The Patriots brought down a natural disaster upon the Oakland Raiders in Mexico City on Sunday, and while they left it all out on the field -- on thing that wasn’t going to be left behind was Tom Brady’s jersey.
The QB joked to reporters after the game that he wasn’t stressing over it being stolen again following the Super Bowl LI debacle.
“My jersey’s safe? I wasn't worried about it last time, believe me,” he joked in the post-game press conference following the 33-8 demolition of the Raiders.
For those of you with very short memories, Number 12’s jersey infamously went missing from the Houston locker room following the Patriots historic comeback over the Atlanta Falcons last February.
Following a combined investigation between the FBI and local authorities, it was tracked down to none other than Mexico, after being swiped by Martin Mauricio Ortega – a former reporter for the Mexican newspaper Diario La Prensa.
A teenage memorabilia collector named Dylan Wagner helped safely return the legendary item of clothing, and was greatly rewarded by the Pats with a signed Brady jersey (not the stolen Super Bowl one), a pair of Robert Kraft's new Air Force 1s, and a pair of tickets to the New England home opener.
Back to the present day, TB12 couldn’t have been happier with his most recent trip south of the border. The 40-year-old had three touchdowns and 339 yards on Sunday, which isn’t bad at any altitude but is super human at 7,300 feet above sea level.
The warm welcome from fans at what was a Raiders home game in name only certainly helped too. With thousands of both American and Mexican fans cheering “BRADY, BRADY, BRADY,” and girls screaming like it was Beatlemania when they saw the G.O.A.T., the Pats were certainly made to feel at home. (The kid in the photo above idolized Brady ... but didn't know who Bill Belichick was! Don't worry, we won't dare to tell him).
“To play in a different country and to have everyone cheer for our team, cheer for me and cheer for my teammates is incredible. Hopefully, there's many more games here,” Tom said.
As for whether it was a memorable experience for him, that all came depended on the result. “I think these trips come down to whether you win or lose. You remember it when you win, but if you lose, you want to forget it as fast as you can,” he said. “We've been to London [in 2012 with a win over the Rams] and coming here, been to other neutral sites. You really have to focus in on what you have to do, and you've got to try to keep your routine as best you can so that, when you come out there and play, you're ready to go.
“We got off to a good start today. There was a good lead. We played from ahead, which is kind of the way we wanted to, didn't turn it over. So that's a good formula for winning,” Brady added.
The international superstar who has traveled all over the world with his supermodel wife has never actually been to Mexico’s capital before.
“I've never been to Mexico City, but I'm definitely coming back,” he said. “We stayed in a beautiful hotel, and I'm not even quite sure where we were, but I had a beautiful view in my room.”
Errm, Tom, you were staying at the J.W. Marriott in Polanco -- the Beverly Hills of Mexico City -- and trust us, it was an amazing area, they even have a Nobu and a Boston oyster bar!
“Just a very historic stadium. I know there's been some really important sporting events here. It's really a privilege for us to be here to play in front of all of the fans of Mexico and all the people watching on TV. I'm sure there's a lot of people back at home watching. So, it's a great experience.”
Mexico currently has more NFL fans than any other country outside of the U.S. and that certainly showed this weekend, from inside the stadium during the game to around the city in bars and restaurants airing highlights or live “Monday Night Football."
Brady was happy to be able to turn up in person and put on a show for the local fans, telling reporters: “I've been around for a long time. So, if you're a fan of the NFL, then you've probably seen me at some point.
“But it's still an incredible experience to come here and play football in a different country and see the reception. Hopefully, there's more games here and the game continues to grow and other people get to see it in person and experience it because it's a game that I love. So do a lot of other people around the world.”
With London and Mexico City in the books, what country should the Patriots and the NFL International Series travel to next?