As he has all season on national radio broadcasts on Monday night, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady was a guest of Jim Gray on the national broadcast of the Super Bowl.
Here are some of Brady’s thoughts on the Super Bowl, transcribed from his interview with Gray:
Gray: Tom, what do you make of what you’ve seen so far?
Brady: “Baltimore sure has capitalized on some turnovers and made some big plays on offense. So San Francisco is really going to need to tighten up their defense and make some offensive plays of their own or it could get away from them.”
Gray: All of the turnovers, we talk about it all the time. San Francisco is plus-9 in turnovers during the season, but minus-2 tonight and it leads directly to a touchdown by Pitta from Flacco to make it 14-3. We always say, and it’s a cliché, but it’s really true – turning the ball over just kills you in these games.
Brady: “It limited you from scoring points. You take a possession and you turn it over and you give the ball away, you don’t have an opportunity to put points on the board. These games are won by such slim margins – one possession or two possessions in a game ends up being a lot. That’s really been a big difference in this game.”
Gray: Joe Flacco has been maligned. He’s taken an awful lot of criticism. He says he has a chip on his shoulder. He’s played out his contract. This is his final game with the Ravens under the current deal. He’s just hitting the cash register as Boomer Esiason said. Are you surprised that Flacco has come into the game with everything he has gone through and putting forth this type of performance?
Brady: “Well, he’s playing great and there’s no better time to play great than in the Super Bowl. He’s had a tremendous postseason and he’s really leading this team. He’s done that, really, since he’s come into the league. So it doesn’t surprise me at all what he’s been accomplishing this postseason. It’s really a great game to watch him play. He’s a super talented guy.”
Gray: Would you like to be his agent?
Brady: “That’s not my line of work. I like what I do for a living.”
Gray: Colin Kaeperick, on the other side, 8 for 13, 139 yards, 1 interception, no touchdown passes. They trail 21-6. Kaeperick, according to our Scott Graham who was watching him in the pre-game, looked really bad overthrowing the ball. Do you think he has a case of the nerves here? He seemingly hasn’t been able to get on track.
Brady: “That offense, in general, is struggling a little bit. I think they do a good job of really staying balanced. I think the interesting thing to see in the second half is if they’ll try to stay balanced. They are at their best when they have the run-pass option. If they get into a passing game, you know, that doesn’t really play to San Francisco’s strengths.”
Gray: Tom, so many missed tackles by the 49ers. They let the long pass by Jacoby Jones – very similar to what happened to the Broncos. What is your assessment of the 49ers tonight and why they have broken down so much?
Brady: “Team defense is about rushing the passer and covering the guys, and stopping the run and getting the offense in long-yardage situations. Joe has had good time back there to throw. San Francisco put a lot of pressure on the quarterback all season long, but it’s been interesting since seeing Justin Smith out with his triceps injury, and him battling through a really tough injury, that may have slowed that pass rush down just a little bit. They have to get to the quarterback; the mark of any great defense is how quickly you can force the quarterback into making decisions.”
Gray: Tom, you’ve played both of these teams – the Ravens twice this year, lost a close game and then lost in the playoffs by 15 in the AFC Championship Game. You also played against the 49ers and had a big lead, and were able to come back on them [but lost]. Now we’re at halftime and the Ravens will get the ball back to start the second half. What adjustments can you make if you’re the 49ers, and do you feel as if they will be able to rally?
Brady: “Well, certainly, there is a lot of football left to be played and it’s certainly a game of momentum. Once it starts going in one direction, especially in a Super Bowl, you have to be able to slow it down or pick up the tempo when you need to. I think you have to approach it like it’s 0-0, you have to get to the things that you think are best, the things that have worked in the first half. And look, the things that haven’t worked in the first half, you have to be able to make those adjustments. Certainly, San Francisco has to find a way to slow down Baltimore’s passing attack.”
Gray: And if you’re Baltimore, what do you do in the second half?
Brady: “Well, you’re saying that it’s 0-0 and you have to go out there and play the same way you started the game. You can’t sit there and say, ‘We’re up 21-6, we have to slow the tempo down.’ No. You have to keep the pedal to the metal and try to turn it into an even bigger lead. That’s the goal for the Ravens.”