Like Brady, whose nights on the town and supposed celebrity girlfriends provide fodder for Boston's gossip columnists, Milloy was not averse to the occasional pursuit of pleasure. While the quarterback and safety were not as inseparable as the conjoined characters portrayed by Matt Damon and Greg Kinnear in the new Farrelly brothers comedy Stuck on You, they often socialized. Last spring the two were sipping drinks at SkyBar in Miami's South Beach when Peter and Bobby Farrelly, the writer-directors who hail from Rhode Island and are Patriots season-ticket holders, walked in with Damon, Kinnear and other cast members. Having met tire players at previous team functions, the Farrellys asked Brady and Milloy if they wanted to be in the film.
The following day the two players were cast as computer geeks who, Brady says, try to use their cyber expertise "to give Cher some extra booty." Brady, who earned his Screen Actors Guild card with a speaking part in the film, then flew back to Boston without removing the synthetic, lamb-chop sideburns he had donned for the role. "Usually, when I land at Logan, it's a pretty big scene," Brady said at the dinner table last Friday night, as two of his older sisters, Julie and Nancy, rolled their eyes. "But this time no one noticed me. I had a wool cap, sunglasses and the lamb chops, and people were coming up to Lawyer and asking for autographs while I sat next to him, reading a magazine."
Brady quickly realized that he had to set aside his anger over Milloy's departure and focus on pulling the team back together. The day after the loss to the Bills, Rodney Harrison, a 10-year veteran signed last March following his release by the San Diego Chargers, reminded Brady that "Lawyer was over there celebrating on [Buffalo's] sideline. He's doesn't feel sorry for us, and neither will anyone else."
Brady, who was picked off four times in the opener, has completed nearly 60% of his passes for 3,050 yards, with 15 touchdowns and another eight interceptions. While those numbers aren't overwhelming, Belichick believes his quarterback should at least be in the conversation when it comes to league MVP candidates. "A quarterback's play is usually reflected in his team's record," Belichick said after Sunday's game, in which Brady (16 of 31,163 yards) coped with the elements by employing a throwing style he practiced during his college days at Michigan. With a harder grip, Brady sacrifices distance for a tighter spiral—not unlike a baseball player who chokes up on his bat.
Still, the only points the New England offense could generate on Sunday came on Adam Vinatieri's 29-yard field goal with 1:46 left in the first quarter, and New England's 3-0 lead appeared tenuous as the Dolphins opened up their attack in the second half. The defense, which held Miami to 134 total yards, won this game for the Patriots. Late in the third quarter, with Miami facing third-and-three from the New England 10, the blitzing Harrison hit Fiedler, forcing a fumble that Vrabel recovered. Then, with 8:59 left, linebacker Tedy Bruschi reached up to snatch Fiedler's pass to wideout Chris Chambers and shimmied five yards to the end zone, setting off the first of many snow-throwing celebrations. "Seeing that snow flying got me in the holiday spirit," said Bruschi, who has returned his last four interceptions for a touchdown. "It made me want to go home and sit in front of the fire by my Christmas tree."
Brady, naturally, had grander plans. Ninety minutes after Sunday's game he and childhood friend Kevin Brady—the two aren't related, though their behavior suggests otherwise—climbed into the Escalade and headed to New York City, where they would attend the following night's premiere of Stuck on You. "I've never been to a premiere," Tom Brady said as he cruised through Connecticut on I-95. "It should be a really cool scene."
Brady then spoke excitedly about his team's prospects. "I know we haven't really reached full stride yet," he said. "It was nice getting those [division champion] T-shirts after the game, but I think we're looking for other T-shirts, if you know what I mean."
Asked about his perfectly placed punt, Brady flashed his signature smile and said, "That's the same way I hit my seven-iron." He laughed, then admitted, "No, it was just luck."
Whatever—life is wonderful in New England, and we all know who has the starring role.