Patriots Quarterback Tom Brady addresses the San Francisco media during his conference call on Wednesday, November 16, 2016.
Q: Is it kind of shocking to you, considering how long you've been in the league, that this will be your first time playing the 49ers in the Bay Area?
TB: I know. Last time we had the chance in 2008, I had everything arranged and set up before the season for my family and friends, and then I got hurt. So it is [shocking], it is. It will be a lot of fun. I've got a lot of people coming to the game and it will just be a great environment.
Q: How many tickets have you had to arrange for this game?
TB: A lot. More than ever, so I'm happy to do it. I may never get the opportunity again, so it's nice to have all the support, and I've had a lot from the Bay Area over the years. My high school, my elementary school, and I still have so many friends from growing up and coaches, my family, my aunts and uncles, cousins. It will just be a lot of fun to be out there.
Q: Are there any 49er fans remaining in your family?
TB: I don't know. We don't talk about the 49ers anymore. That was all we used to ever talk about.
Q: That ended in about 2000?
TB: Yeah, yeah we were part of the 49er faithful for a long time.
Q: You said this might be the last chance you'll get to play in the Bay Area - have you thought about how many more years you want to play?
TB: I think you always hope for the best. I'm trying to take good care of my body, so hopefully a long time; hopefully a long time. I would love to have another opportunity to play at that stadium.
Q: One of your great mentors and friends, Tom Martinez is no longer with us, but what do you still carry from him?
TB: Everything. I mean, Tom [Martinez] is a huge reason that I fell in love with the game; that I learned so much about how to play quarterback and mechanics and techniques. He was so committed to me and I'm forever grateful to him and his family. He was a special man; he was a very special man. He touched a lot of people's lives, certainly a lot in the Bay Area. He coached men's football, women's basketball and women's softball. He was a great coach and just a very - he made a huge influence in my life, and he was just a very special person that will always - he and his family, they're family to me.
Q: Can you still hear him in your head when you think about mechanics or you're trying to figure out something on the football field?
TB: Absolutely. I have notes from when we would - we always worked together a lot. I still have notes in my head, and his voice. He was just a great teacher, a great instructor, and he always got the best out of everybody that I think was a great credit to him as a coach.
Q: Will this game Sunday have special significance to you considering where it is?
TB: Well, I've never had a chance to play in front of my family like this. I've never had a chance to play in front of my friends. Growing up in the Bay Area and loving football, it was a great time for me to grow up and see the success of the 49ers and the great quarterbacks, Steve [Young] and Joe [Montana] and what they were able to do. I was lucky to grow up in the Bay Area at that time and I always remember it being all the Super Bowl rallies and my mom taking me out of school and banging pots and pans on the El Camino after they would win Super Bowls. Those memories never go away.
Q: How often do you come back and where do you usually like to go when you're here?
TB: A couple times a year. I just like being home with my parents, and my sister lives in the Bay Area, so I'll be at her house. But I just really like going and being with my family.
Q: Are you aware that the 49ers are honoring Eddie DeBartolo this weekend and a bunch of the 49ers alumni will be here? Do you know if you'll have a chance to see Joe Montana and Steve Young and some of those guys?
TB: I didn't know that. If I'm ever - if I ever have a chance to say hi to those guys, I always take the opportunity because those were my idols. I loved all those 49ers - Roger Craig and Tom Rathman; Jerry Rice and [John] Taylor. There were just so many year after year, and the defensive players they had, I was just the biggest fan.
Q: Of those guys, who do you know the best?
TB: I don't know that I know any of them particularly well just from seeing them from time to time. I probably see Steve Young the most often and I mean, I love Steve, everything he's about the kind of person he is, the kind of player he was, and obviously, Joe [Montana]. To watch him play growing up as a kid, I was just a lucky kid growing up in the Bay Area at a great time. They were spectacular players.
Q: Can you take us through being a kid in the stands for "The Catch"?
TB: Yeah, I was, I think four years old and my parents brought me. I cried - I wanted one of those foam fingers and I cried the entire first half. Finally, my dad bought me one to shut me up for the second half. I think I have a picture of it. It was just a great - I remember we were on the opposite side of the stadium, and I started crying when everyone jumped up and screamed at the end when Dwight [Clark] made the catch. I still have those memories.
Q: What kind of growth can you see from this current 49ers defense despite having lost eight games in a row?
TB: I think they have some very talented players, but I think they're hungry and they're trying to find ways to win. It's tough losing in the NFL, but these guys are all supremely talented. They're in the NFL for a reason. They've very competitive in the secondary. They've had some injuries at linebacker, but those guys play hard. They really can power guys in the rush. They've got some good scheme stuff, so we don't take anything lightly. We've got to put in all the preparation this week coming off a tough loss at home, so it's a big challenge. I've played in a lot of games where one team is favored, and at the end of the day, none of that ever matters. It's how well you play on that day. We've got to go out and expect to play our best game if we want to win.
Q: What led you to go ahead and shoot the new Foot Locker commercial?
TB: I don't know exactly what was going through my mind when I made the decision.
Q: You do a very nice acting job. Were you pleased with how it came out?
TB: I've had a lot of different opportunities over the years and some I've chosen to do, and some I haven't. I've been in a very fortunate position to be able to choose the things that I do. I had a lot of free time on my hands at the beginning of the year, so I had to find ways to fill it.
Q: After all these years, do you still carry a chip on your shoulder being passed over by your hometown team?
TB: I think you have different ways, and I have different things that have motivated me at different times. I'll never forget I worked out for the 49ers when I was coming out in 2000. I wasn't - they obviously went in a different direction and that's - I'm very happy where I ended up. I think I was fortunate to be in the right place at the right time with the Patriots. I've played with so many great players over the years and I've played for, I feel, the best head coach ever, some great assistant coaches and teammates that have committed everything to help us win. I've just been blessed to play quarterback for this team. I love doing it, and hopefully I can do it for a long time. It's been a lot of fun. Hopefully we can keep it going.
Q: Growing up a 49ers fan, what goes through your head when people put your name in discussions with Joe Montana as one of the best quarterbacks to ever play?
TB: Well, I don't ever see myself like him. He was so spectacular and I think he's in a league of his own. I 'm going to try to keep finding ways to help my team and to be the best I can be every week. I feel like I've learned a lot over the last few years with my style of play. Like I said, I love being here and competing and hopefully winning, and that's what Joe [Montana] did. He was a winner. Every time he took the field, it felt like the 49ers were going to win. I remember rooting for that team when Joe was playing quarterback and you always felt like they were going to win no matter who they were playing, where they were playing at, and it was the same when Steve [Young] took over. Like I said, it was great to be a 49er fan at that time.
Q: What happened to the foam finger from "The Catch" game?
TB: I don't know what happened to it. Like everything when you're a kid, it goes somewhere, but somebody sent me one and it's sitting in my office now that I put in my office next to a lot of the other really cool things that people send me. I've had so many things over the years that are great memories for me, but yeah, I have a 49ers foam finger sitting in my office now.
*Q: Is it the same one, same design as your original? *
TB: Yeah, it is, and it looks like it's about 30 years old, too.