Culture / Sporting Life

Tom Brady Dodges Donald Trump, Destroys Radio Trolls at Super Bowl

The Craziest Moments of Media Night

BY // 01.31.17

In a nice twist, the NFL encourages fans to walk a red carpet lined with marching bands to arrive at its Super Bowl Opening Night at Minute Maid Park. But feel-good theatrics aside, there is no mistaking who the single unquestioned star of this supersized spectacle is.

Tom Brady rules Media Night. In a way, only Brady matters when every player from both Super Bowl teams spends an hour talking to the media — while more than 10,000 fans sit in the stands to listen to broadcasts of those interviews on NFL-supplied ear pieces — in a Major League Baseball stadium. It seems almost fitting that Brady and the New England Patriots don’t take the floor, and raised interview platforms, until 9 p.m. Houston time Monday night after the Atlanta Falcons and an intermission concert finish.

After all, Matt Ryan, Devonta Freeman and the Next Generation Dirty Birds are essentially reduced to the opening act. Tom Brady is the real show. The jostling media crowd around his platform measures five times as big as any other player’s.

Brady finds himself answering questions that no other player faces, too. Or more accurately, dodging questions no other player faces. Deflategate and potential awkward podium moments with NFL commissioner (and Brady suspender) Roger Goodell aren’t even the half of it.

No Brady’s real worry on this night turns out to be Donald Trump. Brady’s rather public friendship with the new president — the four-time Super Bowl winning quarterback had a “Keep America Great” hat in his locker last year — is suddenly facing new scrutiny with the refugee ban.

“I’m just a positive person,” Brady says in response to one of the Trump queries. “I just want what’s best for everybody.”

Holiday Gifting

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If some in the media yearned for Brady to disavow Trump, they’ll leave unsatisfied. That is not Tom Brady’s way. Brady does not create headlines. He tries to deflect them. Even if some of the efforts come off as more than a tad disingenuous.

More than 5,500 media members are credentialed for some part of Houston’s Super Bowl week — and nearly 4,000 of them turn out for Media Night. It’s going to get a little surreal.

“In what sense?” Brady responds when a reporter asks his thoughts on what’s currently happening in America. “I haven’t paid much attention to what’s going on. I’m just a positive person.”

If you believe that, you’re likely convinced Nick Saban really didn’t know it was Election Day, either.

Still even as Brady dodges with the elusiveness of Barry Sander in his prime, it becomes easy to see why he’s the master of Media Day. Or Media Night. The Patriots QB isn’t a huge fan of the NFL switching this from a Tuesday afternoon affair to a Monday Night fan/media extravaganza in this new Opening Night format.

This is the 39-year-old’s seventh Super Bowl after all. And he’s a creature of early habits.

“It makes for a long day,” Brady says, noting that he rose at 5 a.m. Monday morning to make the Patriots’ charter flight to Houston.

Still, Brady remains sharp enough with the clock approaching 11 p.m. New England time to turn back a radio troll. After a would-be shock jock keeps trying to get Brady to admit to making a prank call he never made, the quarterback shoots back, “Are you on drugs?”

This how it goes at Media Night. Inside Edition and Access Hollywood are hereGuillermo from Jimmy Kimmel Live! passes out a soccer ball, getting signatures from NFL players as part of a bit. Ed from Good Burger — a movie that came out in 1997 — asks players to sign a burger. One TV team has a guy in a dress as a gag — as if that’s funny in 2017.

More than 5,500 media members are credentialed for some part of Houston’s Super Bowl week — and nearly 4,000 of them turn out for Media Night. It’s going to get a little surreal.

Like when Guillermo asks if Brady will let him smell him. “No,” the Patriots’ lifeline says firmly.

“You already know what I smell like,” Brady continues, getting into the spirit at least a little. “Flowers.”

Once Brady leaves the stage, the Minute Maid Park roof swings open and fireworks burst into the sky. The fans ooh and ahh. But the real show already has moved on. This is Tom Brady’s week — like it or not.

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