HOUSTON - When teams win a championship, often times there's a driving force behind that - playing for someone or something other than just the players on the roster - like the 2013 Red Sox rallying around the Boston Marathon bombing victims.
For the 2016 Patriots, it's clear that driving force was their families.
Not only were they playing for the 52 other players on the roster and all the different coaches, the players were playing for their families. It meant so much to them to be able to share their joy with them not only Sunday night in their historic comeback win over the Falcons, but also the entire week in Houston.
Brady set the tone for that message, noting at the start of the week he was playing for his mom Galynn, who attended her first game of the season after dealing with an illness for the past 18 months. The quarterback also acknowledged it's not just the players themselves that deal with stress over the course of the 16-game season plus the playoffs, it's the families as well.
“It’s a great game because it’s the final game of the year and it’s the culmination of a lot of things, " Brady said last Wednesday. "It’s the Super Bowl. It’s great for your team, but there’s also a lot of people who have made an investment in you. They spent their time and energy on their weekends working their tail off all week for two days. And then Sunday comes along and they do everything to watch the Patriots.
“They’ve made an investment in us and we want to reward that. We want our fans to know that all the time they spent cheering for us has paid off. And for our families, it’s the same thing. I don’t get home until 6:30, 7 at night, and my wife does everything for the kids. In the morning, I’m out the door at 6 o’clock. And when you do that for five months, it gets tiring for them, and you owe so much to your family, and your wife, and your spouse, and the people who support you because they’re pulling the burden at home for us to live our dreams.
“Our dream is so important, but it’s not their dream. They’re sacrificing a lot for their love of what we do. And you want to be able to reward them as well.”
This was also on full display Saturday afternoon at NRG Stadium when the team opted not to have a walkthrough, but a family and friends "photo day" in what has become a Patriots Super Bowl tradition.