Tom Brady, Bay Area native, makes hometown proud
SAN MATEO, Calif. (KTVU) - Tom Brady has now eclipsed former San Francisco 49er Joe Montana for the most Super Bowl wins for a quarterback in NFL history.
It's a fact not lost on 49er fans, many who grimaced after the New England Patriots' pulled off the biggest comeback in Super Bowl history, magically erasing a 25 point deficit to defeat the Atlanta Falcons.
Brady is a Bay Area native, however, so folks from Junipero Serra High School in San Mateo, where he played football years ago, were fired up.
Friends of the 39 year old say there weren't surprised by Brady's drive in the second half, calm composure and ability to pull off the seemingly impossible.
After clinching his fifth Super Bowl victory, making him the winningest Super Bowl quarterback of all time, Brady knelt on the field, then hugged teammates and Coach Bill Belichick.
He later shared a kiss and embrace with his wife, former supermodel Giselle Bundchen and his three children.
"For us, celebrating the game last night it really is more than football. It's what [Tom Brady] means to this community," said Father Joe Bradley, the Chaplain at Serra High where Brady attended in the nineties.
A golden football etched with Brady's name is on proud display in the halls of the all-boys Catholic High school where Brady was a standout player. Next to it, another golden football for alumnus Pittsburgh Steelers great Lynn Swann and a plaque for another famous alum, SF Giants player, Barry Bonds.
Serra's current Assistant Athletic Director John Kirby played with Brady back in the day. He showed KTVU a grainy YouTube video with highlights from a 1994 Serra football game. Brady is wearing jersey number 12, his current number for the Pats. Kirby says even back then, Brady was cool under pressure and continually beat the odds.
"Our sophomore year, we were playing St. Ignatius. We were down two with a minute left. Tommy drove us all the way down the field and we kicked a 37-yard field goal to beat SI."
Serra's current football coach Patrick Walsh says Brady is an inspiration to his players.
"We were oh-and-4 this year when we started the year and Tom at that point had texted us, like, texted me to tell the boys to keep their heads up, keep fighting," said Walsh.
The team went on to win 10 games in a row and made it all the way to the State Championship.
"It's pretty incredible to say you went to high school with the greatest quarterback of all time," said Dean Ayoob,
Brady's one-time classmate and current Athletic Director at Serra High School.
"That's overwhelming, that's a lot to take in," admitted Jovon Johnson, a current member of Serra's football team. "Especially because he's walked the same halls that I'm walking through right now."
But those who know him say Brady is humble.
"When he comes home, he's not Tom Brady "Superstar", he's Tommy," said Father Joe, who said Brady frequently visits Serra and has made several donations over the years that he doesn't want credit or accolades for. "The thing is, Tommy doesn't like his name going out there and we've said many times, like, we're grateful for you and he'll be like, Father Joe, this is my anonymous gift, and that's who he is."
Ayoob said Brady has been a keynote speaker at events and even helped with a school raffle. "He guaranteed autographed footballs and helmets and jerseys for kids who sold a certain amount and he came in and signed autographs for about 2 hours that day," said Ayoob. "He was the greatest in my book and I think last night kind of cemented his legacy to all those doubters who didn't think he was the best of all time."
But football, his friends say, is not Brady's first passion. His family is.
Brady has always acknowledged his parents after key game wins, even dedicating this past Super Bowl to his mother who has been battling cancer.
An Instagram photo shows the three of them in a sandwich kiss.
Another shows off the whole family, nephews and nieces included.
So while some may be upset that Brady has surpassed Montana for the most Super Bowl wins, those who know him here, say they're glad it's all still in the Bay Area family.