Just as he did two years ago, New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady said he plans on handing over the keys to the new car that comes with being Super Bowl MVP to a young, heretofore unknown teammate who, were it not for Brady’s overwhelming performance, likely would have won the award himself.
“I think James White deserves it,” Brady said. “It’ll be nice for him.”
White, the third-year running back from Wisconsin who was inactive as a healthy scratch the last time the Patriots played in a Super Bowl, caught a Super Bowl-record 14 passes for 110 yards, ran for 29 yards on six carries, and scored 20 of the Patriots’ 34 points on three touchdowns and a two-point conversion. One of his scores was the winning touchdown in overtime on a 2-yard run.
Two years ago, Brady gave the car to cornerback Malcolm Butler for his game-sealing interception on the goal line in the final minute against the Seattle Seahawks.
“James White is like my oldest son,” Brady said. “He just does everything right and you can never get mad at him. If he doesn’t make the play, he feels worse about it than you do. He’s just the best teammate.”
Missing No. 12 jersey
Brady said that his game jersey still was missing after disappearing Sunday night. He placed it in his bag after the game, perhaps never to be seen again.
“I came out, and it wasn’t there anymore,” Brady said. “It’s unfortunate because that’s a nice piece of memorabilia. So if it shows up on eBay somewhere, someone let me know and we’ll try to track that down.”
Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick is asking the state’s top law enforcement officers to help locate the jersey.
“Whoever took this jersey should turn it in” since the “Texas Rangers are on the trail,” Patrick said.
TV ratings slip
Super Bowl LI averaged 111.3 million viewers on Fox, a massive television audience by any standard but smaller than the previous three Super Bowls.
It averaged 45.3 percent of homes, also a number no other event on American television can approach but smaller than recent figures for the big game. The previous six Super Bowls surpassed 46.0 ratings.
The biggest average audience for a Super Bowl remains the 114.4 million that watched the Patriots beat the Seahawks two years ago.
Lady Gaga’s halftime show averaged 117.5 million viewers, the fourth year in a row and fifth time in six years that the halftime show outdrew the game itself.
Pittsburgh and Buffalo led the ratings race among the 56 major markets that Nielsen measures.
Defensive coordinator Matt Patricia carried the Lombardi Trophy off the bus when the Patriots arrived back at Gillette Stadium on Monday night in Foxborough, Mass. Fans were dozens deep along the route in near-freezing temperatures.
The parade is planned for Tuesday in Boston, with the now-traditional “duck boat” rally through the city. It will be the fifth championship parade for the football team since 2002; the Red Sox have had three and the Bruins and Celtics one apiece since then.