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Brady avoids verbal contest with Ryan and Jets

By Howard Ulman
AP Sports Writer / January 10, 2011

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FOXBOROUGH, Mass.—Tom Brady skipped watching part of the New York Jets playoff game and still couldn't leave football completely behind.

The New England Patriots quarterback spent Saturday night in a Broadway audience at the play "Lombardi." He noticed many similarities between legendary Green Bay Packers coach Vince Lombardi and his own coach, Bill Belichick.

"They demand the best from their players," Brady said Monday during his weekly appearance on WEEI radio. "They don't give a damn who you are or what you've done. They care about what you're going to do this week."

This week the Patriots are preparing for Sunday's divisional playoff game against the Jets, who advanced with a 17-16 win over the Indianapolis Colts and Peyton Manning.

Jets coach Rex Ryan couldn't resist aiming another zinger at Brady.

"Peyton Manning would have been watching our game," Ryan said Monday with a huge grin.

Just last Thursday, he said no one studies like Manning.

"I know Brady thinks he does," Ryan said then. "I think there's a little more help from Belichick with Brady than there is with Peyton Manning."

Brady shied away from any verbal spat.

"Everybody's obviously entitled to their opinion," he said, "and maybe he's right."

Then, he added, "I get a ton of help from our coach."

With tickets he got before he knew who would be in the Saturday night game, Brady watched an actor play another outstanding coach. Of course, he checked his Blackberry from time to time for updates on the Jets-Colts game. And the game wasn't over when he got home.

Even if he hadn't gone to the theater with his wife, supermodel Gisele Bundchen, "I still probably wouldn't have been watching it," Brady said, but "I got suckered into watching the second half by my two best friends. ... They like watching football with me because they can learn a little bit."

He admitted to getting "very anxious watching those games" and was "kind of (upset) that I watched it because I didn't go to sleep 'til 3 in the morning. You just get riled up as I watch them, and then I start rooting for a team to win, and that's not really what I want to be doing."

Brady knew he'd have plenty of time to study the game. He's already seen it on tape. So he chose to spend a night on Broadway.

"It's just something I wanted to do with my wife," he said.

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