HOUSTON – It was a child’s question that broke down Tom Brady.
The New England Patriots quarterback and future Hall of Famer fielded all kinds of queries on Monday night, from the serious (President Trump) to the asinine (on his hot tub habits), but his perma-grin gave way to true emotion when a 7-year-old sat on top of Trent Dilfer’s shoulders and asked Brady to name his hero.
The boy’s name is Joseph Perez, and he lives in Perris, Calif. He collects trading cards and he won a Panini Super Bowl Kid Reporter contest that allowed him to ask one question of Tom Brady. Joseph got his moment and asked, “Many people think you’re their hero, but who’s your hero?”
Brady was quick to start and slow to finish.
“I think my dad is my hero because he’s someone I look up to every day,” he said. And Brady choked up, with tears filling his eyes.
The quarterback collected himself and fought to keep his smile for the little boy. He praised little Joseph’s question.
Then Dilfer turned around and walked Perez out of the throng of reporters.
“My question made him cry!” Joseph exclaimed.
Asked a moment later how he came up with the question, the second-grader said, “I thought of it myself.” He said the hardest part was choosing to ask that specific question.
Clearly it was the right one.
Tom Brady, Sr. has always been defiantly proud of his son (and his daughters), willing to take up battles with the media up to and including this week when he blasted NFL commissioner Roger Goodell for his handling of the deflate-gate case.
“When it happens to your son, it’s a whole different context,” Brady Sr. told San Francisco television station KRON. “Or your daughter or any one of your kids and I think any parent kind of understands that. They’d rather take the slings and arrows in the heart than have their kids take it. For what the league did to him and what Roger Goodell constantly lied about is beyond reprehensible as far as I’m concerned.”
It’s possible the Patriots quarterback had the emotion of that topic in mind when he welled up. Or it’s possible he saw a little boy like his own, or like he used to be, and the bond between father and son hit home. Either way, it was a special moment for both the player and the fan. It was also a rare glimpse of the man behind the legendary Patriots persona.
Perez is actually not a Pats fan. He loves the Dallas Cowboys, and specifically Troy Aikman. In his audition video, he posed a stuffed animal as “Dak Prescott” and asked him the same hero question, adding, “Man I love you.”
Perez turns 8 next week, but he’s already received a rare gift.
And thanks to a boy’s question, so has Tom Brady, Sr.
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