FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — The crowd goes wild. Tom Brady stays calm.
Same as always.
“That’s pretty much always been a trademark of Tom,” New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick says.
Long before he became one of the NFL’s greatest quarterbacks, Brady got used to the pressure of playing before more than 100,000 fans in college. Then, in just his third pro start more than a decade ago, he led the first successful fourth-quarter comeback of his pro career.
And last Sunday, cool in the clutch, he got the ball 70 yards from the end zone with no timeouts and 73 seconds left and completed the winning touchdown pass with 5 ticks left on the clock.
That 30-27 stunner against the New Orleans Saints added another notch to his comeback belt — 26 wins in games the Patriots trailed in the fourth quarter. Patriots fans who stayed after about half left in despair roared as Brady confidently led his team to victory.
But that was nothing like the crowds at Michigan.
“I went to a big school, so there were 110,000 people that came to our games in college,” Brady said. “I learned pretty early. I came here and there are 65,000 people. It’s like, ‘Man, where is it? It’s half the stadium.’ You try to be in those pressurized situations and put a lot of pressure on yourself to perform well.”
For some quarterbacks, the moment might be too much.
For Brady, trailing in the last two minutes is just another chance to make plays.
“I’ve been around for a little bit, so I’ve been in these situations. Good execution usually solves a lot of the issues,” he said. “You’re just trying to focus, really, on what the situation is, not what has happened over the course of the game. You get in a situation where you need a touchdown at the end, that’s the situation you’re in.”