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BROWERVILLE, Minnesota — Aback Jim Nantz mentioned Tom Brady’s claimed affiliation to Browerville, Minn., in the after-effects of the Patriots AFC championship win, Scott Vedbraaten sat up beeline in his chair. Vedbraaten, administrator of Browerville Academy District thought, Oh God, what did we aloof get into?
Nine blocks away, Browerville ambassador Bob Heid let out a abashed Ope! (a complete frequently fabricated by aerial Midwesterners to accurate surprise) aback he heard his boondocks (population: 750) mentioned on the civic CBS broadcast.
A brace afar from Ambassador Heid’s burghal home, Paul Johnson paced in advanced of his television in his No. 12 Patriots jersey. His acclaim echoed off the tin walls of the ample afford he’s fabricated into a man cave. That was his accessory up there on the victor’s platform, talking about the acceptation of advancing aback to Minnesota for the Super Bowl. Brady’s mom, Galynn, grew up on a dairy acreage in Browerville. Though Tom and his three earlier sisters were aloft in the San Francisco Bay Area, they visited their relatives, the Johnsons, on the acreage in Browerville every summer as kids.
Most locals accede that Browerville has never apparent this abundant media attention. Bounded stations and civic outlets inundated the no-stoplight boondocks in the canicule afterward Nantz’ reveal, authoritative for a active anniversary for Vedbraaten, Heid and the absolute Johnson family. ESPN the Magazine, The New York Times, The L.A. Times, and NBC are amid those who’ve fabricated the 130-some-mile drive northwest of the Twin Cities. “We’ve been watching Tommy for 18 years,” Paul Johnson says. “We were beneath the radar. Already he brought up Browerville, [we heard from media] the abutting day.”
The temps are in the distinct digits on this Tuesday morning, and a Fargo TV base is in boondocks to do a adventure on all the media advantage of Brady and Browerville. The town’s capital eatery, artlessly alleged The Cafe, is about empty. The aboriginal morning blitz is over, and a abandoned chump sits at the adverse signing her bill. Todd County’s paper, the Independent Account Herald sits on the adverse face up. The awning story? Browerville gets shout-out from Tom Brady.
Across the artery at Browerville Liquor, the town’s alone bar, buyer Angie Benning serves a sole patron, who’s clad in a ample flannel anorak and boots. Browerville Liquor is your archetypal Northwoods-style establishment, busy with Ducks Unlimited paraphernalia, neon bar signs and a card affected a angle fry.
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Just alfresco of town, Paul shows yet addition media associate about his acrimonious animate afford area he scales fish, displays hunting trophies and watches every one of his cousin’s games. It’s a altar to all things hunting, fishing and New England Patriots. There are nine deer, one elk, one caribou (all attempt on the property), countless angle and two Patriots Super Bowl banners army to the walls. A bend of the afford is adherent to “Tommy,” with a behemothic fathead affinity on the bank and Patriots Super Bowl memorabilia on display, forth with pictures of the Johnson family’s visits to Gillette Stadium. Paul, 50, is accepted as “Pickle” about town, a name he becoming from affairs pickles door-to-door as a teenager. About anybody in Browerville has a one-word nickname.
The Johnson ancestors acreage is a abbreviate drive from downtown. Hang a larboard afterwards you canyon the Clarissa airport and the fields acceptance to Todd County Turkey Inc. Galynn’s brother Allen Johnson lives in the baby white farmhouse that already belonged to his parents. He doesn’t acreage the acreage anymore, but rents out the pastures. Allen confused in to booty affliction of Brady’s grandfather, Gordon Johnson, afore Gordon died in 2016. Brady aftermost visited Browerville in August 2016 to accord a account at the funeral.
Allen Johnson on the ancestors farm.
Allen, 64, wears a Patriots hat and sweatshirt. A chump with New England’s logo lies alfresco the advanced door. His atramentous lab, Coco, bound against cars that cull in the snow-covered alluvium drive, acquisitive to appearance visitors the behemothic stick she’s aloof best up. Aback Tom and the ancestors visited, they would break for two weeks at a time in the farmhouse with Grandma and Grandpa Johnson. Gordon was a dairy agriculturalist and part-time barber, and Bernice was a part-time hairdresser. There’s a ample silo, a white barn and a few decayed Cenex atom bins in the acreage adverse the house.
“It was a lot of assignment growing up here,” Allen says. “From baling hay to agriculture and bribery the cows.”
Brady and his sisters generally abutting their cousins and grandpa to milk the beasts in the morning aback they visited. Paul jokes that aback Tommy would absence binding the milk into the bucket, Gordon would say, Hey, that’s money you’re squirting around.
Though Tommy ability not accept been the best milker, he and his sisters never shied abroad from acreage life. “Those kids weren’t abashed of nothing,” Paul says. “We consistently teased them about actuality burghal kids aback we grew up on a farm, but they weren’t abashed of nothing.”
Allen, nicknamed “Swede,” remembers how difficult it was to get Brady off the water. “We couldn’t get him off the basin one summer, fishing,” Allen says. “We had bent a agglomeration of sunfish and it started to pour, aloof pour,
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