It was one of the most exciting sports stories of the year and Marelich Mechanical detailer Brian Timmons had an up-close view of it all. Tom Brady, a second-year backup quarterback at the dawn of the season, led his New England Patriots football team on a storybook ride to the Super Bowl Championship. Along the way, the San Mateo native starred, earning a spot in the Pro Bowl and the Super Bowl MVP trophy. He caught the imagination of fans everywhere, becoming a media darling with his solid play and humble attitude. Timmons, who has worked in the detailing department for the last five years after starting in the shop in 1996, had a behind-the-scenes look at it all as the season climaxed at the Super Bowl, and then celebrated the incredible year the next week in Hawaii at the Pro Bowl. Timmons and girlfriend Maureen Brady—Tom’s older sister—and the couple’s baby daughter Maya were part of a large Brady clan that traveled to be a part of both events in early February. At the Super Bowl, Timmons got a glance for the first time of the phenomenon that has seen Brady, the humble, unassuming Serra High School grad, treated as if he were the fifth Beatle. On the television, Brady’s face is everywhere from ESPN’s Sportscenter to Entertainment Tonight. Sports Illustrated ran an article featuring him. Everyday tasks like going out to dinner or the to the dry cleaner have become difficult, as mobs of admirers seem to appear out of thin air. Timmons said he could see why Brady is so well liked by fans everywhere. “He went from a fourth-stringer that no one had ever heard of to the guy that turned the Patriots around,” he said. “But as a football fan, the thing you like is his attitude. He never takes the glory, he’s not cocky and he inspires the whole team.” Even before the Super Bowl week, Timmons had seen media members come around the Brady family to do stories on the young quarterback’s background and roots. Being one who doesn’t enjoy publicity too much, Timmons had always managed to slip away. “Every time cameras come around, I go running,” Timmons said. A People magazine photographer finally caught Timmons, along with the entire Brady family, during Super Bowl week in New Orleans. The picture ran in the magazine the week after the game. “It was funny,” Timmons said. “Even after they took it, it didn’t click that this was People magazine. When I got back from Hawaii there were a bunch of messages from my friends calling me a traitor because I’ve always been a Raiders fan.” Timmons also got a little taste of the life of a football star while at the team hotel at the Pro Bowl in Hawaii. “I got asked about 200 times for my autograph because people thought I was some kind of player,” Timmons said. “These three kids were following me around all over the place begging me for my autograph. “Finally, when some guy came up and asked if he could take a picture with me, I just said OK.” While Brady’s star has risen to such heights that he recently earned a nod as one of People’s “50 Most Beautiful People”—a sure sign that he has transcended just the football world—he has maintained the same level head. “His personality is not like a typical pro athlete,” Timmons said. “He doesn’t seek the limelight or tr y to put himself on a pedestal above any one else. He wants to be the same guy that he was when he was just the fourthstring quarterback, a guy who now just happens to be the leader of his team.” Last month, Tom Brady returned to the Bay Area to serve as the Godfather at the Catholic Baptism of Brian and Maureen’s daughter Maya. Timmons said that Tom and the entire Brady family have always been very warm and welcoming to him. “From day one—the moment I met them—it was like I was part of their family,” he said.