Master Motivator Tony Robbins interviewed Tom Brady and Julian Edelman for more than an hour yesterday in front of 10,000 adoring fans at Boston’s shiny new Convention & Exhibition Center.
The event, sponsored by Success Resources America, felt surprisingly intimate, given the huge number of Patriots fans there to see their heroes.
The quarterback and wide receiver, who obtained additional levels of GOAT-ness in last February’s Super Bowl, looked less like football stars and more like a clean cut country duo delighted to talk to the fans about how their CD went platinum.
The pair helicoptered from practice in Foxborough, because Coach Bill Belichick, unsurprisingly, refused to cut practice short to allow the men to reach the event on time.
Robbins asked each player to tell the audience something that the rest of us didn’t know about the other.
Edelman went first.
“Tom’s just nice,” Edelman said. “I mean, he’s an a-hole when he plays, but the rest of the time, he is what you think he is. He’s nice to his family, he’s nice to his teammates. I think he’s a robot.”
Brady told the audience that when he was growing up, his older sisters were better athletes and received most of the attention in his family, which ticked him off.
“I never had a kid brother,” Brady said, smiling, “but now I think Julian is my kid brother. I’m so proud of how he has progressed.”
Edelman credited his father for giving him the discipline that had allowed him to grow as a receiver.
“Every Saturday morning, my dad would do the bills, and then he would take my siblings and me into the backyard, and we would play football or baseball. Then he’d go back to doing his bills.
“This was every Saturday. That was his routine. I take comfort from having routines and from being a highly disciplined player. I’m all about the fundamentals. I got that from my dad.”
Brady told the crowd that Edelman had grown enormously since joining the team, transitioning from quarterback to wide receiver.
“Julian’s the first guy in the building at 5:30 in the morning, doing drills that no one else even knows about.” And then Brady said, “He’s the last guy out of the building, too.”
Edelman recalled that in his early seasons, the receivers room was a fearsome place to be.
“You’re looking around at people like Wes Welker and Randy Moss, and you’re thinking, what am I doing here?”
Edelman and Brady share the same agent, so Edelman managed to insert himself into off season workouts with Brady, which helped the two men get to know each other’s tendencies.
“Then, one day,” Edelman recalled, “Tom invited me to the house to run some routes. I’m over there, and I’m thinking, ‘I’m running routes with Tom Brady! Sweet!’”
Robbins asked the two men to walk the audience through the fourth quarter catch where Edelman somehow managed to hang on to the football, which ensured the victory for the Patriots in the most recent Super Bowl.
“I knew he was going to throw it to me,” Edelman said. “I tried to sell a route, but that didn’t work, so I’m standing there, and I see Tom firing to me.
“At the same time, I see three of their guys converging on me, and I thought, ‘Oh, snap. I’d better hang on to the ball.’
“Coach Belichick preaches ball security. When we are carrying the ball, he tells us, we are also carrying the livelihoods and the financial security of everyone on the team, everyone in the organization, and everyone on their families. That’s real pressure.”
For his part, Brady feared an interception when he fired the ball.
“I saw a guy heading toward the pass, and that’s your worst nightmare as a quarterback. Somehow Edelman pulled it in. I still don’t know how he did it.”
Robbins wanted to know if either player had given up hope, given the lopsided score, 28-3, midway through the third quarter.
“Not at all,” Brady said. “We had a great plan. We just had to execute it. And I figured, if they can get three touchdowns on a quarter, why can’t we?
“At the same time, they’d been up 21-3 at halftime in games earlier that season, and then they ended up winning 41-3 or 48-3. But I just figured, if we execute it, we have a chance.”
“You have to remember,” he told the audience, “during halftime, I was just reviewing all the mistakes I had made and that we had made as a team, and I just tried thinking about all the right ways to run our plays. It occurred to me that as long as we stuck to our plan, we could win. And then the story would be even better. So I started telling all the other guys in the locker room that when we won, the story would be even better, considering how far we were down.
“Then we gave up another touchdown in the third quarter, and I just said to myself, ‘That’s going to make the story even better.’”