By Jeff Reynolds
PHOENIX -- At the end of a sleepless night, three-time Super Bowl MVP Tom Brady was still soaking in the magnitude of his historic fourth Lombardi Trophy with the New England Patriots.
"I was a young kid when we won those first three. I know in '04 I was like 'we need this to be over, the offseason to start.' With the perspective of that game, it's a hard thing to get here and it's harder to win it."
Brady threw his fourth touchdown pass with 2:02 left and watched as Russell Wilson drove the Seahawks to the Patriots 1-yard line. Had cornerback Malcolm Butler not intercepted Wilson with 20 seconds left, Brady would have likely been waking up Monday with a third consecutive Super Bowl loss.
"He's been doing it to me in practice all season," Brady said. "I was glad to see him pick somebody else off."
Brady set records with 20 first-half completions and 37 in the game. He also set the Super Bowl mark for the largest second-half comeback overcome -- 10 points -- and career touchdown passes (13). Brady was 13 of 15 with two touchdown passes in the fourth quarter.
"He competes as well as any player I've ever coached," coach Bill Belichick said. "He is the guy that fights to the end. Competes to the end. There's no player I respect more for that than Tom. That's been a great pillar for our team the last decade and a half."
Because the Patriots follow Belichick's lead of high expectations, Brady said it was easy to believe in one another. From the team's loss at Kansas City, when Belichick was asked if he needed to evaluate the quarterback position, to late in the fourth quarter Sunday night.
"We've been on the other end of this two times with late leads," Brady said. "Being on our 1-yard line with 20 seconds left, but our guys never gave up."
Belichick said Brady deserves all accolades he receives as the team's leader.
Brady said he doesn't want his career to end any time soon, but he's not playing to raise his legacy.
"I've never thought much about that," Brady said. "I'm still in the midst of my career. Probably the most gratifying thing is to win the game and celebrate with your team and loved ones."
The last trip to Arizona for a Super Bowl was spoiled by the New York Giants, who beat the Patriots in the same stadium on a drive with two highlight catches. The most memorable was David Tyree's leaping grab when he pinned the ball against his helmet and held on with safety Rodney Harrison closing in.
When Wilson hit Jermaine Kearse on a juggling catch Kearse made on his back, Brady said he wasn't watching and didn't see it happen. When he saw the replay on the end-zone Jumbotron, Brady said it was the first time in the game he doubted the Patriots would win.
"When things didn't go right, they just rolled up their sleeves and went back to work," Belichick said. "Last night, for me, was reflective of what I saw all year from our players and our coaching staff."
--Commissioner Roger Goodell introduced Brady and presented him the MVP trophy before the two briefly posed for a photo. Brady quickly moved toward the podium and said "it was a long night."
"We're thrilled to have the Patriots here this morning," Goodell said. "One of those games that demonstrated the resilience that make the NFL special and make this team special."
Brady was asked about Deflategate and his legacy, but said he isn't focused on the investigation.
Overnight ratings reflect Super Bowl XLIX was the highest-rated game in history.
"Undoubtedly will be the most viewed Super Bowl," Goodell said. "I would love to thank all the people of Arizona for their hospitality. Everything went incredibly smoothly for our fans."
--Belichick said he was not sure if Julian Edelman was checked for a concussion late in the game when he took a big hit from strong safety Kam Chancellor.
The Detroit Free Press reported overhearing assigned medical observers in the press box calling down to the field with orders to check Edelman for a concussion. Then minutes later, the same crew called to ask why he still had not been checked.
"It was a big hit," Brady said.
Belichick said his agreement with trainers and doctors is that he will use the players who are cleared and to his knowledge, Edelman was available.
Edelman had nine receptions for 109 yards, including the game-winning 3-yard score.