Twenty-two years ago, in 2000, a very young Tom Brady was passing through the NFL Draft. While Tom had accomplished incredible feats at the University of Michigan—he was a champion with the Michigan Wolverines thanks to historic performances like the 1999 game against Alabama—the future best player in football history was nearly left out of the draft.
Almost no one wanted him. 31 NFL teams made the historic mistake of passing on Tom Brady until the sixth round of the draft. The quarterback, in fact, barely managed to be selected, as he was picked 199th (out of 200) by the New England Patriots, the franchise where he subsequently spent most of his brilliant career.
In team reports, Brady was slaughtered. Analysts said his physical build was too thin, that he was a player with no strength, little ability in tight spaces, and trouble avoiding opposing pressures. The analysts also said he lacked arm power.
Those reports, which favored physicality over the innate talent of a legend, did nothing but motivate Tom Brady and turn the talented California quarterback into an unwavering competitive beast.
Nothing defines Tom Brady better than his first salute to Patriots owner Robert Kraft. The QB, far from going with his head down, wanted to be very clear when introducing himself:
– “Good morning Mr. Kraft, I introduce myself, my name is Tom Brady.”
– “I know who you are; we picked you in the sixth round,” replied Kraft, who undoubtedly did not expect the following response.
– “I’m the sixth-round pick that will be the best decision this franchise has ever made”
Not even a year to begin making history
It was clear that a young sixth-round quarterback was going to have a tough time fighting for a spot and getting into the team’s rotation. In his first year as a professional player, Brady only had to train, stay physically and emotionally fit, and wait patiently for his chance on the bench while the Patriots’ star at the time, Drew Bledsoe, shone as the starter and emblem.
Everything was to change a year later, in 2001, when Bledsoe suffered a serious injury that caused an internal hemorrhage that would keep him off the field for a while. His replacement was none other than that young sixth-round pick poised to make history.
Brady, during that time as a starter, surprised the entire United States with his accuracy on long balls, his intelligence to lead the team and his ability to solve problems in moments of pressure. In a very short time he made people forget a star like Bledsoe, relegating his career to the bench, and positioning himself as the future of the New England Patriots.
Against all odds, the same year that Brady became a starter, the Patriots won their first Super Bowl with Brady as a standout. In less than two years, the young University of Michigan graduate became the youngest NFL quarterback to win a Super Bowl ring at the age of 24. And the story was just beginning.
The biggest winner of all time
In absolutely every sport, especially the collective ones, there is a discussion about who is the Greatest Of All Time (GOAT) in his discipline. In soccer, the debate is complicated by the evolution of the game itself, the fields, defensive systems, and those who prefer the players of the 20th century over those of the 21st century. In basketball, the exact same thing happens, and it is really difficult to determine the superiority of one player over another. However, in football, few if any players can compete or sit at the table with Tom Brady. Not only numbers are on his side, but talent and the ability to react in borderline situations.
Brady won 7 NFL rings, six with the Patriots, who became a complete dynasty while “TB12” was in their ranks. To size up that number: no franchise in NFL history has won more rings than Brady.
Moreover, he needed only one year with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to reach his seventh ring and lead the franchise to win its second Super Bowl ring in 2020. On the Buccaneers, Brady reached the NFL passing yards record right in the same game he faced and beat the Patriots, the franchise of his lifetime, making him the fourth quarterback to beat every team in the NFL.
Tom Brady, in addition to his seven rings, played 10 times in the Super Bowl in 22 seasons played, being the Most Valuable Player (MVP) in 5 of them (the player who has achieved it the most times).
He is the quarterback with the most wins in the history of the NFL and the only one to have won more than 200 games. He won 35 playoff games. He is also the only player in any professional league (NFL, MLB, NBA or NHL) to win titles for two different teams after the age of 40 and the only one to win the Super Bowl in three different decades.
Beyond statistics—numbers and records that serve to measure achievements—what Brady has generated in more than two decades has not been achieved by any other NFL athlete in all history. Brady unequivocally earned the place of GOAT without question. Not only due to his talent, but due to his competitive nature. Brady, without a doubt, is the quarterback you want when your team is down in the playoffs. He is the quarterback you need in your ranks to manage a favorable advantage. He’s the legend you want to start a game because with him by your side your chances of winning increase.
Tom Brady is the perfect example of being a great American hero. An exemplary athlete who, despite his talent, was rejected by almost everyone in the Draft and instead of declining, he empowered his character to become a legend. Unfortunately for NFL fans, and for the country, one of the greatest athletes of all time is retiring. Because yes, Brady is not only great within America, but he managed to become a global reference. His legacy will be remembered for generations, and this should be a source of pride for the entire United States.