Tom Brady is near the top of the list when you rank the best quarterbacks in NFL history. He wasn’t always that good, though. Brady was a sixth-round draft pick out of Michigan. It wasn’t until he was in college that he felt a calling to be an NFL player. The quarterback credits a couple of coaches with seeing his potential. Otherwise, he might not be the household name he’s become 20 years later.
Tom Brady struggled when he started college
Brady didn’t have his love of football in high school; he actually played baseball in addition to football while in high school and was drafted by the Expos but chose to go to Michigan instead to pursue his football career.
Brady told Dax Shepard on his Armchair Expert podcast that college was “really challenging” for him because he was a long way from the Bay Area, where he grew up. Brady admits that he felt like “there was less support” for him than his peers. At times, he felt like he “was there on an island.”
Two coaches who saw Brady’s potential
When he felt lonely, Brady told Shepard he “had to learn to dig deep” or the loneliness would’ve “broken” him. Brady recalls finding a way to dig deep, and he credits two mentors with helping. Those mentors are Greg Harden, who was the Wolverines’ team psychologist at the time, and then-quarterback coach Scott Loeffler.
Brady recalls those two noticing his potential on the gridiron. Harden and Loeffler told him that they see “it” in him, even though Brady didn’t see it in himself. They gave him some tools to help him mentally. They told him to see things a certain way and that “this is an opportunity” and to “take advantage of it.” Brady admits it worked. When he realized this, he decided he needed more of it.
Brady went to see Harden twice a week. He asked the psychologist questions like how he can “get in more of a frame of mind” and why he shouldn’t try different techniques for throwing the ball. The ability to learn those types of things in college helped Brady as he entered the NFL.
Luck plays a role in Brady’s success
Brady feels lucky to have the right people enter his life at the right time, including Patriots coach Bill Belichick. When New England took Brady No. 199 in the 2000 draft, it was the same year Belichick took over as coach from Pete Carroll. The timing couldn’t have worked out better for Brady, who says “there’s no better person to teach you quarterbacking than Bill Belichick.”
Joining the Patriots with Belichick is just one of many circumstances that “broke” the right way for Brady. Not only did he luck into having people like Harden, Loeffler, and Belichick enter his life, but Brady “was ready and open to accept” the advice they offered.
The QB says if he thinks something is going to happen, “it happens.” All kinds of collective forces come together in his favor. Brady called it “a perfect storm of a lot of different events over long periods of time that all broke a certain way.”