"But you're not talking about a tragic event," he adds, his voice deepening. This is new conversational terrain for Brady, at least publicly; he's maintained a strict silence about his personal life since it all went cuckoo. ("It doesn't affect anybody but me," he told Details in 2007. "So why is it a big deal?") "You're talking about a life," he says. "It's what happens. And that's forced me to grow up in a lot of ways, and in a lot of ways I've learned about the people around me, learned about my wife and about how important she is in my life, through this. You see what she's really about. Because that's not what she wanted either. But once again, it's...I just don't think...life is not what everyone..." Here Brady stumbles momentarily, searching for the words. "Life is not living in the suburbs with a white picket fence. That's not life. Somehow our American culture has made it out that that's what life needs to be—and that if it's not that, it's all screwed up. It's not. You go through life and you try the best you can."

And Brady does seem to be giving it his all. "I think the biggest misconception about Tom is that he throws money at his son and doesn't care," Guerrero says. "People perceive him to be this globe-trotting, jet-setting celebrity who doesn't care about his son. That could not be further from the truth." A closer look at the paparazzi pics—Brady playing in an L.A. park with Jack, riding him around Boston on the back of his bicycle, hanging out with him on-field after a training session—appears to bear this out. "You march to your own beat for so long," Brady says. "It's like, an hour commitment used to be a big commitment, and now you chase a little boy around for eight hours a day, waiting to catch him if he falls and changing his dirty diaper. You think, How crazy is this?" Crazy enough that Brady says he wants more of it. Scads more. "I want a lot of kids," he says, then repeats it for effect. "I'd love four or five. We'll see. It's not always my decision." This echoes something Gisele said, back in 2005: "My life's dream is to have a baby, but it's not only up to me." That's a lot of joint procreative yearning. Little wonder, then, that Gisele became pregnant—reportedly, anyway—before the wedding-present thank-you notes were mailed.

Though Brady doesn't come out and say it, fatherhood seems to have colored his decision to marry. "We'd dated and had been through a lot together," he says. "That's been a nice settling part of my life as well." For a vast swath of the male population, the word settling might provoke cognitive dissonance when applied to Gisele, the glamour girl who pressure-cooked an entire generation's hormones with her Victoria's Secret spreads. "You don't know what you don't know" is Brady's response to those who, peering green-eyed at his life, would say he's hit too many jackpots, has it all too good. "We're all here, man, we're all sharing the same air. Everyone wants to look at the guy"—meaning him—"and say, 'Well, if I had that, I'd really be happy.' But happiness is really about how you feel yourself and if you're satisfied with yourself. I wish everybody happiness, man. And fulfillment in life. You don't need to play football to have that. At least I don't think that's what was going through the creator's mind when we were created. "People in Ohio or Texas probably think that," he adds. "But ..."