After finishing off the greatest Super Bowl comeback in history, Tom Brady shared a friendly handshake with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell. Goodell had suspended Brady for four games over his role in the so-called Deflategate scandal. All week pundits had wondered how Brady might show up his nemesis in the afterglow of a Super Bowl win. But when you’ve risen to the top of your game, it isn’t hard to take the high road.
Brady is the best quarterback of all time. Any contrarian chirping ends now. On Feb. 5, his New England Patriots erased a 25-point third-quarter deficit in Super Bowl LI to stun the Atlanta Falcons, 34-28. Brady became the first NFL starting quarterback to win five Super Bowls and four game MVPs. He also set Super Bowl records for most passes completed (43) and passing yards (466) in a single game. No team that trailed by more than 10 points had ever recovered to win a Super Bowl. Forget about 25. After his near flawless performance during this historic rally, Brady could leave the game having scaled the pinnacle of it.
He won’t. At 39, Brady says his body feels great. His obsession with sleep and a freak diet–avocado ice cream is a treat–are working. And team boss Bill Belichick remains locked in. With his shrewd signings of undervalued players, Belichick has hacked the NFL’s salary-cap model, which is intended to prevent teams like the Pats from winning five Super Bowls across 15 years. Brady and Belichick refuse to stop, and a dynasty marches on.
This appears in the February 20, 2017 issue of TIME.
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