So it turns out that sure-fire Hall of Fame, multiple Super Bowl-winning, widely-considered-one-of-the-best-ever NFL quarterbacks who just happen to have rugged good looks, a supermodel wife and a house with a moat have feelings too.
New England QB Tom Brady acknowledged Monday that all the negativity surrounding the Patriots in the midst of the "Deflategate" scandal -- and the fact that much of it has been directed toward him -- had gotten to him.
"I personalized a lot of things and thought this was all about me and my feelings got hurt, and then I moved past it because it's not serving me," Brady said Monday morning during his weekly radio appearance on WEEI-FM, the same station on which he laughed off allegations that the Patriots were playing with under-inflated balls during their 45-7 victory over the Indianapolis Colts in the AFC championship game.
A lot has changed since then. The NFL has determined that 11 of the Patriots' 12 game balls did not contain enough air, according to league standards, during the first half of that game and launched an investigation into just how they got that way.
The Patriots have since gone into damage-control mode, with Brady addressing the matter in a news conference Thursday, denying he had anything to do with tampering with the balls. That appearance has been widely mocked, with many folks doubting the two-time league MVP's sincerity.
Brady was asked during Monday's radio interview if he has ever asked a ball boy or equipment manager to deflate the game balls after they have met league specifications.
"Absolutely not," Brady said. "No, I didn't. And I haven't. And I never will. I think that's obviously how I feel and the kind of person that I am.
"No one knows the facts. I pick 24 balls, that's what I pick. Whatever happened after I did it, and whatever the situation was where they measured them, I have no idea any of those facts. ... When you don't know something, that's all you can say is, 'I don't know.' I know that's not always the answer that people want to hear, but that's the reality."
With all of this unfolding in the weeks leading up to the Super Bowl, it may seem like horrible timing for the Patriots. But Brady said it has helped him to have something so huge to focus on.
"I think what's serving me is to try to prepare for the game ahead, and I'll deal with whatever happens later," Brady said. "I'll have my opportunity to try to figure out what happened and figure out a theory like everyone else is trying to do. But this isn't the time for that, and honestly I'm not interested in trying to find out right now because we have the biggest game of our season ahead."