Culture / Sporting Life

Tom Brady’s Scene Stealing Kids Are the Only Good Thing in Dud of a Super Bowl

Chiefs, The Weeknd's Bizarre Halftime Show and Commercials All Fail to Live Up to the Hype

BY // 02.08.21

Vivian Brady did not want to let go of her famous father’s Super Bowl trophy. The precocious 8-year-old turned out to be a tougher opponent at the podium than the uber hyped Kansas City Chiefs were on the football field. So eventually, Tom Brady did what any dad would do.

He gave in.

Vivian Brady would get to cradle the shiny Lombardi Trophy by herself, seemingly loving every moment of it.

And there you have the best moment of the 2021 Super Bowl, a game very fit for 2020 instead. At least that slog of a Super Bowl between the Patriots and the Rams in  2019 — a borefest that football nerds have since tried to recast as some sort of defensive masterpiece — was tied deep into the fourth quarter.

Bucs 31, Chiefs 9 held no such charms. Any suspense is over by halftime with KC quarterback Patrick Mahomes spending the last two quarters essentially running backwards as far as he can to fling footballs into the turf. The Weeknd’s bizarre halftime show displays a dystopian vision more hopeless than anything in The Walking Dead. He really thought we needed to see people even more completely masked than we get in every trip to the grocery store?

And the commercials largely came up as short as Mahomes on a fourth down heave. Bruce Springsteen should be suing Jeep for ruining his reputation with that lame, offend-no-one attempt at being poignant.

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As Super Sundays go, this jumps out as an ultimate dud.

Chiefs coach Andy Reid’s son critically injuring an innocent 5-year-old girl in a crash that has Britt Reid being investigated for suspicion of driving under the influence — an incident that happened less than 72 hours before kickoff — cast something of a pall over the whole thing from the beginning. And things never really improved.

Yes, Tom Brady won his seventh Super Bowl. Which mostly excites people who aren’t actually sports fans. I don’t know any fanatical sports watchers without Boston in their background who really enjoy watching Tom Brady win. As Steve Harvey noted on the NFL Honors show Saturday night: Enough already.

Brady is beloved by the most casual of sports fans. People who watch few other games besides the Super Bowl (Your mom undoubtably loves Tom Brady.) Or guys like my dad who root for him because he’s “old.” Which may not be any worse than Jerry Seinfeld’s truth touching rooting for laundry bit.

Tom Brady largely comes across as a more relevant Tom Cruise-like figure without any of the culty undertones (though the TB12 Method can sometimes seem close). Watching Brady enthusiastically point to his off camera teammates as he does Zoom interviews with the assembled Super Bowl media is a lesson in the art of showmanship.

Tom Brady NFL opening
Tom Brady drew by far the largest media crowd at Super Bowl Opening Night. Back when they could be done in person. (Photo by Chris Baldwin.)

Only, the ever lovable Rob Gronkowski can make Brady seem more relatable — and human.

“He’s been playing for — I don’t know — 30 years,” Gronk deadpans about Brady at one point in his own postgame media session.

Vivian Brady’s Star Turn

But if Gronk is a blast, Brady’s kids come across as pure joys on sports’ biggest stage. Perhaps the most unscripted thing in this perfect athlete’s life. Vivian Brady does not want to give up that trophy. She also really gets into flinging the confetti around, mostly at her brothers. Brady’s two sons — 11-year-old Benjamin Brady and 13-year-old Jack Moynahan, who Brady had with his ex Bridget Moynahan — also share the podium moment with their dad.

In many ways, these are most joyful moments of this pandemic Super Bowl. Brady’s kids make this relentless winning machine seem more relatable. No matter what you think of Tom Brady, it’s impossible not to smile at his kids relishing the grand stage.

By just being kids, they win the night. Vivian Brady needs to have her own talk show one day.

“I think we knew this was going to happen tonight, didn’t we?” Brady tells the CBS cameras in the postgame revelry.

Tom Brady is talking about the underdog Buccaneers beating the Chiefs, a prematurely anointed dynasty that may not even live up to the legacy of the Rams of The Greatest Show on Turf days. But the NFL’s Mr. Perfect could just as easily be talking about his kids being kids.

Hold onto that trophy as long as you want, Vivian Brady. Your moment made your dad’s that much better.

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