After a shaky start that included a safety for intentional grounding in the end zone on his first play of the game, Brady turned back into Tom Terrific before a crowd of 68,658.
After jogging up to greet Hernandez, Brady used his right finger to tap on the patch over his heart reading "MHK," the initials of Patriots owner Robert Kraft's late wife, Myra.
All in all on those two drives, Brady was 15 for 15 for 152. Not bad, huh?
Add in one more completion at the start of the streak, and Brady's 16 in a row broke the mark of 13 set by his boyhood idol, San Francisco 49ers quarterback Joe Montana, in the 1990 Super Bowl. Brady's run ended with a dump-away incompletion while being flushed out of the pocket with 6:04 left in the third quarter. On the next play, the Giants sacked Brady for the first time, with Justin Tuck getting to him.
This time, Brady got into trouble the first time he touched the ball, when Tuck applied pressure and Brady threw the ball away deep while standing in his own end zone.
Manning, the 2008 MVP, is the first quarterback to begin a Super Bowl with nine consecutive completions, starting Sunday 9 for 9 for 77 yards.
This time, New York ran 19 of the game's first 20 plays, outgaining New England 108-0 in yards and holding a time-of-possession edge of 11 minutes, 28 seconds to 8 seconds. New England didn't get its initial first down until there were under two minutes left in the opening quarter.
After New England's third possession ended with a three-and-out and punt, head coach Bill Belichick and offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien had a lengthy chat on the sideline, both waving papers around and pointing at the field. Brady briefly approached, as if to interject an idea or two, but then appeared to think better of it and went over to a bench, plopping himself down with teammates.
But eventually, to no one's surprise, Brady got going - and he did so before the extended Super Bowl halftime show, which Belichick prepared his team for by taking a half-hour break during practice last week. "Material Girl" Madonna was the act for this year's game.
The drive to end the first half was a masterful 14-play, 96-yarder, tying two others - in 1986 and 2010 - for the longest in a Super Bowl.
Brady's pass to Hernandez made it 17-9 early in the second half and ended a 79-yard drive.
But Lawrence Tynes' 38-yard field goal pulled New York within 17-12 with 6:43 left in the third quarter, and he added a 33-yarder with 35 seconds to go in the period.
New England deferred its choice until the second half, giving New York the ball first at the outset of the game.
The roof was closed at Lucas Oil Stadium as Indianapolis hosted the NFL championship game for the first time, with an expected U.S. TV audience of 100 million or more.
But Gronkowski was on the field when it mattered, and while he appeared to be at something less than full speed at all times Sunday, he did haul in a 20-yard catch while surrounded by defenders right before the 2-minute warning in the first half.