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Cheers, tears, and many blasts from past in emotional night

By Tom King - Staff Writer | Jun 13, 2024

Glitz, glamour, and simple emotion.

You can debate this, but in these eyes there was no question as to what the most touching scene of the extravagant Tom Brady Hall of Fame Induction Night Wednesday at Gillette Stadium was.

It was early A video of the Brady family, — his parents and sisters talking at the kitchen table about their memories of Brady growing up, getting into sports. And then the talk moved into his early Super Bowl success with the New England Patriots.

“After he won his first Super Bowl,” his mom Galynn said, “I could see, our life is gonna change.”

And Brady had so many things pulling at him, he had to cancel plans to play golf or go to dinner with his family.

“He felt his life changing,” Galynn Brady said. “He had gone to another level.”

And what a level it was, one that will in all likelihood never be reached by anyone else with not only the Patriots, but in the National Football League. Wednesday was certainly a trip down memory lane for the players in attendance, telling stories of practice, the locker room, etc., and Brady’s relentless competitive nature and drive for perfection, and harping on his teammates to be the same. As former receiver Wes Welker said half kidding, “Quite honestly, I hated Tom.”

“Tom lit a fire under my butt every single day in practice,” Rob Gronkowski said. “He wanted you to elevate your game to the next level.”

Leave it to Drew Bledsoe, the man whose job Brady temporarily (at the time) took and then never gave back to put things in even bigger perspective. He pointed to the near, say, 60,000 in attendance, saying that a crowd like that may always come because of the player’s great accomplishments.

“But the teammates and coaches who are here, are here because of who you are,” Bledsoe said, “not because of what you did.”

The event was well done. It opened with predictably, Jay-Z on stage rapping the tune Brady would run out to warm up before games, “Public Service Announcement.” There were the couch discussions with Brady and teammates moderated by NBC’s Mike Tirico that took us a bit behind the scenes of the dynasty that spawned a documentary of the same name.

Besides teammates, family, etc. It included the one person whose absence would’ve raised eyebrows: Bill Belichick. He received a rousing ovation to which he responded “I can’t tell you how much it means to me to come back here.” Forget March 17,2020 (Brady’s farewell) seeming decades ago, long ago, it felt like the second week in January (Belichick’s departure) was too.

Belichick got a little boring, but talked about his twice a week meetings with Brady being some of his most enjoyable moments as a coach. It’s easy to see why — all X’s and O’s talk, and the former HC of the NEP even admitted he’d have some angst going in. “I had to make sure,” he said, “I was as prepared as (Brady) was.”

And Brady? His words regarding the debate who was most responsible for New England’s success when thanking Belichick: “It wasn’t me, it wasn’t you, it was us. Let me make this perfectly clear: There’s no other coach I would rather play for.”

It wasn’t over the top, but clear that Kraft was trying his best to make up for lost time. Even Brady seemed to be, as he said “I wish I had more time to give you all.”

Brady, Kraft announced, will be immortalized at Gillette with a bronze statue outside The Hall At Patriots Place. A fitting gesture, for sure.

Brady’s speech was rousing. Emotional. It brought tears and cheers. Even Galynn Brady raised her fist in excitement. Remember, his dad Tom, Sr., always said it wouldn’t end well with the Patriots. In theory, he was correct. But last night it didn’t feel that way. Brady’s final words:

“I am Tom Brady, and I am a Patriot.”

Yes, Mrs. Brady. Clearly another level.

One we’ll never see again.

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