By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) -- One notable moment during Super Bowl LV came when Tom Brady threw a touchdown pass to Antonio Brown, giving the Buccaneers a 21-6 lead over the Chiefs just before halftime.
Brown sprung himself free after beating Chiefs safety Tyrann Mathieu on the play.
After the play, the broadcast showed Tom Brady and Mathieu in each other's faces. It appeared as though Brady sought out Mathieu to deliver a certain message. Mathieu ended up getting penalized 15 yards for unsportsmanlike conduct.
According to Mathieu, after the blowout loss for his Chiefs, Brady said something that couldn't be repeated on Twitter.
"He called me something I won't repeat," Mathieu tweeted. "But yeah I'll let all the media throw me under [the] bus as if I did something or said something to him."
Given the way tweets are interpreted, a number of people on social media assumed Brady had said the absolute worst thing imaginable, with many of the people replying to Mathieu's tweet jumping to the conclusion that a slur had been uttered. Considering Brady's been in the league since 2000 and has had zero opponents or teammates make any accusations on that level, it's fair to surmise that Tom Brady didn't choose February 2021 as the moment he'd throw his reputation into the toilet ... in a game with a million microphones and cameras all flicked to the on position, and 100 million people watching.
And whether the tweet was being misinterpreted, or whether Mathieu just had basic regret for his tweet, he deleted the tweet shortly after it was posted.
Not long after posting the initial tweet, Mathieu posted a tweet thanking God.
Of course, with this game being the Super Bowl, mic'd up footage of the interaction is sure to be seen by the folks at NFL Films. If that footage is deemed worthy of adding to the story, then the general public will get to see exactly what was said. (Likely with some selective bleeps.)
After the game, Mathieu didn't make much of the incident when asked about it at his postgame "podium."
"Oh, well, it's football. So guys are going to go back and forth," Mathieu said.
Mathieu was asked another question about the Brady exchange later in his postgame media session.
"Listen, Tom Brady's a great quarterback. I never really saw that side of Tom Brady, to be honest," said Mathieu, who's apparently never done his research on Anthony Smith, or Von Miller, or Pernell McPhee, or Alphonso Smith ... or even his own teammate, Chris Jones.
Brady has a long history of getting fiery on the field, and it's typically come after an opponent makes the mistake of giving him added motivation by trash talking. In this instance, Mathieu did not admit to saying anything to Brady.
"But, whatever, no comment. It's over with," Mathieu said. "I'm done with it."
(Here's one man's guess as to what happened: Mathieu either said something to Brady or gestured to Brady after the Chiefs' defense made a play at some point in the first half. Much like Brady did 10 years ago on Thanksgiving to that poor Lions cornerback who finger-wagged him, he remembered. And he let Mathieu know that he remembered. He might have even used a curse word, yes, which happens from time to time on a football field. That is, though, just a guess.)
Brady -- the game's MVP in what was his seventh Super Bowl victory -- wasn't asked about the mini-altercation. But Mike Evans did face a question about the QB's little kerfuffle, and he said the entire Bucs roster loves to see that kind of fire out of the quarterback.
"I don't know what it does for [Brady], but for the guys around us, we love that [stuff]. We love when he gets fiery and competitive," Evans said. "When he does it, he has a lot of guys to back him up and help him out. So we love the competitiveness that he brings, and we try to match that."
UPDATE: ESPN reported that Brady apologized to Mathieu via text, and "also expressed his desire to apologize in person in the future. He said his outbursts in an emotional moment were in no way a reflection on his feelings toward Mathieu, whom he spoke of highly throughout the week leading up to the game."
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