Tom Brady's memorable moments, on and off the field, as he turns 40


Tom Brady turns 40 on Thursday, so it got us thinking about all the big moments of his career — on and off the field.

So here are 10 memorable ones engineered by Brady:

Super Bowl LI comeback

For nearly three quarters, Brady and the New England Patriots’ offense struggled.

The Patriots were getting blown out by the Atlanta Falcons in Super Bowl LI. Brady was 21 of 34 for 220 yards, never looking fully comfortable against a defense that had already notched a pick-six against him.

Then he hit James White for a 5-yard touchdown in the third quarter to make it 28-9, and it began the most improbable comeback of his storied career. The Patriots tied the game when Brady hit Danny Amendola for a two-point conversion following a James White touchdown run, capitalizing on an amazing fingertip catch by Julian Edelman earlier to keep the drive alive.

When the Patriots scored in overtime, it sealed the greatest comeback in Super Bowl history, and the only title game to be decided in overtime. It also helped Brady earn his record fourth Super Bowl MVP.

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USA TODAY Sports’ Lindsay Jones breaks down how the Patriots managed to pull off a comeback for the ages in Super Bowl LI.
USA TODAY Sports

Hosting Saturday Night Live

Stepping into the spotlight on Saturday Night Live is one of the clear signs that a player has made it, and Brady is one of a handful of athletes to do so. He hosted on April 16, 2005.

One of the best skits riffed on Brady not being able to throw a football through a hole in the wall at a carnival, even though everyone else in his group could, including a woman on a motorized scooter who tosses the ball over her head.

Beating the Rams in Super Bowl XXXVI

Brady created his first magical Super Bowl moment in New Orleans for Super Bowl XXXVI in the 2001 season.

When the St. Louis Rams scored on a Kurt Warner 26-yard TD pass to Ricky Proehl, the game was tied at 17 with 1:30 remaining. After the kickoff, the Patriots had the ball on their 17-yard line. 

Brady completed 5-of-8 passes for 53 yards, the final one to tight end Jermaine Wiggins, and got New England to the 30-yard line, where Adam Vinatieri kicked the game-winning field goal as time expired.

“What Tom Brady just did gives me goose bumps,” Fox analyst John Madden said.

Dancing at Carnival

Brady’s wife, Gisele Bundchen, was one of the stars at Carnival in Rio de Janeiro in 2011, dressing as the goddess Venus.

While watching her dance on her Carnival float, Brady, with his new hairstyle that included a ponytail, decided to show off his own dance moves. And the internet went crazy.

The Tuck Rule Game

It’s hard to talk about Brady and not mention the play that, had it gone the other way, might have changed his career.

With the Patriots trailing the Oakland Raiders 13-10 in a 2001 AFC divisional playoff game and driving, Brady was hit by Charles Woodson and appeared to fumble with 1:43 remaining. The Raiders recovered and looked to be on their way to the Super Bowl.

But upon review, referees determined that Brady had not fumbled because of a seldom-called tuck rule. Per the rule, “when (an offensive) player is holding the ball to pass it forward, any intentional forward movement of his arm starts a forward pass, even if the player loses possession of the ball as he is attempting to tuck it back toward his body.”

Brady led the Pats into position for a game-tying field goal, and then a winning kick in overtime. And so New England advanced to the AFC Championship Game on its path to Super Bowl XXXVI.

Brady loves his UGGs

Because of his status as one of the biggest stars of the athletic world, Brady has been a pitchman for several products.

And no endorsement earned him more abuse from his fellow football players than his backing of UGG slippers.

He told USA TODAY that his mother got him his first pair when he was in his teens and he had been wearing them since. 

One of the best things about them? “They’re the only shoes I can wear in the house because my wife doesn’t want to let anyone wear shoes in the house,” he said.

Five touchdowns in one quarter

It’s a big deal for a quarterback to throw for five touchdowns in a game, but Brady pulled it off in the second quarter of a game against the Tennessee Titans on Oct 18, 2009.

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He hit Randy Moss for two, Wes Welker for two and Kevin Faulk for one. 

Brady’s record still stands today. He finished with six in the game as the Patriots won 59-0, tied for the largest margin of victory since the NFL/AFL merger in 1966.

Photo with the baby goat

In a photoshoot with GQ in 2005 that included shots of him in suits and posing with a football, there was one shot of Brady holding a baby goat.

There wasn’t much of an explanation for the photo, and it earned him a lot of heckling from his teammates at the next season’s training camp.

First game back after suspension

After sitting out the first four games of the 2016 season while serving his Deflategate suspension, Brady called his performance in his first game back against the Cleveland Browns “rusty.”

The Browns might disagree.

Brady was 28 of 40 for 406 yards and three touchdowns in a 33-13 rout. How good would he have been if he had really been on his game?

Brady steals Cassel’s tires

It was Matt Cassel’s rookie season in 2006, and he found out that he had more to learn from Brady than just football.

He was going to be schooled in the fine art of practical jokes.

After the rookie and veteran dumped food and protein shakes on each other, Cassel dumped garbage on Brady’s car. That was a mistake. Brady retaliated by removing all of Cassel’s tires. Three were placed in front of Cassel’s locker, and the fourth was hidden.

The moral, according to Cassel? “Don’t mess with people who have more money than you.”

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