Meet Mr. Perfection: Blue eyes, dimple, Super Bowl trophies and Gisele |

Meet Mr. Perfection: Blue eyes, dimple, Super Bowl trophies and Gisele


New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) clowns with the football as the team stretches before practice begins at Sun Devil Stadium on the Arizona State University campus in Tempe, Ariz., Friday afternoon, Feb. 1, 2008. The Patriots will play the New York Giants in Super Bowl XLII in Glendale, Ariz., Sunday. (AP Photo/Stephan Savoia)

GLENDALE, Ariz. – The woman in the revealing pink camisole gave a final tug to her low-rider jeans, wiggled her way through the media pack and planted herself right in front of Tom Brady.One look into his twinkling blue eyes and she was lost. Flustered, she asked what it would take to beat the New York Jets in the Super Bowl.Brady broke into a big grin.”Jets, Giants. New York, they’re all the same,” he said, glossing over the gaffe.No one was more appreciative than that TV reporter from Mexico.”He’s like Mr. Perfect,” she said.Well, let’s see: Dimpled, dreamy looks that someday could land him in Hollywood or the halls of Congress, a former Victoria’s Secret strutter for a girlfriend and an NFL star so bright he might outshine the Super Bowl all by himself.

“I wouldn’t change places with too many people,” Brady said.Certainly not on Sunday. Only 30, he will try to lead his unbeaten New England Patriots past New York – the Giants, that is – in America’s biggest game. A win would mark his fourth title, matching the record set by Hall of Fame quarterbacks Joe Montana and Terry Bradshaw.Pretty neat for a guy whose freshman team went 0-8-1. He was good at baseball, too, and was drafted as a catcher by the Montreal Expos. Then again, his Bay Area high school had already produced someone who could swing a bat – Barry Bonds.”I’ve never been a great athlete,” the two-time Super Bowl MVP said. “I feel some of my strengths are my awareness and decision-making.”His humility is what attracts others. Take it from a guy who ought to know.Back in 1980, country musician Mac Davis wrote a tune that he was supposed to sing in “North Dallas Forty,” a football movie he starred in. The song got cut from the film – later, he wound up with a hit in the playful “Oh Lord It’s Hard to be Humble.”It goes:”Oh, Lord, it’s hard to be humble when you’re perfect in every way.

“I can’t wait to look in the mirror ’cause I get better looking each day.”To know me is to love me. I must be a hell of a man.”Oh, Lord, it’s hard to be humble, but I’m doing the best that I can.””I think that’s the theme song of every guy out there who wishes he were Tom Brady or thinks he is. But if I were him, I would find it hard to be humble,” Davis said in a telephone interview from his home in California.Eli Manning had to escape a huge shadow to find his time in limelightPHOENIX – Baby brothers across America know hardship.

They grow up playing “permanent center” while the bigger kids get to be quarterbacks and wide receivers. They lose every game of Monopoly and Risk, every wrestling match and household power struggle until their 15th birthday – if they’re lucky.And in the very special case of the Manning family of New Orleans, the baby brother had to wait his turn to make it to the Super Bowl.So give Giants quarterback Eli Manning this much: Playing second fiddle is nothing new. He didn’t need to be compared to Tom Brady to get an inferiority complex. He grew up the son of one great quarterback, the baby brother of an even better one.”I got pounded on a little bit,” Eli said, acknowledging the unavoidable consequences of being the youngest of Archie and Olivia’s three sons.Cooper Manning was the oldest and had bona fide talent as a receiver. But he was diagnosed with a spinal cord condition and was forced to the sideline very early in his career at Mississippi.Peyton Manning was the prodigy, the one who set out for Tennessee to establish himself in his own right instead of following his older brother and his father to Ole Miss.Then there was Eli – shy, rarely animated, a self-proclaimed “mama’s boy,” who did go to Ole Miss and later made an awkward entry into the NFL. If the mission was to top what his older brother had done or come off as more of a showman – well, he didn’t stand a chance.If Brady is the star of this Super Bowl and Peyton is the wunderkind of the Manning clan, Eli is the scruffy underdog – handsome and charming, yes, but no Tom Brady; talented and successful, sure, but no Peyton.

“I consider it a compliment,” Eli said, sitting unshaven at the podium on media day, of the inevitable comparisons to his brother. “If I’m getting compared to one of the best quarterbacks in the league, that’s a good position to be in.”Because there’s a five-year difference between the two, Peyton concedes to not really getting to know Eli as much more than just the easygoing little brother until after he had left for college.”I started seeing Eli in six-month spurts,” Peyton said. “It would be safe to describe him as a quiet kid growing up. And he’s a funny guy. It was nice to see him break out of his shell. I kind of saw it from afar.”Their football careers also developed in different spheres.Peyton was the star at Tennessee, a national program with a national reputation, and when he was drafted by Indianapolis with the first pick, the city rejoiced and figured the Super Bowl title that finally came last year was just a matter of time.Eli’s college career at Mississippi was a success, albeit not as ballyhooed as Peyton’s. His entry into the NFL wasn’t nearly as smooth.He, too, was first-pick material but didn’t want to play for the San Diego Chargers, who at the time were one of the worst franchises in the league, having missed the playoffs eight straight years and compiled a record of 43-85 over that span.