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Tom Brady still feels like a ‘14-year-old kid’ when completing the perfect pass

The Bucs quarterback has played nearly three seasons worth of playoff games, but he loves the intensity of the postseason.
Quarterback Tom Brady, left, still gets giddy when he throws a perfect pass, like Sunday's 36-yard touchdown strike to Mike Evans.
Quarterback Tom Brady, left, still gets giddy when he throws a perfect pass, like Sunday's 36-yard touchdown strike to Mike Evans. [ IVY CEBALLO | Times ]
Published Jan. 18

TAMPA — Tom Brady has played 46 postseason games, the equivalent of nearly three NFL regular seasons.

But it never gets old. What makes the 44-year-old quarterback want to keep throwing the football?

It’s as simple as the feeling he had when completing a 36-yard touchdown pass to Mike Evans in Sunday’s 31-15 win over Philadelphia in an NFC wild-card game.

“I think whoever has played different sports, it’s swishing a free throw or flushing a 7-iron,” Brady said Monday on his Let’s Go! podcast. “I mean, when you hit a 7-iron perfect, everyone knows that feeling. And the only thing you want to do is do it again and it’s really hard to do. That’s what you do when you throw a perfect pass. It’s really hard to do.

“I threw a ball to Mike (Sunday) and that’s as good as I can throw a ball. I dropped back, I kind of read the coverage and Mike really ran an unbelievably good route and I threw the ball literally in stride, the perfect aim, accuracy, velocity, technique. ... And as much as I want to do it every time, it’s still very challenging for me. It’s the love of the game, it’s the love of preparation, the love of study, the mental, the physical, the emotional.

“But when it comes down to it, a lot of times you still feel like a 14-year-old kid.”

Among the other things Brady discussed:

Mounting injuries, especially to the offensive line:

“It’s all about making adjustments and the teams that adjust the best win and move on. It’s not about making excuses, it’s about ‘Okay, this is where we’re at.’ I think the most challenging aspect of the injuries come when they’re in-game. Sometimes, you come out of a game and that guy goes, ‘Man, I tweaked my so and so and I’m going to try and make it back this week’ and in the end he can’t get back.

“There’s other times when it happens all at one time. I think of our Saints game this year, we lost Chris (Godwin), we lost Leonard (Fournette), we lost Mike (Evans) all in the same game. Now guys have to go in that haven’t really practiced those things all week.

“So you’re trying to communicate and execute and that’s probably the toughest thing to adjust to. Even (Sunday), Tristan (Wrifs) gets injured and Josh Wells comes in. He’s trying to put himself in a position where he can do a good job and then he gets hurt.”

On coach Bruce Arians struggling with a partially torn Achilles:

“He’s dealt with some different things over the course of a year and we all see the kind of pain he’s going through this season. He’s shown a lot of toughness. I know he’s had some different issues with his lower back and now his Achilles a little bit. But he’s hanging in there.

“He’s doing a good job. His leadership, he cuts to the chase ... and he cares really deeply about what we’re doing. We’re in a great position to succeed and we love to go out there and play for him.”

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On getting roughing the passer penalties:

“I don’t think I get them as much as people think I get them. They probably let me get away with a lot of unsportsmanlike conduct, talking smack to the other team and talking smack to the refs when I don’t think I get the right call. They give me a lot of leniency in those instances.

“I’m kind of a pain in their ass, if you don’t already know that.”

• • •

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