Tom Brady's stardom in New England led to championships -- and 3,268 babies named Brady

Tom Brady looks back on his time with Bill Belichick, the Patriots, but is focused on defeating them. (1:13).
TAMPA (Fla.) -- Twenty years ago, one of the NFL's most famous Cinderella stories occurred when former sixth-round pick Tom Brady, now with Tampa Bay Buccaneers was named as the New England Patriots' Super Bowl XXXVI victor over the "Greatest Show on Turf", St. Louis Rams.

The birth of children in the New England region named for Brady was another thing that happened.

According to Social Security Administration records, Brady was not among the top 100 names for Massachusetts babies born between 1960 and 2001. Between 2002 and 2019, 3,268 boys were born in New England's six states. For most of those years, the name was ranked among the top 100.

Who are these Brady babies? How do they deal with Brady, whom they only knew as a Patriots player until last season, being on another team and visiting Foxborough, Massachusetts on Oct. 3.

Courtesy of The Paolino Familie

"Brady, your name is my favorite!"

After attending Super Bowl XXXVI in New Orleans in September 2002, Cheryl Paolino and Michael Paolino were among the first to name their son Brady. Brady, now 18, is a Keene State College second baseman and a skilled bass fisherman.

"It was an honorable name and we thought it was fitting that we would honor Tom Brady if we had children. He was a great quarterback and my son wore No. 12. ... He fell in love with Tom Brady."

He could also identify with him. Brady posters were plastered on his bedroom walls.

Brady Paolino stated, "I was very small growing up." "And just as Tom was just sort of like -- coaches kinda looked past him always at tryouts and all because he was smaller. Tom Brady was a fourth-string quarterback in New England, and he was just barely going to make it on the team. He worked hard and is now where he should be." He worked hard, and you can see where he is now.

After meeting with Patriots President Jonathan Kraft at a draft party in Philadelphia, Tom Brady sent a signed photo to the family. Instead of a picture with Kraft, it was a picture Brady Paolino, aged 10, captioned with "Brady! I LOVE your name!"

A week later, the phone rang.

He said that Tom Brady had called his house. "I probably had a five-minute conversation" with him. ... I asked him: "What was your favorite Super Bowl?" He replied, "The next one." ... I then asked him who his favorite receiver was to throw to. He replied, "The one that's open."

Michael still recollects the day in winter when Brady left the Patriots.

He said, "It was almost surreal. Tom Brady was going." It was something that people had never imagined would happen. It's something that they never imagined would happen for this generation of children. It's all gonna end someday. It was a time when I used to tell my son that it would all end one day. It did.

The Paolinos watched Super Bowl LV together, and they will be there Sunday as a whole family -- minus Brady because he has practice. He knows that Cheryl will cheer loudly and proudly for Tom Brady.

Brady stated, "My mother is in love with him." My mom is a huge Buccaneers fan. She doesn't care much about the Patriots. It's all about Tom Brady."

Who will Brady root for on Sunday?

He said, "The Buccaneers."

Michael stated, "I believe that this is gonna be one of the most important regular-season football games in NFL history." "Players have returned, like when they are unable to play anymore, like Babe Ruth on Boston Braves, or a ridiculously old player like Willie Mays, but there has never been a player who won six championships and is still a top player returning to a team after twenty years.

"He's going to get a kind of ovation like nothing else in sports. It's going to go on and continue."

Courtesy of The Sullivan Family

"I will be wearing a Patriots hat, and my Bucs Brady jersey."

After returning from Houston's second Super Bowl win, Sean Sullivan and Christine decided to name their son Brady Thomas. Brady Thomas was born on June 8, 2004.

He is a senior in highschool and wants to study physical therapy or sports medicine. However, he wrote an article for his local newspaper about the possibility of Brady leaving in September 2019.

Brady Sullivan stated, "It was definitely kinda shocking." "I felt very sad for the next few weeks, realizing that the greatest quarterback, the best player of the all time, would not be playing for your team any more. It was definitely a difficult time."

Now, fast forward to 2021. The Sullivans went on vacation to Tampa, Florida with their family to visit Raymond James Stadium. They also visited the Hillsborough River where Brady and his new Bucs teammates celebrated the Super Bowl win. Brady then had his famous Twitter moment: "Noting To See Her... Just a little avoCado tequila."

Sean stated that it felt almost like a Patriots Super Bowl win for the Sullivan family. "I was just as passionate about the Bucs as I was about the Pats during all those Super Bowl runs."

Sean received a Brady Tampa Bay jersey from his sons as an early birthday gift. It was just before the NFC divisional match against the New Orleans Saints. The jersey was worn by Sean throughout the playoffs.

Sean stated, "I'll be truthful, I'm going to have mixed emotions as far [Week 4]," "I will be wearing my Bucs Brady jersey and a Patriots cap to the game."

He added, "It's going to feel really strange seeing him in another uniform. He will be the No. 12 in a different team. ... It was something I thought I took for granted towards the end of his years. Like how much we could rely on him as a QB. ... It's certainly a strange feeling, not feeling the pride of being one of the best teams in the NFL.

Michael hopes Tom Brady taught his son the following lessons: "Being calm and facing adversity -- there's no way out in life." Keep fighting until the end. Michael stated, "You never give up."

Brady Sullivan stated, "Definitely the never give up’ aspect." "He has gotten so many game winning drives and fourth-quarter comebacks, it makes it clear that you shouldn't give up on anything and should fight until the end.

Courtesy of The Gaffney Family

"Now begins the greatest Super Bowl comeback"

Sean Gaffney's wife Colleen went into labor on Super Bowl Sunday, February 5, 2017. "The day she asked me not to," said Sean. He was prepping for a party and was about to put ribs in the oven when Colleen left to go to the hospital. She didn't think she would deliver, as it was only a few weeks before.

She was placed in the Falmouth Hospital, Massachusetts room with the biggest TV. All of the nurses wore Patriots gear.

Colleen stated, "If he were my first child, it would have proven very strange because I didn't get a lot attention." It was more on TV.

Their son was born at 8:49 p.m. while the Patriots were still down by 28-3 to Atlanta Falcons.

Sean said to her, "Now begins the greatest Super Bowl comeback ever." Brady must be named if we win this thing.

The Patriots not only won the game, but they also won overtime 34-28.

Adam exclaimed, "I'm screaming." "I was probably shaking the floor. ... I was flipping out when James White scored [the winning touchdown].

They chose James for the middle name, but they assured the hospital staff that it wasn't after running back James White but Colleen's dad.

Sean stated, "I had to tell them, 'We're not that psychotic.'" I should have been more attentive to my son's birth. I was torn between watching TV and spending time with my son. It was quite strange.

It was a lot of fun for them. Brady, a newborn, was photographed in a crochet football cap.

Brady and the Bucs still have our support.

Sean dressed Brady, now four, in his No. 12 Patriots jersey. "We couldn't watch Tom take a shot at it. It was incredible to see."

Little Brady pointed to the TV and said, "Hey that's me," Sean jokingly joked. "And I said, "No, that's Tom Brady. That's why you're called after.

He hopes that his son will one day be a confident leader like Tom Brady, someone who "gets the best out" of others.

Sean stated, "I would love to take Brady with me to the unveiling at Gillette Stadium of a statue in Tom’s likeness and be able explain how I was able watch the greatest player of all time play the sport." "We still love Tom and will continue to root for him, but I won't be supporting him on the third October."

Colleen said, "I don't see him returning here and having Robert Kraft, the Patriots owner, not greet him with open arms. And everybody will love him again because he's an likeable person." It's impossible to imagine anyone not wanting the best for him and booing him on the field. It's going to be an amazing game. It's going to be an amazing game. He will enjoy it more than anyone else to play there.

However, despite the fact that things may be a bit bizarre for Tom Brady and perhaps even little Brady fans, there is still plenty of excitement.

Sean stated, "I have guys that I work alongside that took Monday off because their plan is to enjoy the game as much possible."

Courtesy of The Cocio Familie

"I walked out of my house and was snowblowing the driveway,"

Brady Cocio, Norwell, Massachusetts was a boy when he introduced himself to others. He always held out his hand and said "Hi, my name's Brady." I'm named after Tom Brady."

He won't do it anymore. Brady was working in his school room on March 17, 2020 when Adam, his father, entered and said, "Brady isn't coming back."

Brady Cocio, an aspirant quarterback, said that he looked at him like he was crazy. "I was like, "That's not happening." "You're lying.

He then checked his phone.

The 14-year old said, "I was just stunned." "I was confused. He won six Super Bowls with us and that upset me. I wanted him to stay. However, I also know that big-name players desire to travel and experience new parts of their careers. "... I was mad that he won the Super Bowl. I just wanted it to be here and not there."

While Teresa was at work, Adam and Teresa were his parents. They exchanged text messages.

Teresa stated, "You need to be from Boston in order to understand -- it [was] just incredible." "Like Tom Brady leaving the Patriots. It was unimaginable that this would happen. He is a legend."

Adam stated that he was still upset by the whole situation, even after a year and half. "I don’t blame anyone. I hate the Patriots. Kraft is mad to me. I hate Bill Belichick, the Patriots' coach. I hate Tom Brady. I'm mad at Tom Brady. He left me and it broke my heart.

"Personally, Tampa Bay is not something I want to root for. I have nothing against Tampa Bay. There are many family members down there. However, I am a Patriots fan and I know there are many people up here rooting to Tampa Bay. But when they won the Super Bowl, it snowed up here. I got out of my house and started snowblowing the driveway. I couldn't see the Super Bowl anymore. I couldn't see the Super Bowl. It was very upsetting. He should still be wearing a Patriots jersey, in my heart.

He wasn't. Rob Gronkowski, a tight end, was not one of his primary targets.

Brady Cocio stated, "The moment Brady threw Gronk the first touchdown, he walked away."

Teresa said, "He was pouting." It doesn't bother my at all, but it does bother my husband. He pouts like a serious pout. It's not pretty.

Adam stated that Brady's return to Gillette Stadium will be bittersweet.

Teresa said it simply: "He's going cry." Adam couldn't agree more.

He said, "I probably will cry in my eye."

She chuckled and said, "And then get pissed off and go outside."

For the Cocio family it's all fun and games.

He said, "When he retires, and they bring his number back, all will be forgiven in mine mind."

What happens Sunday (8:20 PM)? ET, NBC) What happens Sunday (8:20 p.m.) if Brady or the Bucs defeat Patriots?

He said, "I'll mow your lawn."