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Brady struggled Sunday against the Ravens: Though his running touchdown flip at the start of the fourth quarter provided the winning points, he threw for no touchdowns and was intercepted twice. Now that he's facing the Giants in the Super Bowl—the team responsible for his most devastating loss—Brady sounded extra intent on winning this time around. Yesterday morning, on Boston sports radio station WEEI, he said he expected to play, "the best game I've ever played."
That led me to wonder: Considering what he's done already—aside from the 2007 season, three Super Bowl wins, two of which were won on drives he led that set up Adam Vinatieri's clinching field goals—what would the best game Tom Brady's ever played look like? I think it might look something like this:
*Before the game, Brady announces he will not only be playing QB, but will also be returning kicks, kicking field goals, punting, and playing linebacker. The staff of Grantland run a series of articles entitled "The Brady Bill," leading up to a 50,000-word essay by Bill Simmons that incorporates the Pythagorean theorem, molecular gastronomy, the War of 1812, Phillip Seymour Hoffman's brief appearance in Paul Thomas Anderson's Hard Eight, the second season of Lost, the complete works of Dickens and Dostoyevsky, Snuffleupagus, one of Simmons's buddies from college, Kant's categorical imperative, Old School, and the Boston Celtics.
*Brady kicks off to the Giants. The ball lands with a flat thud on the one-yard line. Before the Giants kick returner can reach the ball, Brady is there to down it.
*Giants quarterback Eli Manning takes the snap. Linebacker Brady sacks him in the end zone for a safety.
*Brady kicks off again, the ball landing on the one for the second time. The returner picks it up, but Brady knocks it out of his hands. He grabs the fumble and races with it back to the Patriots' own one-yard line, where he downs the ball. Everyone's puzzled until the next play: Brady throws the ball 99 yards to wide receiver Wes Welker in the end zone, who makes a one-handed catch over three defensive players.
*Manning tries to find Giants' wide receiver Victor Cruz in the end zone, but Brady intercepts the ball and returns it for another TD. On the way he pulls Manning's shirt over his helmet, pointing and laughing while running backward into the end zone.
*Brady hands off to running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis, who reverse hands off to Gronkowski, who throws a lateral pass to Brady, who throws a 76-yard pass to Welker in the end zone.
*Bored with two-point conversions, Brady lines up the Pats to kick the extra point. But it turns out to be a fake—Brady throws the ball to tight end Rob Gronkowski in the end zone.
*Late in the second quarter, Brady elects to run the ball into the end zone from the Patriots' one-yard line, having once again knocked the ball away from the Giants' third kick returner and run it back to his team's own one-yard line. This time, Brady climbs the net behind the uprights, and a noticeable greenish-yellow goo leaks from his hands onto the net. Jim Nantz remarks, "I've never seen that before. Then again, this game has been pretty unusual, wouldn't you say, Phil [Simms]?" But Simms is asleep.
*Brady has sex with Madonna prior to and following the halftime show. He also has sex with Gisele Bündchen, his Brazilian supermodel wife, and with a plowshare tortoise, a rare breed of tortoise from Madagascar.
*In the third quarter, Manning drops back to pass. But before he can release the ball, he is swarmed by linebacker Brady. Instead of tackling him, Brady locks Manning's arm in place midthrow, then vomits a greenish goo onto the arm, dissolving it. Manning immediately leaves the game, and Brady is charged with a personal foul and illegal conduct. Brady is irate, and in an odd gesture, removes his right leg, revealing an insectival limb underneath. Nantz says to Simms, "This has to be the most bizarre game I've ever seen," to which Simms replies that he's seen Doug Flutie remove his leg at least twice before.
*Just before Brady throws a pass to Welker, Giants defensive end Osi Umenyiora rushes in to tackle him. In the process, he pulls Brady's helmet down, which falls off easily. Finally, my suspicions are confirmed: Brady is not human Tom Brady, but a grotesque mutant known as Bradyfly, caused by Brady trying to teleport himself while an ordinary housefly was in the teleportation pod with him.
*Having thrown a dozen touchdowns, run for five more, made a dozen tackles and six sacks (seven if you count the one where he vomited digestive enzymes on Manning's hand), causing four turnovers, kicking six field goals (one from the Patriots' own one-yard line), and transformed into a synthesized mutation of man and housefly, Brady is the obvious choice for Super Bowl MVP. After the game, when asked what he's going to do next, Brady answers, "BALSDFSHDFOIHJALSDNLKEHFDEHFI:AJDfKJHASDIOUGHAWID."