BOSTON (CBS) — Tom Brady will turn 36 years old this summer. He hasn’t led the Patriots to a Super Bowl win in nearly a decade. He just lost the most reliable receiver he’s ever had to free agency, and he enters the 2013 season with the most questionable receiving corps he’s had since 2006.
So you wouldn’t be crazy to have some doubts about the upcoming season … but you would be crazy if you think Brady has any doubts of his own.
“I feel like I’m 25,” Brady said in an extensive feature story in ESPN The Magazine.
The story captures Brady, his mind-set, his goals, his challenges raising children in a celebrity-obsessed culture and his never-ending quest for perfection, which we’ve all gotten familiar with over the past dozen years.
“Could we win the Super Bowl every year? Of course — and that’s the goal,” Brady said in the magazine. “But the reality is based on injuries and different margins for error. In certain games, you have to be perfect, and if you’re less than perfect, you’re gonna get beat.”
Brady’s learned that, of course, on some grand stages over the years — the AFC Championship Games in 2006 and 2012, the Super Bowls in 2007 and 2011, most notably. He said that he still regrets a bad throw to Laurence Maroney in Super Bowl XLII, one that could have changed the entire game, and also the slightly off-target pass that Wes Welker could not hold onto in Super Bowl XLVI.
“I’ve learned that it’s hard to close it out,” he admitted. “In 2001, it was miraculous for us to win. In 2007, it was miraculous for the Giants to win. But no one remembers that. They remember who got the trophy.”
Still, past missteps serve only as motivation for Brady, and when he takes the field in September, he’ll be wholly focused on the task at hand. That’s due mostly to Brady’s inner drive, but he said that his determination was aided by — of all things — a documentary on an 85-year-old chef’s quest to improve upon his sushi.
“It smacked me in the face as a reaffirmation,” Brady said in the feature. “Just be in the moment. What’s better than what you’re doing? Nothing.”