Tom Brady announced his retirement on Wednesday (again), ending a career “for good” that included seven Super Bowl rings and five Super Bowl MVPs.
But, five years ago this coming Saturday – Feb. 4, 2018 – Brady lost out on another ring, what would’ve then been his sixth total and second straight at the time, thanks in part to a man who starred for Brady’s Michigan Wolverines a decade after Tom had.
And when you talk about it, all you have to say to a Philly fan is one three-word phrase: The Strip Sack.
“That was definitely a life-changer man, because no one can take that away,” Brandon Graham, the man who got “The Strip Sack,” said Thursday.
“Going against Brady in the Super Bowl, somebody who you know puts daggers in peoples’ hearts in those drives, especially that last drive…if anything, I’m happy because it was another Michigan guy. Something that I can always go back to Michigan if I see Brady we can always have good conversations about that one.”
The only sack Brady took in Super Bowl LII came with just over two minutes left and the Birds up five. Graham got him and stripped the ball, Derek Barnett recovered, the Eagles got a field goal, and Brady got one more chance down eight to send the Super Bowl to OT.
We all know the result, but five years later, Graham and Barnett – who is on IR and will not play – are two of just seven Eagles still on the team as the Birds head to Super Bowl LVII, and Graham is now third in games played as an Eagle behind only Weapon X and David Akers. And Graham, at least, has only gotten better since 2017-18, heading into the Super Bowl off a career high 11 sacks this season.
None, yet at least, as big as that one five years ago Saturday.
“I’m happy I was able to do that in my career, especially how it went in the beginning, to be able to make a play like that in a town that never had a (Super Bowl) championship and we finally brought us one,” Graham said. “It changed my trajectory of how people view me as a player, and it’s just gotten better ever since.”
Brady lost just one Super Bowl in his final 10 seasons, only once turned a ball over after the clock struck 7:30 to go, and only once fumbled in his own end in a big game – and all three came on that one play.
It will forever link Graham and Brady, and as tough of a season in Tampa Bay as Brady went out on, Graham thinks there’s absolutely nothing that should make TB12 hang his head.
“You know what? I felt that one this time, really felt that, because you could see that he was ready to let it go a little bit as far as crying,” Graham said of Brady. “He had a hell of a career, you shouldn’t have no regrets, even if this year didn’t go as well as you wanted it to go, people are always going to remember all the great things you’ve done. He shouldn’t hang his head about anything. He’s a Michigan man. He’s definitely got an opportunity afterwards with that big (FOX TV deal) that he has."
But then, one last dig and a laugh: “But I don’t feel sorry for him!”
We’ll see what next Sunday brings, but perhaps, years from now when Patrick Mahomes’ sure-fire Hall of Fame career ends, Graham will have a Super Bowl moment against him, too, to look back on.
Follow Lou DiPietro on Twitter: @LouDiPietroWFAN
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