Did You Know Tom Brady Wasn’t Always The Star Player?
Tom Brady may just be the best quarterback of all time. No wonder he’s known as the GOAT. He is one of the most recognizable athletes and will go down as an icon in sports history. He was born with raw talent but that doesn’t mean he sailed smoothly to the top. He worked hard to secure those six Super Bowl wins for the Patriots. Those wins didn’t come without any gossip and scandals though. Remember Deflategate?
Brady has tackled just as many lows as he has highs. Find out how number 12 became such an icon both on and off the field.
Just when Brady was about to show his ability as the sole starting quarterback, Michigan forced him to share it with Drew Henson. The two players had a lot in common, including being two-sport athletes that could have played baseball.
The school didn’t want Henson to leave, so the senior Brady had to share reps with the sophomore. This gave Brady a huge hit at trying to showcase his talents, but he persevered. Brady ended up leading the team to a win over Alabama in the 2000 Orange Bowl.
It looks like history would repeat when Brady landed in New England. It seemed odd that the Patriots would choose Brady so late, even though they already had proven 3x Pro Bowler Drew Bledsoe. They also had another rookie and a veteran in John Friesz.
The fellow rookie competition, Michael Bishop, ended up playing eight games while Brady only saw the field one time. It looked like he was reliving his experience in Michigan all over again, as Brady had to ride the bench. He only had one completed pass for the entire season.
Number 12 Takes Over
By Brady’s sophomore season, things started to look up for the young buck. Friesz called an end to his career and Bishop wasn’t a factor anymore, making Brady the new backup quarterback in New England. It would be the second game of the season that allowed Brady to fully take over.
After Bledsoe took a hit from Mo Lewis, he didn’t return for the game, leaving the door wide open for Brady. Once Brady took control, he never looked back. Bledsoe had to miss extended time and Brady led the Pats to an 11-5 record.
To The Top!
Perhaps Brady was sick and tired of sitting on the sideline while others who weren’t as good as him took the limelight. Brady played his heart out every game and earned a Pro Bowl selection. Most importantly, he made sure that Bledsoe wouldn’t reclaim his role once he became healthy again.
However, Brady went down in the AFC Championship game, allowing Bledsoe to lead the Patriots to the Super Bowl. In the end, it would be Brady who launched the Patriots over the St. Louis Rams 20-17.
THIS Is The New Guy
As it would turn out, Tom Brady quickly became the face of the franchise. After overcoming some years as the backup, he finally would become a household name. Everyone wanted to know more about this Super Bowl MVP.
Being the face of a franchise certainly has its perks. In ’02, Brady dated the 1997 Playmate of the Year Layla Roberts. We would imagine that Brady enjoyed his time on the field and off of it.
Remaining a Star
The Patriots had a huge Super Bowl hangover going 9-7 and missing the playoffs in ’02. However, Brady stepped up to prove that ’01 wasn’t just a fluke. It didn’t take long for New England to become a juggernaut.
The Patriots recorded a 14-2 season and walked right through the playoffs and into Super Bowl XXXVII. It was a close game but thanks to a game-winning field goal, Brady and the Pats went home victorious. In just three years, Brady accumulated two championships and two Super Bowl MVPs.
When 2004 came around, even the most dedicated Brady bashers had to submit to his greatness. He led the Patriots to another 14-2 record and Super Bowl appearance, making light work of the AFC competition.
On the other side, the Philadelphia Eagles had come to the big game with their own weapons. The thing they didn’t have was Tom Brady as their quarterback. Winning a third Super Bowl in four years cemented the Pats as a dynasty and Brady as their king.
Knocking On Perfect’s Door
Come 2007, Tom Brady had become something no one would have ever imagined in such a short period of time. He officially became known as Touchdown Tom after he threw a ridiculous 50 touchdowns passing Peyton Manning’s then-record of 49.
What was even more special is that the Patriots went on to have a perfect 16-0 season. Brady led his team to the Super Bowl again, hoping to complete perfection against the New York Giants. Sadly, one famous helmet catch brought that dream to an end.
His Difficult Relationship With Bill Belichick
Brady and Patriots coach and general manager, Bill Belichick, have a long and unique coaching relationship. Belichick is credited with being the one who saw the potential in Brady when the Pats drafted him. Their work together has created a football dynasty so all should be well between the two, right?
It was reported that the relationship was tense. After nearly two decades together ESPN reported that different coaching styles, beliefs, and two “ruthless and proud self-made men” are simply butting heads about the future of the Patriots. While the Pats claimed none of it to be true, the 2019 season following the alleged feud was the first time since 2011 that Brady didn’t reach the AFC Championship.
Taking a Hit
Tom Brady had left fans mesmerized with his near-perfect season. He won his first NFL MVP thanks to his heroics and had it not been for the shocking defeat in the Super Bowl, it might have been one of the greatest seasons a player could have had.
As Brady geared up for revenge, things went horribly wrong again. In the season opener against the Kansas City Chiefs, Brady took a low hit and suffered a torn ACL and MCL.
The Comeback Kid
Due to the tears in his knee, Brady had to wait a little longer before trying to redeem his almost perfect season. Once he made a full recovery, it was like Brady hadn’t missed a step.
Brady’s return was stellar. He was already in top form and earned Pro Bowl honors again. He also managed to win the 2009 Comeback Player of the Year award. He was just that sensational. However, he had a great moment to cap off the great year.
Switching Things Up
After Tom Brady had proven that he was still the man post-surgery, he also showed that his brand was top of the line and ready to go even higher. In 2010, Brady switched sides on Nike, bringing in a new era of endorsements.
Brady left Nike for Under Armour, which had been rapidly growing since 1996. It’s safe to say Brady was their biggest name yet and really helped the company out in a major way. Instead of taking cash from the company, Brady invested and took stock instead. We’d say the switch was well worth it.
Brady earned millions from the Under Armour stock, but his next sponsorship turned him into a fashion icon. The campaign he did one month after signing with Under Armour is still iconic.
We’re talking about the legendary UGG campaign. It was probably one of the boldest moves of his career at the time, but Brady ignored the haters and stepped right into becoming one of the biggest ambassadors ever.
Count It Up For Tom
Due to Brady winning three Super Bowls, he could get away with a lot. After an incredible 2010 season and his second MVP selection, number 12 could easily wear UGG’s without being ridiculed. The comeback season was over and Brady needed to get back on top.
For Brady, that was easy. He was sensational all year long while throwing 36 touchdowns to only four interceptions. This was enough to nab him his second MVP as he kept collecting awards.
A Giant Fiasco
Do you know how hard it is to surpass an MVP season the following year? Brady made it look like clockwork, passing for over 5,000 yards for the first time ever. It looked like another fairytale ending was in the works as they matched up with the Giants again in the Super Bowl.
The Patriots led with four minutes left in the game. After Wes Welker dropped a wide open pass, it led to the Giants scoring in the final minute of the game and winning. This would mark the second time they faced defeat against New York’s team.
Malcolm Butler Saves The Day
In 2014. Tom Brady faced off against the Seattle Seahawks and the “Legion of Boom” in the Super Bowl. He was trying to win his fifth ring, and would have to beat one of the best defenses in NFL history to do it.
Luckily, he had Malcolm Butler on his side. With seconds remaining and the Seahawks on the goal line, Russell Wilson dropped back threw an interception to Butler. The play was criticized heavily after for not being run, but hindsight is 20/20. And Malcolm Butler is Tom Brady’s best friend.
A Tale Of Air Pressure
After everything Tom Brady had been through in his career, perhaps nothing was more devastating than “Deflategate.” In 2015, a 243 page report was published detailing how Brady would have footballs deflated before games to give him a competitive advantage.
The NFL handed him a four game suspension, which he fought for the entire season. In 2016, Brady finally relented, sitting out for the first four games while still denying any wrong doing. The scandal will forever be a black mark on an otherwise stellar resume.
Branding A Legend
While battling “Deflategate” in 2015, Tom Brady kept himself distracted with a new business venture; himself. He began developing his TB12 lifestyle brand, which officially launched in January 2016. The first items TB12 sold were health equipment and merchandise.
One year later, Brady published the book The TB12 Method: How To Achieve a Lifetime of Sustained Peak Performance. The book became an instant hit, landing at the top of Amazon’s sales list in two days.
Man On A Mission
At 39-years-old and coming off a four game suspension, Tom Brady was a man on a mission to prove his doubters wrong. He went 11-1 in his 12 games, and steamrolled his way through the playoffs to reach the Super Bowl yet again.
Facing the Falcons, the Patriots came out of the gates in a slumber. By halftime, Matt Ryan’s team had a 28-3 lead. The game looked over. Then Brady turned on his clutch gene and engineered the greatest comeback in Super Bowl history, winning his record fifth ring.
His Own Show
In 2017, Tom Brady again made an effort to improve his brand, debuting the show Tom Vs. Time on Facebook. The program took an in depth look at the QB’s preparation and lifestyle, showing how dedicated he is to his family, health, and football.
During the season, Brady led the Patriots to a 13-3 record and a second straight Super Bowl appearance. This time he would face the Philadelphia Eagles, who were starting back up quarterback Nick Foles.
Super Bowl Surprise
Most analysts believed that the Patriots would steam roll the Nick Foles led Eagles. They were all shocked when Foles battled Brady throw for throw, ultimately claiming victory in one of the most entertaining and surprising Super Bowls of all time.
The big play came when Foles went out wide, and caught a pass from his tight end in the end zone. The “Philly Special” was similar to a play the Patriots had tried earlier, except Brady dropped the ball.
New Season, New Story
As Tom Brady entered the 2018 season, a number of questions about his age arose. Now in his 40’s, it seemed like everyone outside of Boston was expecting him to be terrible. And he almost was.
Still, Brady played well enough to get the Patriots into the Playoffs, where they easily took down the competition. By reaching the Super Bowl for a third straight year, Brady did something very few quarterbacks had done before him. The only one we can think of is Jim Kelly.
New School Approach
In the Super Bowl, the Patriots faced off against the Los Angeles Rams, led by new school head coach Sean McVay. The 32-year-old wunderkind coached his offense to play fast, disguise plays, and not be afraid to go for it all on first down.
The Patriots, in contrast, played a more old-school style of football. Brady handed the ball off a lot. The question quickly became, would the run heavy Patriots be able to keep up with the high flying Rams?
A Surprising Win
As the Super Bowl began, one thing became clear, the Patriots defense wasn’t going to let the Rams offense make them look silly. They harassed Jared Goff, forcing him to make bad throw after bad throw.
All Tom Brady needed to do was engineer one touchdown drive, which he did near the end of the game. The Patriots won 13-3, becoming the first team to hold the Rams to less than 10 points in a game.
Testing His Legacy
Throughout the 2019 NFL season there were rumors that impending free agent Tom Brady didn’t want to return to New England. As 2020 league year officially started, Brady announced his departure from the Patriots.
Just a few short hours after that, it was announced Brady was signing with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for $30 million a season. The new environment will be Brady’s first outside of New England without the only coach he’s ever known. This will finally be his chance to prove he’s not a “system quarterback.”
Bringing Old Friends Along For The Ride
After signing his deal with Tampa Bay, Tom Brady went to work making sure he had a few familiar faces with him, most importantly Rob Gronkowski. The retired tight end had previously said he would only play football with Brady, and retired when it appeared that wouldn’t be an option.
With the call made, Gronk came out of retirement and New England traded him to Tampa Bay, reuniting the record-setting duo.
Mission Accomplished – A Seventh Ring
Re-energized in a new city and playing for a team loaded with talent, Tom Brady played like a 23-year-old in his first season in Tampa Bay, leading the team to the Super Bowl to face off against Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs.
The old versus young showdown was more of a letdown for fans, as Tom Brady and the Bucs dominated Kansas City, easily winning. For Brady, it was his seventh Super Bowl win, extending his record.
Not Ready To Retired
It would have been easy for Tom Brady to retired after winning the Super Bowl in his first season with Tampa Bay and proving he wasn’t a “system quarterback.” The legend made a commitment to the Bucs for two years, though, and wasn’t about to let them down.
Will an 8th Super Bowl ring be in the cards for Tommy Terrific?