Houston: Tom Brady hailed his team's mental toughness after leading the New England Patriots to a miraculous Super Bowl victory over the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday.
Brady, 39, insisted his team had never given up, even after falling 28-3 behind in the third quarter.
"We never felt out of it. It was a tough battle.
"We're in the locker room with each other every day and we know what we're all about. That's what it comes down to."
The win completed a tumultuous season for Brady, who was banned at the start of the season for four games over the "Deflategate" saga.
Brady shrugged off suggestions that the win amounted to a personal redemption.
"This is all positive," he said. "We're going to remember this for the rest of our lives," added Brady, who had been in tears at the end of the game.
"I've got my family here and it's the end of a long marathon," said Brady, explaining his emotional response. "I usually wear them on my sleeve."
Patriots owner Robert Kraft, however, could not hide his delight at a win which came after two years of conflict with the National Football League following Deflategate.
"A lot has transpired during the last two years and I don't think that needs any explanation," Kraft said. "This is unequivocally the sweetest."
Brady meanwhile would not be drawn on whether he considered it the greatest Super Bowl of his career.
The Patriots quarterback has now won a record five Super Bowls, more than any other quarterback in history.
"They're all great," Brady said. "This team resembled a lot of teams from the past. Everyone rose to the occasion in the second half and overtime.
Patriots coach Bill Belichick was similarly non-committal on whether this was Brady's greatest performance.
"Tom's had a lot of great ones – tonight was one of them," Belichick said, also praising his team's resilience in successfully changing the course of the game.
"We just kept trying to find a little crack in the armour and keep plugging away," he said.
Running back James White – who finished with three touchdowns – said Brady had been the catalyst.
"He's a great leader," White said. "We followed his lead. He was motivating us the whole game, even when we were down. He just willed us to another victory."
Safety Patrick Chung meanwhile said Brady's performance ensured he deserved to be regarded as the greatest quarterback in history.
"You just saw that for yourself – he brought us down and he brought us another Super Bowl," Chung said.
"So whoever says that he is not the greatest, you guys are stupid."
Wide receiver Chris Hogan revealed Brady had refused to concede defeat even as the Falcons romped into a 28-3 lead.
"He's our go-to guy," Hogan said. "The entire time, there wasn't a moment where he looked like he knew this thing was over."
Published Date: Feb 06, 2017 01:28 pm | Updated Date: Feb 06, 2017 01:28 pm