Words by Tinashe Zvobgo
With lockdown extending to almost a year, I found myself taking up two new hobbies: watching the draft and throwing myself into the free agency process. This feast of NFL administration rose two questions to mind. Firstly, how would the NFL and commissioner Roger Goodell manage Covid-19 – especially considering the USA is one of the worst affected countries. Secondly, and perhaps inevitably, how well would Tom Brady do with his new team and coaching staff.
The latter was a topic that was hotly debated during the offseason. For many, Brady’s switch to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers presented the opportunity to answer the question: was Brady the reason for the Patriots’ success, or was it down to Coach Belichick? Personally, I stand somewhere in the middle. What the Brady-led Buccaneers success at the latest Superbowl at the expense of Patrick Mahomes’ Kansas City showed was that Brady is the undisputed GOAT. Inspired by his victory, let us take a trip down Brady’s history and see what made him the man
he is today: the greatest player in the NFL and the most decorated quarterback in history with 7 titles in total achieved with two different teams.
With his unadulterated success on the pitch, it’s easy to forget how Brady’s career started. Traditionally the NFL draft sees the best college athletes picked for the worst-performing teams. There is always plenty of debate and discussion surrounding who the top picks will be and their following careers are often hotly followed. Brady, however, was only selected in the 6th round by the New England Patriots. All things considering – 6 Superbowl titles later – we can confidently say that is probably the greatest pick in the history of the NFL.
Over the next 20 seasons with the Patriots, Brady won the Superbowl 6 times (more than any other player) and was awarded Superbowl MVP 4 times, 3-time MVP in the regular season with 14 pro-bowl appearances. Despite not being “the best” quarterback in his draft class. His place in the draft attests to that, as team scouts picked people who they deemed to be more talented ahead of him. Nevertheless, Brady became the definition of making your opportunity count. He started as the Patriots’ backup quarterback but when he found his chance arrived to start for his team, he took it. What I believe separated Brady from those quarterbacks was drive.
It never mattered that Brady didn’t have a rocket of an arm or that he couldn’t escape pressure from the defence like Deshaun Watson. Rather, his ability falls within putting his team in game-winning positions season after season. There are multiple examples early in Brady’s college career where he would come off the bench to turn his team’s fortunes around. This in part is one of the reasons I believe Belichick decided to draft him. Nothing about him stood out, especially during the pro workouts. Brady’s belief in himself however is a skill in its own right. Coupled with his work ethic and eagerness to learn and get better he has earned everything
that has come his way.
The leadership on and off the field speaks volumes. His decision to eschew the huge salary his performances demand, he pushed the Patriots to use the funds to invest in great players in order to see the team victorious. Having defeated who most consider the future of the league and his defending champions, what’s next for Brady? At 43 he might be the oldest player in the league especially with Drew brees looking towards retire. Yet Brady still seems as if he has more in him. After taking the 7-9 Buccs of last year and turning them in Superbowl Champions, it’s clear both the drive and performance is still there. Like other GOAT athletes in different sports, Brady invests everything into his health and fitness. Considering that, what do I think? 45 maybe 46. Brady now has more Superbowl rings than any NFL Franchise in history. Not just individual players – the actual teams. If you were still in doubt, the debate is over. Tom Brady. Greatest of All Time.