With nearly 20 years of NFL dominance under his belt, it’s easy to forget that Tom Brady was once a normal high school athlete facing an uncertain future. Uncovered footage of his first-ever media interview shows Brady as a shy youth with a lot of confidence and promise.
Looking back, interviews like this show early hints of how Brady would go from shy high schooler to football superstar in the years after the interview.
Tom Brady in high school
Brady played at Junípero Serra High School in San Mateo, California from 1992 to 1994. Former Serra coach John Kirby spoke about how seeing Brady in the NFL brings up a lot of nostalgia for those early days. “I hear him audible and it reminds me of our own little code we started on the JV team,” Kirby said per Max Preps.
The coach continued, “When he saw a DB playing too tight, Tom would pull on his face mask and it would change a short route into a streak. I can still feel that anxious feeling when he did it because I knew the ball would be coming to me and he’d put it right on the money. And he did time after time.”
Brady showed all the promise of a great QB in his day, although Serra was not a juggernaut in high school football world. The Catholic prep school never made the state playoffs with Brady. The coaches, however, praise Brady’s ability to read a defense and make up for his lack of speed with skills and smarts. The following early interview sheds light on this.
Brady’s first interview
A local TV station interviewed Brady as it highlighted the next generation of Bay Area athletes making a name for themselves in high school. When asked by the host about who he was as a football player, a humble Brady was surprisingly realistic for a young athlete.
“Everybody tells me I have a pretty strong arm, which is good,” the quarterback explained. “I’m pretty accurate with it. I think I need to work on my speed a little bit, but hopefully, that will come in time.”
People expect candid breakdowns like this from professionals, not high schoolers. What always set Brady apart from other athletes, however, was his willingness to bypass his weaknesses to be the best quarterback possible.
With the uncertainty of life before college, he also demonstrated subdued confidence. “I have a pretty good work ethic, so I think I can get the job done,” Brady said. And 25 years later, the 42-year-old proves he can get the job done.
Brady’s origin story
Brady shocked the sports world by following through on his threats to leave New England, signing with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers instead. Despite being 26 years removed from that high school interview, he shows that he could parlay his skills into not only an NFL career but one of the best ever, as Boston.com explains.
Looking back, it makes sense that Brady became who he is today. Had he been the biggest name in the nation, he might not have felt the need to work hard and further his game. However, as an underdog even after he entered the NFL, this drive might be the key to his success.
When Brady finally calls it quits, the world will look back at his early story with amazement at the humble youth who became the football behemoth he is today.