Roger Jeziorski and Marlene Krist were members of Browerville High School’s Class of 1962. They were married and the Jeziorskis raised their family on a farm in nearby Cushing Township.
Galynn Johnson was a cheerleader for Roger’s football games and the homecoming queen in 1961. She was among the graduates in 1962, became a flight attendant, moved to California, and met and married insurance salesman Tom Brady.
They settled in San Mateo, Calif., and had three daughters, and then an only son, Tom Jr. He became a famous quarterback and a source of pride for friends of the Johnson family — none more so than a number of Galynn’s classmates.
“Roger was so excited when Tom started doing great things with the Patriots,” Marlene said in late January. “He said more than once, ‘I really would like to be able to get something signed by Tom.’
“One day, I just called Galynn’s phone and asked if Roger could get a signed souvenir … anything signed by Tom.”
The Jeziorskis were sitting at the kitchen table at the farm in late January. Roger was looking at a framed photo of Brady in Super Bowl action — signed and personalized as a result of Marlene’s call.
Roger was peering at the small print to determine the game and said, “Super Bowl 39; yes, this was from 39.”
My first thought sitting there was, “This one is 52; it can’t be from 39,” and then came the flash of reality:
Yes, it could be a Super Bowl photo from 13 years earlier, because these are Brady, Bill Belichick and the Patriots, the most astounding example of a dynasty in the 50 years of what I would call the full-blown Expansion Era of major league sports.
That Super Bowl was played Feb. 6, 2005, in Jacksonville, Fla. Brady and the Patriots defeated Donovan McNabb and the Philadelphia Eagles 24-21.
The 39th was Brady’s third Super Bowl victory. The constant presence of Brady and Belichick goes as far back as No. 36, when they upset the St. Louis Rams 20-17 on Feb. 3, 2002, in New Orleans.
After 17 seasons, Brady and Belichick have been in 12 AFC title games, and they will be trying to win a sixth Super Bowl in eight tries Sunday. Seventeen seasons is 33 percent of the NFL’s Super Bowl Era.
Brady will turn 41 next August. Belichick will turn 66 in April, and apparently had his authority usurped as never before by Brady and owner Robert Kraft with the trade Jimmy Garappolo mandate.
I’m in the club that thinks Sunday is the end of the Patriots’ run, win or lose.
Of course, the first time I thought the Patriots were headed for a downturn was entering a Monday night game on Oct. 30, 2006, at the Metrodome.
This was Brad Childress’ first season, and while we were poking some fun at him for predictable play-calling, the Vikings were 4-2 and coming off a huge upset, 31-13 at Seattle.
The Patriots were 5-1 but looking less than mighty. For the Vikings, Brad Johnson still was seen as an acceptable quarterback, and Mike Tomlin was coaching a worthy defense that included Kevin Williams and Pat Williams at the tackles.
A well-lubricated full house revolved into the Metrodome, saying to one another: “How are the Patriots going to run against the Williams Wall?”
The answer came quickly: They weren’t going to try.
The Vikings kicked off, the Patriots had a penalty on the return, and New England started at its 10. Handoff to Corey Dillon? Nope.
The Patriots came out four-wide, went 90 yards in seven plays (six passes) and led 7-0 less than four minutes into the game. The Patriots stayed four-wide until they had turned it into a 31-7 rout.
Brady was 29-for-43 for 372 yards and four touchdowns. They ran the ball only 15 times, with eight carries by Laurence Maroney. Brady’s touchdown passes went to Reche Caldwell, Ben Watson, Troy Brown and Chad Jackson.
That was the night I gained a strong belief Brady was better than any other quarterback and Belichick was smarter than any other coach.
Brady’s receivers always change, Belichick’s approach changes by the game, but what was true in October 2006 in a dome in Minneapolis remains true in February 2018 in a different dome in Minneapolis.