LONDON: Tom Brady said he has no plans to call it quits after his New England Patriots were beaten by the Philadelphia Eagles in a shock Super Bowl result in Minneapolis.
Brady and the Patriots were red-hot favorites to see off the Eagles, who were in their first Super Bowl and expected to merely play the part of whipping boys as Brady went in search of a sixth Super Bowl ring.
But the Eagles, led by the brilliant Nick Foles, swooped to a 41-33 victory to surprise greatest NFL dynasty of the past two decades and most of the watching public.
Afterwards Brady, who will be 41 when the next season gets under way, declared he would continue to go in search of more Super Bowl wins despite the defeat.
The Patriots star quarterback has previously indicated he plans to play into his mid-40s, fitness permitting, even though his wife, the Brazilian supermodel Gisele Bundchen has made it known she would like him to retire.
On Sunday, Brady said the defeat had not changed his outlook.
“I expect to be back,” Brady told reporters. “It’s 15 minutes after the game ended, so I would like to process this. I don’t see why I wouldn’t be back.”
Pressed later about whether he intended to return, he added: “I certainly hope so.”
Should he return he is likely to lead a very different Patriots side. Even before the defeat the team had shown signs of breaking apart.
Those fissures widened even further in the aftermath of a shattering loss, when star tight end Rob Gronkowski hinted that he may have played his last game in the NFL.
Gronkowski, still only 28, told reporters he planned to take time to consider his future in the off-season following the loss.
Gronkowski was badly shaken by a concussion last month against Jacksonville, an incident which added to a laundry list of injuries the 6ft 6in tight end has suffered during his career.
Asked about the rumors suggesting he may retire, Gronkowski said: “I don’t know how you heard that, but I’m definitely going to look at my future for sure.”
“I’m going to sit down in the next couple of weeks and see where I’m at.”
If Gronkowski does retire, it would leave a gaping hole in the Patriots’ offense.
Gronkowski is one of the favored targets of quarterback Brady.
On top of that Offensive co-ordinator Josh McDaniels, with whom Brady has forged a close relationship, is expected to leave in the summer to pursue a head coaching job with the Indianapolis Colts.
McDaniels refused to entertain questions about his future on Sunday. “I’m not talking about that tonight,” he said.
As well as McDaniels’ expected departure, head coach Bill Belichick is also likely to have to find a new defensive co-ordinator, with Matt Patricia linked to a move as head coach of the Detroit Lions.
Patriots defensive back Devin McCourty appeared resigned to Patricia’s departure. “He’s given a big piece of him each year for eight years now,” McCourty said.
“I think that’s what makes him want more.”
Patricia, too, deflected questions about his future.
“Right now, it is all about the game and Philly and my disappointment in the outcome of the game tonight,” Patricia said.
“I just feel really bad for our guys and that we didn’t put them in a situation that allowed them to be successful in the game,” Patricia said.
BELICHICK BLAMES COACHING MISTAKES
New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick blamed coaching mistakes for his team’s upset Super Bowl loss to the Philadelphia Eagles.
The most successful coach in Super Bowl history was left shellshocked after the Eagles conjured up one of the great performances to win in an all-time classic clash.
Belichick, who had been aiming to win his sixth Vince Lombardi Trophy with the Patriots, pinpointed a lackluster first half when New England had been unable to put more points on the board.
“Obviously we didn’t do a good enough job coaching, missed a lot of opportunities offensively in the first half, didn’t play good enough defense, didn’t play good enough in the kicking game,” Belichick said.
“In the end, we just couldn’t quite make enough plays, and that was all on me. Disappointing, but I’m proud of the way our team competed.”
It was the third time Belichick has tasted defeat in a Super Bowl.
Belichick however insisted that despite the defeat his team could be proud of their season.
“These guys are champions, champions of the AFC. They earned that. We just came up a little bit short,” he said.
“Tough, tough, way to end. There’s a lot of really good things that happened this season, but that’s what this game’s about.”