GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The ultra-talented arm got him here, got him three Super Bowl rings, got him two Super Bowl MVPs, got him a league MVP award, got him prominent space in the NFL record book.
Yet, it's the cool, the poise, the incredible composure under the highest stress that football can deliver that puts Tom Brady in the conversation of all-time greatest quarterback in the history of the league.
Those were the same qualities on display Tuesday morning as Brady held court, surrounded by hundreds of reporters and photographers from throughout the world, during Super Bowl XLII Media Day at University of Phoenix Stadium.
He was bombarded with a wide range of questions -- including a marriage proposal from a woman, dressed in a wedding gown, from a Mexican television network -- and handled them all with the smoothness and grace of someone who had done this three times before. That included a polite refusal to the marriage offer.
"I'm a one-woman man," Brady said. "But you're beautiful ... anybody who would have the opportunity to marry you would be a lucky man."
Brady was his most impressive when someone, noting that he had such a mammoth media platform, wanted him to discuss his purpose in life. Not surprisingly, he took a long pause before responding.
"That's a deep question," Brady said. "I throw a football and I happen to do that (well) enough to get here and have this platform. But I don't think any of us cure cancer. You think about the impact you have on people's lives and if we can perform some type of entertainment for people to change the subject a little bit on life, I think that's a great thing.
"But at the same time, we're all blessed to be doing this. We're all blessed to have the opportunity to live out childhood dreams. You truly are living a dream. All of us grew up (wanting) to be a professional athlete. And all of us wanted to play in a Super Bowl. And to have this spectacle and to enjoy this and to have these experiences, we're all going to remember this for the rest of our lives."
Always keeping proper perspective. Always finding the right way to respond.
It was very much like watching Brady engineer one of his multiple winning scoring drives in the Super Bowl. It was very much like seeing him throw touchdown pass after touchdown pass during the 2007 season, when he put up the staggering numbers that once only belonged to the likes of Dan Marino and Peyton Manning.
Behemoth pass rushers can't rattle Brady, so why should it be any different with the men and women of the press?
Tom, how's your ankle? "Ankle's good, ankle's fine." What's your favorite band? "U2." What's your favorite movie? "Braveheart." How's your Zen-ness holding up?
"I'm pretty low key, I'm pretty consistent," Brady said. "I just try to never be too up, never be too down, just take things in stride. Hopefully, that's Zen-like."
On the topic of where he ranks among the best at his position, Brady knew enough to avoid self-promotion. When pressed on whether he believed he was "already there," Brady shook his head.
"No, I don't think so at all," Brady said. "I think this is my eighth season, and there's so much football left for me to play. I'm 30 years old. I've been very healthy in my career. Hopefully, physically, my skills continue to improve. Hopefully, mentally, I continue to gain a better understanding of the game."
On a couple of occasions, he was given the chance to complain about his high-profile life -- about being chased by paparazzi while in New York after leading the Pats to their sixth AFC crown. Brady never bit.
"With everything in life, there's a little bit of give and take," Brady said. "When you've won as many football games as we have, it demands probably a little bit more attention. I understand that, and you just try to go about your life and enjoy it as best as you can.
"You accept everything that happens in your life. You can't change it, so I think you've got to change the expectation that you may have. To think that I'll be able to go out in Boston and hang out and walk down Newbury Street doesn't happen. So, you know what? I don't do it."
Brady's most honest moment came when he said, "I wouldn't change places with too many people."
Let's see, superstar quarterback with matinee-idol looks and a supermodel girlfriend. Nope, that pretty much covers every man's wish list.
When asked which actor he would want to portray him in a movie, Brady first responded with Mel Gibson. Then, giving it a little more thought he said, "Tom Hanks. He's the best, isn't he?"
Even when Brady was asked a question about pressure -- whether there was more of it because the Patriots are one victory away from the only 19-0 season in league history -- he responded as if he weren't feeling any whatsoever.
"There's pressure in Super Bowls, there's pressure in the regular season, there's pressure when you walk out of your house," he said. "Whoever deals with it the best and doesn't let it affect the way you prepare or play, that's the way you're able to go out and achieve whatever you set your goals to achieve."
Translation: Brady is ready to lead the Pats to the completion of a perfect season.
If he does, he should be regarded as the all-time greatest quarterback in the history of the NFL.