- On Sunday, a legendary quarterback’s namesake got to watch one more comeback for the ages
FOXBORO, Mass. — Tom Brady was the last player to return to the locker room, a little over an hour after he led the game-winning drive over the Jaguars, sending the Patriots back to the Super Bowl. He grinned underneath his new “AFC Champions” hat and freely brandished his finally unwrapped thumb, shaking hands with Patriots staffers as he made his way across the locker room to change.
Three miles away from Brady’s locker at Gillette Stadium, another Brady changed jerseys. Brady Daly had just returned how from his Foxboro High School hockey game, and immediately switched from his navy and gold Warriors jersey to his navy and silver Patriots No. 12 Brady jersey.
Brady Daly’s name isn’t a coincidence. When Sue Daly was pregnant with him—her fourth of five kids—then-7-year-old son Shane had an idea. Sports were becoming Shane’s obsession, and “Tom Brady was the guy,” he says. “At that age everyone loves the star player.” Shane’s suggestion: Name the new baby after Brady. Sue and husband Bill didn’t need much convincing. “We loved the name,” Sue says. “It had a nice ring to it.” Fourteen years later, it has five (going on six?) nice rings to it.
Daly plays a little bit of quarterback himself, one of three QBs on the Foxboro High School freshman team this past fall (though, standing just 5' 2", he didn’t take many snaps at the position). He wore No. 12, though that was actually a coincidence. “I was going to wear No. 9 but they didn't have it,” Daly says. “So I just picked 12 because it is the closest one to 9.” (Funny how that worked out.)
In the Daly Household, birthdays and milestones are not referred to by years or dates, but by their corresponding New England Super Bowl appearance. Daly was born in 2003, or, in Daly terms, the Patriots’ Super Bowl XXXVIII season. And the Daly family moved to Foxboro a year before the team’s first championship (Super Bowl XXXVI). Bill has had season tickets and the kids are constantly fighting over who gets to go the game.
Brady was born at the onset of New England’s dynasty. He’s 14; in his lifetime the Patriots have won 14 AFC East titles (every year but 2008) and have never won fewer than 10 games in a season. He knows the role his namesake has played in that success. “I guess I am really lucky,” Brady Daly says. “I know that they weren’t really that great before Tom Brady. When he retires they aren’t going to be as great because they just got rid of [Jimmy] Garoppolo and [Jacoby] Brissett. But for now, it’s good.”
A few months after Brady Daly was born, Shane got a chance to meet his idol at an appearance at a Dunkin Donuts in Providence. He let him know that he named his baby brother after the then two-time Super Bowl champ. “He thought it was cool,” Shane says. “I don’t know how many times he had heard that at the time, he was pretty young then. It’s probably something he hears once or twice a week now.”
Daly and his four siblings order pizza and crowd onto their living room couch to watch the end of the AFC championship game and scout their team’s next opponent. The youngest Daly brother, 12-year-old Carter, robotically recites the scores of every Super Bowl New England has played in. Carter is the biggest fan of the bunch. While Brady is the only Daly named for a Patriots great, Carter sometimes wishes it were him. (Gronk Daly would do just fine.)
When asked whether any of his Foxboro high peers think it’s cool that he shares a name with one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time who will now play for his sixth Super Bowl ring, Daly answers like any devout Belichick disciple should: An unemotional, monotone. “I don't really worry about it that much because nobody really would care I guess,” he says, deadpan. ”They all know who Tom Brady is, he has kind of been a big deal for a long time.”
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