His helmet was on so it was hard to tell, but for all we know his hair might have even been out of place.
Dallas fans might have predicted trouble for Brady even before the opening coin flip. Their season had ended with a girlfriend being blamed for a bad night of quarterbacking, and there Gisele Bundchen was in a luxury box and looking every bit the supermodel girlfriend that she is.
But Bundchen wasn’t blocking for Brady, and she wasn’t throwing for him. Her only involvement in this Super Bowl might have been nursing his sore ankle, though the video was inconclusive on that.
Brady made his way slowly to the interview area after the game, taking his time to shower and put on a coat and tie. He didn’t look like he had just taken a beating in a heavyweight slugfest, but the words came slow and almost every answer was a cliche.
This was the kind of game he usually won, and the kind of game he expected to win again. His first two Super Bowl rings came on last minute drives, and when he finally got control of his team and led them down the field for a scoring pass to Randy Moss to put the Patriots ahead 14-10 it seemed like the legend would only grow.
Little did he know he had left too much time on the clock. Little did he know that a quarterback growing in stature before our eyes would use a miracle desperation pass to lead his team down field for a win in much the same way Brady always did.
The game will grow in Super Bowl lore not because it was particularly well played by either side, but because the Giants did the unthinkable and beat the team that couldn’t be beaten. They rushed Brady and they rattled him, something no one thought could be done.
As he walked toward the sideline, helmet in hand and his season over, Brady was left to his own thoughts. There would be explanations to come and there would be fingers pointed.
But for now there was only one thing that mattered.
The perfect season was over, and the perfect quarterback was no longer.
The nation grieved for those hurt, killed and affected by the Boston Marathon bombings. After one of the suspects was caught on Friday — following a day-long lockdown and manhunt — sports returned to Boston over the weekend.
Super Bowl XLII