Tom Brady didn’t flinch when he heard the name and was flooded with painful memories.
About 12 minutes into Brady’s first Zoom call of his 10th career Super Bowl week, the moderator deadpanned, “We’ll go to Osi Umenyiora.” Just like he would’ve said Joe Jones or Sam Smith.
Wait. Who? The pass-rusher who harassed Brady for the Giants in two Super Bowl upsets?
The one and only. Now an NFL reporter based in the United Kingdom.
“My guy,” Brady said, wearing his Tampa Bay Buccaneers gear in front of the camera to kick off Super Bowl 2021 week. “I’m happy I’m not playing [against] you this weekend!”
Umenyiora confessed to Brady that he was one of the critics who thought some of the six-time Super Bowl champion’s success was due to being in the right place at the right time with coach Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots.
“You have absolutely obliterated that narrative and I’m just so happy to see what you’ve done down there in Tampa,” Umenyiora said. “Let me just get that out of the way.”
“You’re coming clean,” Brady said. “Is that what’s going on?”
“Exactly what’s going on,” Umeyiora said, later admitting he is rooting for the Buccaneers to beat the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl 2021.
Umenyiora followed up with a question about Chiefs defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo, who was the Giants defensive playcaller in Super Bowl XLII, when Big Blue ruined the Patriots’ quest for a perfect 19-0 season. Brady was sacked five times in the game and the league’s then-No. 1 scoring offense ever was held to 14 points.
“That 2007 game was one of my least favorite football memories, just so you know,” Brady said. “Probably because I had a lot of you on top of me with grass stains on my back. You and Strah [Michael Strahan] and Justin [Tuck]. You guys had a great defense and were an incredible opponent that day, and you guys deserved to win.”
Spagnuolo won his second Super Bowl as defensive coordinator of the Chiefs last season.
“Spags runs a great scheme, and I think he really caters to the strength of his players,” Brady said. “His scheme has evolved. I’ve played him several times over the last 13-14 years, and I think he’s a tremendous coach. Everyone seems to love to play for him.”