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In the pantheon of modern athletes, Tom Brady sits pretty close to the top of the heap. Even if you hate the New England Patriots, it’s pretty tough to argue with the quarterback’s resume; six Super Bowl titles, three MVP awards, and countless other honors. That success, however, came at a price.

While Tom Brady’s life may seem pretty perfect, the quarterback hasn’t simply become the NFL’s GOAT without breaking a sweat. In fact, Brady has had to make some big-time personal “concessions” in order to achieve his on-field success.

Rising from sixth-round pick to first-ballot Hall of Famer

These days, Tom Brady is an established part of the NFL scene; even if you don’t love him, you have to begrudgingly respect all he’s accomplished. Two decades ago, however, things were much different.

While Brady had some success at the University of Michigan, he didn’t exactly look like a world-beater coming out of college; when the 2000 NFL draft rolled around, he joined the New England Patriots as the 199th-overall pick. Things didn’t immediately change when he arrived in Foxborough, either. Drew Bledsoe, for example, didn’t think the young quarterback would become anything more than a backup.

Fate, however, intervened. In the fall of 2001, Bledsoe suffered an injury, leaving Brady to take over the Patriots’ offense. From there, the rest is history.

Tom Brady has had to make some personal ‘concessions’ to keep playing football at a high level

Not only has Tom Brady turned into a star quarterback, but he’s still going strong at age 43. That success, however, has come at somewhat of a personal price.

“Because my career is so important, I think I make a lot of, I wouldn’t call them sacrifices, but just concessions for my job. I love what I do and I want to do it for a long time,” he explained in 2016, according to ABC’s Michael Rothman. 

What exactly are those concessions? Brady’s diet—specifically his refusal to eat tomatoes and strawberries—has become a piece of pop-cultural lore, but that isn’t the only change the quarterback has made in order to keep playing at a high level. His personal life has also taken a toll.

According to Rothman, Brady goes to sleep at 8:30 each night and wakes up at 5:30 every morning. That schedule, combined with his commitment to football, means that friendships can sometimes fall by the wayside.

“Sometimes, it’s hard to cut things out, for me where I cut is like my friends, they probably don’t get as much time as they used to,” the quarterback continued. “When you’re one of the leaders of the team, there are no days off.”

It’s safe to say that those choices have paid off for Tom Brady

As even Tom Brady would probably attest, sticking to a strict schedule, following a meticulous diet, and focusing on work isn’t the most fun way to live your life. The quarterback, however, has undeniably reaped the rewards of his personal concessions.

Despite arriving in the pros as an unheralded sixth-round draft pick, Brady earned his place in NFL history. Even if he lost every remaining game he played with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the quarterback would still be a lock for a Pro Football Hall of Fame bust; being a six-time Super Bowl champion will take care of the rest.

To make things even sweeter, Brady has also made more than $200 million in salary during his time in the pros. When he eventually retires, he’ll have all the time and money to enjoy whatever the future holds.

Just don’t expect him to start eating strawberries.


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