Oct 1, 2021

Learn about the children named after the quarterback and what it means to see him now play with the Buccaneers; remember that you can enjoy the NFL in "Red Zone" through Star+, subscribe here.

TAMPA -- The birth of one of the NFL's greatest Cinderella stories occurred 20 years ago when Tom Brady, now a player for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, replaced Drew Bledsoe and led the New England Patriots to win Super Bowl XXXVI over the St. Louis Rams known at the time as the "Greatest Show on Turf".

But then something else happened: the birth of babies in the region of New England that bears the name of Brady< /b>.

From 1960 to 2001, Brady's name did not rank in the top 100 for babies born in the state of Massachusetts, according to Social Security Administration records. From 2002 to 2019, in the six states that make up the New England area as a whole, 3,268 baby boys were registered under the name of Brady. The name charted in the top 100 for most of those years.

So, who are these kids called Brady and how are they dealing with the fact that Tom Brady --who they knew only as a player for the Patriots until last season-- now you're on another team and traveling to Foxborough, Massachusetts to play the Patriots on October 3rd?

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Brady, I LOVE your name!

Michael Paolino and his wife , Cheryl, were one of the first families to name their son Brady, after attending Super Bowl XXXVI in September 2002 in New Orleans. His son, Brady, is now 18, a second baseman at Keene State College in New Hampshire and an accomplished bass fisherman.

"It was a good name, and we thought we would honor Tom Brady if we had a son, who we hoped would one day be a quarterback, and he he was quarterback, my son, and he always wore No. 12. I was totally in love with Tom Brady."

She could also identify with him. The walls of his room were covered with Brady posters.

"I was really little," Brady said Paolino. "And just like Tom was kind of like that, coaches didn't take him for granted in tryouts and all because he was smaller. But if you look at Tom Brady, he was like the fourth-team quarterback [on the Patriots], he was just going to make the roster... He worked hard and look where he's at now."

A favorite family memory is when, after meeting Patriots president Jonathan Kraft at a draft party, Tom Brady He mailed them an autographed photo. But instead of being a photo of himself, it was a photo of 10-year-old Brady Paolino, captioned "Brady , I LOVE your name!"

Then the phone rang about a week later.

"Tom Brady actually called my house," he said. "I probably had a five-minute conversation with him... I asked him, 'What was your favorite Super Bowl?' And he said, 'Next one.' ... And I asked him, 'Who's your favorite catcher?' And he said: 'The one that is unmarked'".

Michael still remembers that winter day when they found out that Brady was leaving the Patriots.

"It was... surreal: Tom Brady was leaving," he said. "It was something that people never thought would happen. For that generation of kids, it's something that they never thought would happen... I used to tell my son, 'It's all going to end one day.'" And so it happened".

The Paolinos watched Super Bowl LV together and will be there Sunday as a family, except Brady, because he's got practice. But he knows Cheryl will be cheering loudly and proudly... for Tom Brady.

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"My mom is kind of in love with him," Brady said. "My mom is a huge Buccaneers fan now. She doesn't really care for the Patriots. It's all about Tom Brady."

Who will Brady root for on Sunday?

"To Tampa Bay," he said.

"I think it's going to be the biggest regular-season football game in NFL history," Michael said. "Some players have come back, but when they can't play anymore, like Babe Ruth on the Boston Braves or some ridiculously old player, like Willie Mays, but never a player who won six championships and is still an all-star player.

"It's going to get some kind of standing ovation like never before in sports. I think it's going to go on and on and on."

I plan on wearing a Patriots cap and my Brady jersey from the Bucs

Sean Sullivan and his wife, Christine, decided to name their son Brady Thomas after they returned of the Super Bowl that the Patriots won in Houston. Brady Thomas was born on June 8, 2004.

Now a senior in high school, he wants to study sports medicine or physical therapy, though he used his writing skills to write an article in his hometown newspaper about Brady.

"It was definitely an impactful decision," said Brady Sullivan. "I was definitely sad in the weeks after realizing that the greatest quarterback of all time, the greatest player of all time, would no longer be playing for his team. It was definitely a sad time."

In 2021, the Sullivans took their family vacation to Tampa, Florida, to visit Raymond James Stadium and see the Hillsborough River, where Brady and his new teammates Bucs team members celebrated their victory in the Super Bowl, and Brady had his famous moment that was immortalized Twitter: "Nothing to see here , just a little avocado, tequila."

"For the Sullivan family, it was almost like the Patriots had played the Super Bowl," said Sean b>. "I rooted for both the Bucs and Pats in the Super Bowl."

Sean's sons bought him a Brady jersey from Tampa Bay as an early birthday present just before the Divisional Round game in the NFC against the New Orleans Saints. He wore the jersey thereafter during the playoffs.

"I'll be honest, I'm going to have some mixed emotions," Sean conceded. "I plan to wear a Patriots hat and my Brady's Bucs jersey to the game."

His son added: "It will feel really strange to see him in a different uniform. He will be No. 12 on a different team... I think I took him for granted towards the end of his years, like how much we could depend on him as a quarterback... It's definitely a weird feeling now."

Among the lessons Michael hopes Tom Brady has imparted to his son are: "Be calm, face adversity, you will never run out of things in life You keep fighting until the end. Never give up," said Michael.

"Definitely the 'never give up' aspect," said Brady Sullivan. "He's had so many winning drives and comebacks in the fourth quarter, it makes you realize you should never give up until it's over and basically fight to the end."

Now begins the greatest comeback in Super Bowl

history Sean Gaffney's wife, Colleen, went into labor on Sunday, February 5, 2017, the day of the Super Bowl.

"The day I asked her not to," said Sean, who was putting ribs in the oven and getting ready when Colleen headed to the hospital, no to think that she would give birth because there were many weeks left before her son was born.

She was put in the room with the largest TV at Falmouth Hospital in Massachusetts. All the nurses wore Patriots clothing.

"If it had been the birth of my first baby, it would have been very strange because they didn't pay much attention to me," Colleen said. "Everything was on TV."

At 8:49 p.m., while the Patriots were still down 28-3 to the Atlanta Falcons, their son was born.

Sean told him, "'Now begins the biggest comeback in Super Bowl history. If we win this, your name has to be Brady'".

The Patriots not only rallied, but they won 34-28 in overtime.

"I was screaming," Adam said. "It was probably shaking the ground... When James White scored [the winning touchdown], he was like crazy."

They chose James as the middle name, but assured the hospital staff that it was not after running back James White, but after Colleen's father.

"I had to tell them, 'We're not that psychotic,'" Sean said. "I should have been a little more attentive to the birth of my son. I was torn between the TV and spending time with him. It was a strange situation."

They had fun with it though. Newborn Brady was photographed wearing a knitted football cap.

And as for Brady and his new team, the support is still there.

"We watched Tom win the Super Bowl with the same admiration as if he was still on the Patriots," confessed Sean , who dressed little Brady, now 4, in his No. 12 Patriots jersey. "There was no way we didn't see Tom try. It was amazing to watch."

Little Brady is now pointing at the TV saying, "Hey, that's me," Sean quipped. "And I said, 'No, that's Tom Brady. We gave you that name after him.'"

He hopes that one day his son will become the leader that Tom Brady is, someone who can "bring out the best in people."

"I hope to take my son Brady to the unveiling of the Tom statue outside Gillette Stadium one day and be able to explain how I got to see the greatest of all time ", Sean pointed out. "We still love supporting Tom, even though I won't be doing so on October 3rd."

Colleen added: "I can't imagine seeing him come back here and [Patriots owner] Robert Kraft not welcoming him with open arms, and everyone will love it." to see him again because I think he's a nice person. There's no way anyone wouldn't want the best for him. I can't wait. I think it's going to be an amazing game. It's going to be weirder for him than anyone to play this game."

But as strange as things will be for the fans, Tom Brady and maybe even little Brady, excitement for the game remains high.

"I know guys I work with who took Monday off because they plan to enjoy the game as much as possible," Sean said.

I left the house to shovel snow from the driveway

When Brady Cocio of Norwell, Massachusetts, Introducing himself to people as a child, he would always put out his hand and say, "Hi, my name is Brady. I'm named after Tom Brady b>".

It doesn't do that anymore. On March 17, 2020, Brady was in his room doing his homework when his father, Adam , walked in and said, " Brady won't be back."

"I looked at him like he was crazy," said Brady Cocio, who is an aspiring quarterback. "I was like, 'That's not happening. You're lying.'"

Then he checked his phone.

"I was surprised," said the 14-year-old. "I didn't know what to say. I was upset that he won six [Super Bowls] with us, and I wanted him to stay. But at the same time, I know that big-name players want to experience different challenges in their career and go to different places... Then when he won the Super Bowl, I got even angrier because I wished he had done that with the Patriots."

Her parents, Adam and Teresa, exchanged text messages while Teresa was at work.

"You have to be from Boston to understand, it was just huge," said Teresa. "Like Tom Brady left the Patriots. Nobody thought that would happen. He's an icon here."

"I'm completely upset about the whole thing, even a year and a half later," Adam agreed. "I don't blame anybody. I'm mad at the Patriots. I'm mad at Kraft. I'm mad at [Patriots head coach Bill] Belichick. I'm mad at Tom Brady... broke my heart when he left.

"Personally, I can't support Tampa Bay. I have nothing against Tampa Bay. In fact, we have family there. But I'm a fan of < b>Patriots, and I know there are a lot of people here rooting for Tampa Bay, but when they were winning the Super Bowl, it was snowing here. I cleared the snow off the driveway because I couldn't see it anymore. I couldn't see the Super Bowl. It was bothering me. In my heart, I should still be throwing touchdowns in a Patriots uniform b>".

But I wasn't. And neither was one of New England's top receivers for him, tight end Rob Gronkowski.

"The moment Brady threw the first touchdown to Gronk, he walked away," recalled Brady Cocio.

"I was making faces," Teresa added. "It doesn't bother me in the slightest, but my husband actually grimaces and gesticulates. It's not a pretty sight."

Adam said when Brady returns to Gillette Stadium, it will be "bittersweet."

Teresa simply stated, "She's going to cry."

"I probably have a tear in my eye," he acknowledged.

But for the Cocio family, it's all fun.

"When the day comes when he finally retires, and they bring him back to retire his number, all will be forgiven in my mind," he said.

But what happens on Sunday if Brady and the Bucs beat the Patriots?

"I'll mow the lawn," he said.

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