After a week of speculation and presser gamesmanship, Brady emerged from the bowels of Gillette Stadium on Sunday with a black bandage, not a glove as some had suspected, on his injured hand. The quarterback looked unbothered physically as he led yet another fourth-quarter comeback to lead New England past the Jaguars and their league-best defense and into another Super Bowl appearance.
After the victory, Brady detailed how jarring the injury was.
"I've never had anything like it. I've had a couple crazy injuries, but this was pretty crazy," Brady told reporters. "They come up and you just deal with them, and I wasn't quite sure how I was gonna do.
"This was a little injury at the end of the day. It's certainly a big part of what a quarterback does. I've had a lot worse injuries than this. But if this was on my left hand, I couldn't care less. But based on where it was, we had to deal with it."
"You know, Tom did a great job and he's a tough guy. We all know that," Belichick said. "I'm not talking about open-heart surgery here."
Nearly outdueled by Blake Bortles, Brady rebounded after an uneven first half, completing 68.4 percent of his passes and finishing with 290 yards, two fourth-quarter touchdowns and a 108.4 passer rating. In the fourth quarter alone, Brady boasted a 136.3 passer rating.
"I wasn't sure on Wednesday [whether I'd play]. I thought, out of all the plays, my season can't end on a handoff in practice. I didn't come this far to end on a handoff," Brady explained after the game. "It's just one of those things. So I came into the training room and wasn't quite sure what happened. But everyone did a great job of kind of getting me ready. The training staff and the doctors and Alex [Guerrero]. There was a great team effort. Without that, I definitely wouldn't be playing. "
Brady declined to divulge specifically how many stitches were placed in his hand or to even show his hand to reporters despite their prodding, joking "We should keep that a secret a little longer." The quarterback did add that he expects to have the stitches removed "pretty soon."