What does it mean to be the quarterback that has played and won the most Super Bowls in the history of the NFL?
Playing in one was huge, so imagine how it feels to be a part of seven Super Bowls, winning five of them.
You overcame the four wins achieved by legends Terry Bradshaw and Joe Montana. What does this mean to you, especially surpassing Montana, who was your childhood hero?
I was born in the California bay area, so I collected Joe Montana and Steve Young game jerseys. I was a huge 49ers fan. I remember going to every game and playing catch in the stadium parking lot. This shows how I got to love American football. I owe a lot to Montana and to that team. It is kind of weird to have surpassed him in Super Bowl wins.
You do not have anything to prove to anyone, but do you still ask yourself how come you were selected so low in the 2000 NFL draft?
Of course, it still is a motivating factor, but other things motivate it me as well. As an athlete you have to test yourself every day, every game. You go through your college career and you think you have done well, but they choose other players before… The key is to not give up, to keep fighting, to keep believing in yourself and take the most out of the opportunity, like the one I had when Drew Bledsoe was injured. Life is about cashing those opportunities that arise when you do not expect them and generally do not come back again.
Why do think it is important to always believe in yourself?
Believing in yourself is very important, because it gets across to people surrounding you. I always tell young players that they need to believe in themselves. Players around them notice that and get encouraged by it. To believe in yourself you must prepare very hard. The weekly hard work shows up on Sundays, when the games are played.
You have played in many Super Bowls, but the first one is impossible to forget, isn’t it?
Yes, and it was a special one because it was the Super Bowl that followed September 11. As a week got cancelled during the season, we only had one week to prepare. We traveled to New Orleans, everything was tense and there was huge security around the game. As I had a bad ankle, I spent most of the week rehabbing. We faced the Rams, which were the best team in the NFL at the time. I remember it as a week in which we had so many things to do, but few time to do them. By now I am used to it.
Does it mean you get used to playing the Super Bowl?
No, I do not think so. You get used to the activity that is done during the week, but not to the fact of being in the NFL’s championship game. For example, media day is very big. Thousands of journalists come, making it very special. I love this sport and being in the Super Bowl means reaching American football’s summit.
You have won five Super Bowls, but you have also lost in the big game. How would you compare the joy of winning with the agony of defeat?
It is always hard to lose. I remember the following morning, after sleeping only one hour, like something horrible, thinking over and over what I did not do well. With time, you get used to it and you overcome it. If you win, you also sleep only one hour, but the memories last forever.
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