At this point, I have more respect for a guy yelling about how “The world is flat!!!” than if someone tried to argue Tom Brady isn’t the greatest football player of all-time.
The stats don’t lie…
- Super Bowl Rings: #1
- Pro-Bowl Selections: #1
- Quarterback Wins: #1
- All-Time Passing Touchdowns: #1
- All-Time Combined Passing Yards: #1
But with that said, Tom Brady wasn’t and isn’t the greatest physical specimen of all-time…
Tom Brady isn’t the fastest runner nor does he have the strongest arm. One look at him and you might think he was an abnormally tall accountant.
But being the greatest football player isn’t about being the fastest or strongest, but based on Tom Brady’s example, it seems to be that 1) you need to be a QB because it’s the most important position on the field and 2) you need to have a sufficient amount of physical prowess with unmatched mental prowess.
Tom Brady’s smart with an exceptional field awareness, and like all the greats in any field of life, he is EXTREMELY driven.
It’s his CONSISTENT drive, in my opinion, that’s the great differentiator between Brady and the bunch.
I believe much of his drive stems from his underdog mentality, which has been ingrained into his brain by the very fact that he was an underdog all throughout his pup years. Brady began his football career as a backup quarterback on a high school junior varsity team that was so bad they went 0–8 and didn’t even score a touchdown the entire season. It’s hard to imagine a more humble beginning for any eventual sports legend! He only got to start on the team after the starter got injured.
When he got to college he was a backup quarterback again, but this time he was a 7th string quarterback! I didn’t even know a team could have that many backups! He was probably one string away from waterboy.
But through his drive, he was able to drive his way to the starter position and then all the way down the field to an unlikely Orange Bowl victory!
He was then drafted by the New England Patriots late into the 6th round where he was placed on their roster as a 6th string quarterback.
Do you think Tom Brady wallowed in self-pity?
According to Sports Illustrated, 78% of NFL players end up bankrupt or under financial stress within two years of retirement. A rationalist might have looked at Tom Brady’s position on the team and assumed he would eventually fall into that group instead of becoming the wealthiest player in the league with an estimated net worth of $180 million dollars.
Tom Brady didn’t wallow, instead, he went to work…
[Brady] introduced himself and said, “Hi, Mr. Kraft,” and he was about to say who he was and I said, “I know who you are. You’re our 6th round draft choice.” And I always remember… he looked at me like a laser — eye-to-eye — and said, “That’s right. And I’m the best decision this organization ever made.”
Despite starting at the bottom — time-and-time again — something deep down in Tom Brady gave him the faith and confidence to believe that if he worked his hardest with those things within his control then eventually he’d get his shot in the sun.
After Hall of Fame Starting QB Drew Bledsoe got injured, Tom Brady was asked to take to the field. He put on his helmet and did what history would record he does best… overcome the odds. The Patriots had started the 2001 season 0–2, but with Tom Brady at the helm, they’d go on to their first Super Bowl victory in the team’s history. Thus began the Patriots dynasty.
Every quarterback can throw a ball; every running back can run; every receiver is fast; but that mental toughness that you talk about translates into competitiveness. — Tom Brady
But even with his unprecedented success, Tom Brady never allows himself to feel too comfortable because he wants to re-earn his job with each and every practice…
When I watch myself play sometimes I think man you’re still not very good. You’re still not very fast. You know you got a decent arm. You know you made some pretty bad reads on that day. That’s what gets me up and motivates me. I always want to feel like I am the best quarterback for this team. I want to earn it every single day. — Tom Brady
Even after winning 6 Super Bowls, he still considers himself an underdog because it’s that mentality that got him to where he is. He hates being called the G.O.A.T. because he’s driven more by criticism than success…
I wish you would say, “You’re trash, you’re too old, you’re too slow, you can’t get it done no more,” and I’d say, “Thank you very much I’m going to go prove you wrong.” — Tom Brady
Here’s what seems to me to be the mentality of Tom Brady: see yourself as an underdog, never take your position for granted, believe work is what sets you apart, and minimize your priorities.
Tom Brady prioritizes two things in life: football and family. Beyond that, it’s small stuff…
I just don’t give a [expletive] about anything anymore, you know? A lot of keeping things in perspective, like nothing’s that big of a deal to me anymore. Maybe I’m just caring about things that really matter, like family, like people’s health, like life and death. — Tom Brady
And so it’s Tom Brady’s laser-like focus that’s endowed him with the ability to shoot lasers and it’s his prove-em-wrong mentality that ultimately transformed an underdog into the G.O.A.T.