Less than a week ago the world witnessed two things: the 55th edition of the annual holiday that is the NFL’s Super Bowl and a 43 year old QB named Tom Brady win his seventh championship. Both of those things I have direct experience with but rather than focus on career legacy or the halftime show let’s discuss significant takeaways from what took place, by focusing on Brady.
In my previous life, I worked in entertainment marketing and talent production for the National Football League. Among the many things it afforded me— was the opportunity to work directly with countless athletes and entertainers , those who performed at their highest levels. One of those individuals I was fortunate to understand at a deeper level was Tom Brady.
Working on the documentary ‘Brady 6’ for ESPN gave me direct insight as to the man behind the helmet and what drove him to success. It was during this experience when team affiliation mattered not and the spirit of the man became what I began to appreciate.
With the 199th pick the New England Patriots selected Brady out of The University of Michigan in the 6th round. Six quarterbacks were taken ahead of him, none of which individually produced a career like the player they were drafted ahead of. One could argue as I have that the six chosen before him had significantly less accomplishments combined. The feeling of being overlooked never left Brady and continues to fuel who and what he is. A winner.
While the story connected with the most accomplished quarterback in NFL history continues to be told, including leading the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to a title in his first year with the team is incredible, there’s more.
How has this man produced at this level for this long?
An unrelenting desire to master his craft is where I’d start. Being a 6th round pick will not only humble you but it will make a competitor hungry. Nothing is taken for granted, everything is earned. Brady has never been the biggest or strongest but he has always been the most willing. That’s played out in his preparation down to his contract negotiations.
His emphasis on winning as a team versus winning individually would be my second takeaway his success.
In an era when he certainly could demand max dollars, particularly with all of his success - he’s repeatedly looked for ways to keep his team competitive over winning the contract battle. If you listen to him speak publicly it’s always about the team, the guys who helped him accomplish the overall goal. The decisions he’s made off the field starting with health and fitness has extended his career - thus giving himself more opportunity to win. It sounds pretty cliche but look around professional sports and you will quickly understand it’s not common.
Lastly, his refusal to forget the feeling of being overlooked has driven him. You won’t hear him speak on this often but it’s there. The need to show the world what they didn’t see in him all these years still drives him. We can all relate to this emotion to some extent - the need to prove to ourselves and others the greatness within. Brady has successfully internalized those emotions and allowed it to drive him.
These are just a few things that perhaps you didn’t consider when looking at the historical run that Tom Brady just completed. His story is still being written. Utilizing these principles is a great way to ensure that your story is just beginning as well.