On Sunday, we are going to watch the greatest quarterback in NFL history play in a Super Bowl one more time. I don’t write a lot about football, and so many of my readers don’t realize that I have been passionately following the NFL ever since I was a little kid. One of my earliest memories is of sitting in front of the television watching the Pittsburgh Steelers play on Sunday afternoon. In those days, it was unthinkable that another football dynasty could possibly surpass what the Steelers of that era had accomplished, but then along came Tom Brady.
This will be the tenth Super Bowl that Tom Brady has played in. No other quarterback in NFL history has played in more than five.
Tom Brady has already won six Super Bowls, and if he wins on Sunday it will be his seventh.
To me, one of the most amazing facts about Tom Brady is that he will be the first quarterback to start a Super Bowl in three different decades.
There has never been a quarterback like Tom Brady before, and we will never see another like him again.
Of course there is absolutely no guarantee that he will win on Sunday. The Chiefs won the Super Bowl last year, and they have an even better team this year. It will take a monumental effort to defeat Patrick Mahomes, Tyreek Hill, Travis Kelce and the rest of the Chiefs, and the truth is that the game could easily go either way.
But win or lose, Brady has already established himself as the greatest of all time.
What most casual fans don’t realize is that Brady was not always a great football player. In fact, when he first showed up to play high school football, he didn’t even know how to put on his uniform properly…
“When I showed up as a freshman in high school, I didn’t know how to put pads in my pants. I was just hoping to play high school football because I wanted to be like Joe Montana and Steve Young. And then when I got a chance in college, I just wanted to play at Michigan.”
He was not a particularly great high school quarterback, but he did get a chance to go to Michigan.
Arriving on campus full of hopes and dreams, it would have been really easy for him to be discouraged when he was designated the seventh-string quarterback.
These days, a lot of college teams don’t even have seven quarterbacks on the roster.
Tom Brady could have thrown in the towel, but he knew that where you start in life does not determine where you will finish.
He just kept working hard and doing whatever was asked of him.
As a 19-year-old, he took a summer job with a construction company in Michigan. He was given the tasks that nobody else wanted to do, and that included scrubbing toilets…
The floppy-haired 19-year-old had to scrub an auto parts factory restroom blanketed by layers of construction debris, grime and who knows what else.
Five years before he claimed his first Super Bowl ring and one year before he became Michigan’s starting quarterback, Brady wrapped a heavy-duty trash bag around his prized right arm and went to work. He didn’t stop polishing until every toilet and urinal gleamed, until every sink and floor tile sparkled.
Can you imagine that?
The greatest quarterback of all time scrubbed toilets until they gleamed.
If you are willing to work hard on seemingly unimportant tasks, that is a sign that you will also work hard on tasks that are far more important.
Incredibly hard work enabled Tom Brady to ultimately be successful at Michigan, but leading up to the NFL draft he was not highly regarded.
In fact, he lasted until the 199th pick in the sixth round of the 2000 draft.
At that time, most of the experts did not think that he would ever become a solid starter in the NFL, and Tom Brady only threw three passes during his first NFL season.
But he kept working hard, and the next season he got the chance to become a starter, and the Patriots went on to win the Super Bowl.
Over the years, it hasn’t always been easy. In fact, Brady has had to overcome adversity time after time throughout his career.
One of the most remarkable things about Brady is that when he gets knocked down he never stays down. Four times in his career he has lost the very first game of the season as the starting quarterback. In each of those seasons, his team has ended up in the Super Bowl.
So what makes Brady different from everyone else?
Well, in addition to an absolutely insane work ethic, he also obsessively takes care of his body.
His workouts are legendary, and he has a diet that he never deviates from that is extremely strict…
- 80% fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and legumes
- 20% protein (chicken, red meat, seafood)
- Eat until you’re 75% full
- No dairy or nightshades
- Halve your body weight in pounds and drink that many ounces of water (70 ounces for me daily)
- Max 2 cups of coffee / No caffeine after noon
- No food within 3 hours of going to bed
Would you permanently adopt that diet if it would take you to the very top of your field?
Most people would not be willing to make that sort of a sacrifice.
But for Brady, settling for anything less than the very best is not acceptable. Just consider how he reacted after he discovered one of his teammates crying for joy after the NFC championship game…
As Buccaneers linebacker Lavonte David tells it, one of his teammates was shedding some tears of pure joy after the Bucs beat the Packers in Green Bay. Brady put a stop to it immediately — and rather aggressively.
“When I realized that it was real, when I realized like all the other stuff doesn’t really matter unless it’s the Super Bowl, it was after we won the NFC championship,” David told the All Things Covered podcast. “You know me, I’m all happy, it’s my first. I’m geeked up. Then like, I guess somebody was crying. And I guess like, I heard [Brady] just like, ‘What the f— you crying for? We not done yet.’”
Brady knows that you have always got to have your eyes on the prize.
When Tom Brady and the Patriots lost a playoff game to the Tennessee Titans at the end of last season, many were wondering if Brady was finally finished.
But instead, Brady decided that it was time to take things to an entirely new level.
At 42 years old, Brady signed with a new team and he had to learn an entirely new system.
And when he made his regular season debut with the Bucs, they lost their first game to the Saints.
But Brady kept working, and he ended up passing for 40 touchdowns by the end of the season. That was the second highest total of his entire career.
Now he is 43 years old, and he is telling reporters that he may play beyond age 45…
Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady has said repeatedly throughout his career that he would like to play until age 45. But now, at the age of 43, and preparing to play in his 10th Super Bowl and first with the Bucs, he is open to playing beyond that.
“Definitely. I’d definitely consider that,” Brady said Monday. “It’s a physical sport. Just the perspective I have on that is you never know when that moment is. Just because it’s a contact sport. There’s a lot of training that goes into it. And it has to be 100 percent commitment from myself to keep doing it.”
You are never too old to do something great, and Tom Brady is an inspiration to every geezer that has been told that he is past his prime.
On Sunday, I will definitely be rooting for Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
But whether they win or lose, Tom Brady has already taught all of us so much, and they are lessons that I will never forget.