Tom Brady is widely regarded as the greatest quarterback of all time. In 18 years as the primary starting quarterback for the New England Patriots, he led them to 17 division championships, 13 AFC Championship Games, nine Super Bowls and six Super Bowl Championships.
At the age of 43, after failing to get an offer from the Patriots, he signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers who had a losing record the previous season. With no offseason or training camp because of Covid and in a new conference, division and teammates, he led them to their first playoff win in 18 years.
On Sunday, he will run onto his home field to start in his 10th Super Bowl.
Is Tom Brady such a freak of nature athlete that his physical prowess dominates over his competition?
Not at all.
In fact, he was looked over so often in the 2000 NFL Draft that he wasn’t selected until the 199th pick during the 6th round. Some say that what stands out for Brady is his vision. Others say it’s his poise. He’s also been credited as being patient, intelligent and a student of the game. I would offer a different take. I was fortunate to have been on the sidelines during a half dozen of his most memorable playoff performances. I was about 30 yards up the same sideline as Brady when kicker Adam Vinitieri kicked the winning field goal as time expired giving Brady and the Patriots their first Super Bowl Championship in New Orleans in 2002. I shot the images of him dismantling the Colts (multiple times), Steelers and other AFC contenders during their two decades of playoff dominance.
But it was at the end of the 2017 AFC Championship Game in drizzly Foxborough when I noticed something that I found astonishing. The Patriots had just defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers to advance to yet another Super Bowl. I was on the field, photographing the celebration between the players, with a mix of family, friends and media swirled in together. It’s a chaotic scene to say the least. I jammed my way over to the podium area where Brady and the Patriots would receive their trophy. As Brady approached, I turned around to see rock star Jon Bon Jovi directly behind me, New Kids on the Block singer Donnie Walhburg to my left and actor Joe Manganiello next to Wahlburg. Somehow, I finessed my way into the VIP area next to the podium where only a handful of people were allowed. For one brief moment, it was only me, a security guard, Brady and Patriots owner Robert Kraft. They embraced in a big hug as I shot away. Moments later, Bradys former teammate Teddy Brushi entered the area to congratulate Brady.
It was there that Brady showed me why he was different from the rest. As Brady was being called to step up to the podium to receive all of the praise and accolades in front of millions across the world, he leaned into Bruschi to say something. What I heard wasn’t about Brady. It wasn’t about football. It had nothing to do with what any of us might be thinking if we were in his position at that moment.
Brady asked about how one of Bruschi’s kids was doing. They then discussed some details and Brady explained how he wanted to be a help. After that conversation ended, he turned to step up on stage. I walked to the other side to get a better angle but I kept thinking about what I just witnessed. It was hard to not be completely impressed by Brady’s curiosity for Brushi and his family. After winning one of the biggest games of his life, getting ready for the Super Bowl, how was his mind not consumed with everything he had just done or was about to do?Why was he so curious about Brushi and his family, years removed from having been a teammate?
When Brady arrived in Tampa, he continued to surprise. It would be very easy for the greatest player of all time to pull rank and possess a giant ego. Instead, he took the opposite approach. He reached out to each of his new teammates personally. Apparently, this is not uncommon. New teammates were always surprised by what would happen upon their arrival in New England. Brady was the star and everyone knew his name. Yet he always made sure to introduce himself to the new teammate, with a “Hi, I’m Tom.” Like they didn’t already know? Yet his curiosity to get to know his teammates- both the stars and the newcomers- endeared him to each of them.
In fact, Brady asked for only one thing upon signing with Tampa Bay. It wasn’t for a specific number. It wasn’t for control of the offense. The one thing he asked for were the phone numbers of each of the players on the team.
Football scouts measure speed, strength and agility. They obsess over sprint times, how much they can lift and how much mental toughness the player has. But how much do they measure a players curiosity?How interested are they in how interested their quarterback is in his teammates?
Maybe, instead of height, weight and speed, that intangible will be what turns one draft pick into the greatest of all time.
Every week in the Total Life Freedom Community we celebrate the wins and victories that the members have had in their businesses and building their life of freedom.
As usual, these were hard to choose because of so many good things happening, but…
Lauren Allen, the host of the Corporate School Dropout Podcast, had her highest month of downloads since she began two yeas ago and set up her workshop. “I feel like a million bucks!” Was what she told us with all of the progress!
Ken Carfagno added an additional $4,000 in revenue for his cleaning business with $10,000 more about to finalize!
Sadie Kolves is up to 55 reviews for her book, Anything Is Possible and has four new customers!
Jerad Spencer closed on a whopping 11 properties in January!!
Greg Tosi launched his brand new podcast, Cutting Corporate Ties this week!