In the wake of Super Bowl LV, the astonishing career of Tom Brady has once again been thrown into the limelight. By leading the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to victory, Brady won his seventh Super Bowl, now meaning he has more championships than even any franchise in Super Bowl history.
Yet unlike other greats, such as Peyton Manning, or John Elway, Brady was never touted to be an NFL superstar. Upon leaving college it was commented that Brady didn’t ‘have the total package of skills’ and subsequently was ranked as the tenth best Quarterback trying to enter the pro-level in 2000.
On Draft Day 2000, Brady was taken with the 199th pick overall by the New England Patriots, with six other Quarterbacks being taken before him. Out of the 12 Quarterbacks taken that year, Brady is the only one to have stepped on the field in almost a decade.
In his combine, a college player’s opportunity to show their athletic ability to prospective NFL teams, Brady ran a 5.28-second 40-yard dash. In comparison, NFL 2020 MVP Quarterback Aaron Rodgers ran a 4.71-second 40-yard dash. Rodgers also jumped 10 inches higher and a whole foot further than Brady in his combine. Brady’s pre-draft performance was unimpressive, to say the least.
Brady began his career as the 4th String Quarterback on the Patriots. However, by the end of his rookie season, he had made his way to being the back-up. Brady was given an opportunity early on in his second NFL season when he was named the starter in Week 3, following the injury to Drew Bledsoe.
Brady became the youngest quarterback to win a Super Bowl
He then held that role for the remainder of the season, even when Bledsoe returned, and led his team to victory in Super Bowl XXXVI. Brady became the youngest quarterback to win a Super Bowl and from then, set forth his march to become the greatest.
A lot of Brady’s success can be attributed to consistency. Since becoming a starter in 2001, only in two seasons has he not completed a full 16 games. In 2008 he suffered a season-ending knee injury, the only substantial injury in his 20-season long career.
This is likely down to his lifestyle, where he deploys a strict diet, training plan, and sleep schedule.
A combination of success and controversy, however, has meant Brady is also one of the NFL’s most hated players. In a report by 247Sports in 2018, Brady was identified as the 5th most hated player of all time. Unfortunately for the NFL great, his career will undeniably be tarnished by the ‘Deflategate’ scandal of 2015.
Brady was suspended for four games for his involvement in deflating the balls used by the Patriots in their AFC Championship game against the Colts (the ‘semi-final’ before Superbowl XLIX). His credibility suffered dramatically and is a possible factor for why some people still attempt to deny him the title of Greatest of All Time (GOAT).
After winning 6 Super Bowls and undeniably establishing one of the most successful footballing dynasties in New England, 2020 saw Brady embark on a new chapter in his storied career. He signed a 2-Year $50million deal with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. This was set to be the true test of his greatness.
Yet, at age 43, Brady showed no signs of slowing down in the 2020/21 season. He threw for 40 touchdowns, the second-highest in his career, and finished having the 2nd highest completions in the league. He led his team on a nine-game winning streak to finish the season and won his seventh Super Bowl title.
Brady has asserted himself as one of the most successful sportsmen in history
Any doubters Brady had throughout his career were silenced as he achieved a feat that no team, let alone player, could lay claim to. Amid the celebrations of Super Bowl LV, Brady made clear that he was ‘coming back’ to lead the Buccaneers title defence in 2021/22.
Even without a successful title defence in the 2021/22 season, Brady has asserted himself as one of the most successful sportsmen in history.
Due to the minimal understanding of the NFL outside of North America, it is unlikely the career of Tom Brady will be fully recognised until popularly documented, such as Netflix’s ‘The Last Dance’ docuseries detailing the career of NBA legend Michael Jordan.
Whether he is loved or hated, Brady will go down as one of, if not the greatest, player in NFL history.
Featured image used courtesy of Brook Ward via Flickr. No changes were made to this image. Image use license here.
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