting pressure on Brady, especially up the middle on the interior of the line, has been the deciding factor in previous Super Bowl losses for New England.
The Eagles know if they want to win, they won’t be able to “take it easy on the G.O.A.T. (greatest of all-time)”, as Chris Long said of former team-mate Brady.
“You can’t take it easy on him,” Long said. “He knows that. He’s not going to take it easy on us.
“One of the big matchups will be Tom against our defense.”
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