Tom Brady's 2008 knee injury gave perspective he needed ... on losing

PHOENIX — New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady knows that at 37 years old, this could be his final Super Bowl on Sunday.

If he never made another one, would he be satisfied with his career?

Although Brady will play in his sixth Super Bowl, the most by any quarterback in NFL history, the odds still would be against him getting back to another one a year from now. Even the mighty Patriots can't count on that.

So Brady has tried to approach Sunday's game against the Seattle Seahawks as not just another Super Bowl, and yet he can't help but think about the possibility that he might not be in another one.

“Well, I think there is a balance between those two things, and I think you’ve got to have ambition and you’ve got to have a belief that you can accomplish those things, or else why would you play?" Brady asked rhetorically. "Why would you work hard if you didn’t think you could accomplish that?

"But you also know that the reality of football [is that it] is a contact sport and your career can end at any one point so it’s a blessing to be able to be here. It’s a blessing to make it through a full season and not get injured. It takes a lot of good luck and a lot of blessings and a lot of prayers to walk off the field every single game."

The desire to win football games burns strong in Brady. His teammates have spoken the past two days about his work ethic, his fire and his determination — all still strong after 14 incredible seasons.

But Brady also can't help but feel that if the Patriots do happen to lose Sunday, which would be their third straight loss in Super Bowls, it would not sully an otherwise brilliant career. His torn ACL injury suffered in the 2008 season opener, causing him to miss the remainder of that season, gave Brady the perspective he needed on that.

"I think the one thing I learned, I had a tough injury about six years ago and even when we lose now, I walk off the field going, ‘Well, at least I get a chance to go out there and do it again,’” Brady said.

Winning Sunday would vault Brady into a new crowd. It would be his fourth championship, which would tie him with Terry Bradshaw and Joe Montana, Brady's boyhood idol, for the most ever. (Those other two guys didn't lose a championship, however; Brady has lost two.)

Brady is not allowing himself to put the cart before the horse on adding a chapter to his legacy yet when asked the question by NFL Network's Kurt Warner, whom Brady and the Patriots defeated in Super Bowl XXXVI.

“It’s hard to think about those things," Brady said. "Like I said, I’ve just been fortunate to be on some great teams. Those guys are unbelievable players, they were so great for this league. They were great teams.

"I was the biggest 49er fan growing up and to watch Joe and Steve Young — who were my two idols — who were just great for the game and great for the sport. And to watch guys like you [Warner] that I was lucky enough to play against. We had some pretty close games.”

What's mind-boggling: Winning Sunday also would mean that Brady will have won his first Super Bowl in 10 years. But it doesn't add any extra excitement for Brady to break the long streak.

“Well, it would be great for us to win this game and do that," Brady said. "We’ve had some pretty tough losses in past Super Bowls, but none of those matter at this point.

"We’ve got to go out there and we’ve got a big challenge. We’ve got a team that is the defending Super Bowl champs. Those guys worked hard. They’ve earned their spot here. They’ve won two great playoff games, and we have too, so that’s what makes for a great fight.”

 

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Eric Edholm is a writer for Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at edholm@yahoo-inc.com or follow him on Twitter!

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