ST. PAUL, Minn. – The narrative of Tom Brady, greatest quarterback of all time, has always revolved around his upbringing in northern California, of the house on Portola Drive in San Mateo, where his parents raised Tom and his three older sisters.
What wasn’t nearly as well known, at least before this week, was that Brady has deep roots and great memories of Minnesota, where he’s playing his eighth Super Bowl on Sunday.
Brady’s mother, Galynn, was born and raised in the tiny town of Browerville, about 135 miles northwest of U.S. Bank Stadium. His parents were married there in 1969.
And every summer, as well as some winters, his family made the time to visit family and enjoy the simple pleasures of life in rural Minnesota.
“To be here and to be in Browerville, that really is my roots and it’s very much a part of who I am,” Brady said on Monday night. “My mom lived here for 18 years and I was very lucky to come here in the summer every year and the winter sometimes. My grandpa lived on that farm (and) it was a great experience for a kid from California to have this other part of my life that was still very special.
“Anytime we’ve played in Minnesota it’s always been very cool, I’ve always had a lot of family come to these games, 50 to 100 people, we played against the University of Minnesota, we played against the Vikings a few times here, so it’s been very special. I know there’s a lot of fans in Browerville rooting for the Patriots, which is pretty unique.”
That Galynn Brady battled cancer recently was well-known, but Tom revealed on Monday that he also lost his grandpa last year; his grandma, Galynn’s mother, suffered from multiple sclerosis and has been dead for several years.
Visits to his grandparents meant fishing and hunting – which Tom said he didn’t like as much – and fish fries after he and his cousins had spent the day on the lake, catching sunfish.
“The great part about catching sunfish is you just sit in the boat and you have a rod and you basically put a worm and a bobber and the bobber goes under, you set the hook and you’ve got the fish,” Brady explained, smiling. “So the kids would catch all the fish and then we’d get home and we’d scale the fish and then my uncles would fillet the fish, and my mom and my grandma would fry them in the frying pan.”
His success has made him one of the most recognizable men in the country, and he’s married to one of the most recognizable women on the planet, but Brady’s uncle, Gary, told Yahoo Brady was a “normal little guy that liked to play with my kids, and they had the hills to slide down and fishing and golfing a little bit. Did a lot of things – four-wheelers and dirt bikes. Just kid stuff.”
“He was persistent, like the say, and competitive,” his aunt Diane Johnson said. “I’m going to say he was like a poor loser, which was good … he’d get over it fast and try again.”
Brady won’t be able to make the trip to Browerville this week – “this trip’s all business,” he said – but Browerville will be coming to him, with family expected to be in the stands for Sunday’s game.
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