Tom Brady will continue to rewrite the American Football record books when he leads the Tampa Bay Buccaneers into Sunday's Super Bowl LV against the Kansas City Chiefs.
Living legend Brady will be appearing in his 10th Super Bowl, five more than the next best, former Denver Bronco John Elway.
At 43, he is the oldest quarterback in the showpiece match, and another title at Tampa's home stadium in front of the 25,000 fans allowed in amid the coronavirus pandemic would be a record-extending seventh for him.
"If you're a young athlete, and you're playing any sport, and you don't look up to guys like Tom Brady, you're crazy," Patrick Mahomes said.
"The guy that's had success year in and year out, continues to make himself better and not be satisfied with where he's at."
Mahomes is the 25-year-old Chiefs quarterback who won his first title last year and has now led them back into the Super Bowl for the intriguing duel with Brady in his third year as a starter.
"It's amazing to go up against (him), cause you know you're going up against the best," Mahomes said in anticipation.
Brady returned the compliment, saying: "He's got all the physical and he's got all the mental tools. He's gonna be in this game quite a few more times in my opinion."
The US media has tried to put Brady's career into perspective, with ESPN saying he has appeared in 18 per cent of all Super Bowls. And ignoring his first year in the NFL when he was a back-up, and the 2008 season he missed with injury he has appeared in more than half of all Super Bowls during his career.
"I wouldn't say 20 years ago, I thought, 'Man, I'll be sitting here at 43 playing pro football.' That would be not the truth if I told you that," Brady said on Monday.
"I started thinking I'd love to play pro football and get the opportunity to do it. I'm going to do it as best I possibly can. Fortunately I've had the right people come into my life at the right time, which has enabled me to keep doing what I love to do."
The entry was slow as it was not until the sixth round of the 2000 draft that he was picked as number 199 overall and as seventh quarterback, by the New England Patriots with their new head coach Bill Belichick.
The rest is history. In Brady's second season starting QB Drew Bledsoe injured himself, Brady got his chance and won the Super Bowl with the then outsiders Patriots 20-17 against the St Louis Rams, with Bledsoe long healthy again.
Five more Super Bowl triumphs followed with the Patriots whose fans loved the Brady/Belichick partnership.
The partnership ended a year ago when Brady left the Patriots after two decades and signed with the Buccaneers for two years and $US50 million.
His worth was shown clearly on each side.
Brady led the Buccaneers into the play-offs for the first time since 2002 when they won their lone Super Bowl title.
The Patriots by contrast missed the play-offs for the first time since 2008, the season Brady missed with injury.