Bloomington, Minnesota (CNN)On Sunday, Tom Brady will play in his eighth Super Bowl. And this one is very special to the 40-year-old Patriots quarterback.
That’s because Brady, even though he grew up in California, says he’s “half Minnesotan.”
“I love coming back here,” Brady said in Minnesota this week. “I’ve got a lot of family here. It’s a great state. It’s pretty unbelievable to actually be playing here. I didn’t think about it at all until a couple weeks ago. I said, ‘Mom, you know where the Super Bowl is?’ She’s like, ‘Of course I do.'”
Brady’s mother, Galynn Brady, grew up in Browerville, a small town 135 miles away from US Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, home of Super Bowl LII. It’s a place Brady visited every summer, and sometimes in the winter, since he was a baby. It’s also where Brady’s parents got married in 1969.
“To be here and to be in Browerville, that really is my roots, and it’s very much a part of who I am,” Brady said.
Understandably, Brady has fielded several questions about his family ties. Standing out were the visits to his grandfather, who passed away last year.
“Some of the great memories I had as kid were coming here and milking cows with my grandpa,” Brady recalled of life on the farm. “Hanging out in the silos up in the haystack up above his barn, going out to where he would pasteurize the milk and pull a lot of the cream off the top of the milk in the morning, and shooting his .22 at targets in his backyard.”
There was also catching sunfish with his two uncles, who still live there, a process Brady gladly explained to reporters this week.
“The great part about catching sunfish was you just sit in the boat and you have a rod and you basically put a worm and a bobber,” Brady said. “And when the bobber goes under, you set the hook and then you’ve got the fish. So the kids would catch all the fish, and then we’d get home and we’d scale the fish. Then my uncles would fillet the fish, and my mom and my grandma would fry them in the frying pan.”
As he moved into adulthood, Brady had the opportunity to play in front of family members in his collegiate days, when he was at the University of Michigan, and in his professional career.
“Any time we’ve played in Minnesota it’s always been very cool,” Brady said. “I’ve always had a lot of family come to these games, 50 to 100 people. We played against the University of Minnesota, we played against the Vikings a few times here, and it’s been very special. I know there’s a lot of fans in Browerville rooting for the Patriots, which is pretty unique.”
This trip to Minnesota, however, is all business. Brady said he wouldn’t have a chance to get to Browerville this week as he prepares for the Super Bowl. As for tickets, they’re pretty tough to come by, Brady said, “but I’m trying the best I can to accommodate everybody.”
Someone who definitely will be there is his mom. Last year, Galynn was battling breast cancer when she was at Super Bowl LI in Houston. This year, Brady said, she’s doing well.
“To have my mom here last year — I had my whole family here — was very, very special,” Brady said. “Even all my kids here for the first time at the game, and we get a chance to do it a second time. I hope it’s a happy ending.”