Tom Brady's cellphone lit up early this morning with a series of text message notifications. By the time he removed his silk Prada sleep mask and checked his phone, he had 11 texts from Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning.
"They were all just pictures of him throwing short passes to Wes [Welker]," said Brady. "Little five, six, seven-yard crossing patterns. It was tough to see. What a terrible way to start the day."
Brady's wife, model Gisele Bundchen, said Manning twisting the knife about acquiring the services of his rival's best receiver was even crueler because "Tommy had only been asleep for about an hour. He had been up crying all night about not being able to play with Wesley anymore. I tried to tell him that Wesley is terrible and can't catch, but you know how boys are with their friends."
Each photo Manning sent got more provocative. The first photo was just the quarterback and his new possession receiver shaking hands. The last one was of a 10-yard completion on a crossing pattern in the end zone, both players smiling and shirtless, with the caption: "2013-14 SUPER BOWL CHAMPS!"
"That really hurt Tommy, because he and Wesley always liked to pretend that they won Super Bowls," said Bundchen. "They never did together, of course, but what imaginations!"
The texts sent by Manning are similar to 2006 when he sent Brady a 4-foot by 6-foot portrait of himself holding for Adam Vinatieri, with one hand on the ball and other hand making a thumbs-up sign.
"I have that hanging in our west wing portrait gallery," said Brady. "Betrayal aside, it is actually a beautiful painting. Even on cruel prank portraiture, Peyton Manning demands the best and spares no expense. I have to respect that."