The Mind of a Champion
All the pundits seem to have finally fallen inline by acknowledging Tom Brady is the greatest football player of all time…
“Are you seriously asking if Tom Brady is the greatest player in N.F.L. history? Yes, yes he is.” — Max Kellerman
“Tom Brady is the greatest football player in the 97 year history of the N.F.L.” — Shannon Sharpe
“I never thought I would reach a point in my lifetime where I’d talk about Tom Brady at an elevated level above Joe Montana, but I’m there.” — Stephen A. Smith
But these are the same people who also acknowledge Tom Brady isn’t the greatest athlete…
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 player isn’t about having the greatest physical prowess. It’s about having a sufficient amount of physical prowess with unmatched mental prowess.
Tom Brady’s ultimately the greatest football player because of what goes on between his ears. He’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 than that! He only started after the starter got injured.
When he got to college he was a backup quarterback again. This time he was a 7th string quarterback, which I didn’t even know a team could have that many backups!
But through his grit and drive he was able to drive his way to the starter position and then all the way down the field to an 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? No. Instead…
“He 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 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 during each phase of his football career, 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.
With the top spot secured, he refused to feel secure. He feels like he needs to re-earn his starting position with each and every practice.
“It’s not really a chip on my shoulder. 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
This is the mentality of a champion: see yourself as an underdog, never take your position for-granted, believe work is what sets you apart, and minimize your prioritizes.
Tom Brady prioritizes two things in life: football and family. Beyond that he doesn’t really care…
“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
It’s his laser-like focus that has endowed him with the ability to shoot lasers.
And it’s his prove-em-wrong mentality that has ultimately transformed an underdog into a G.O.A.T.
Thanks for reading! If you enjoyed this essay then you might also enjoy my popular essay: How to Maximize Your Life with the Andrew Carnegie Dictum