Whether you love him or hate him, Tom Brady has built up an impeccable NFL resume. During his time on the gridiron, the quarterback has established himself as a serial winner, seemingly capable of leading a team to the Super Bowl without breaking a sweat. He’s also earned a reputation as an incredible leader, inspiring teammates and pushing everyone to the next level.
So what’s the secret to Tom Brady’s leadership? Everything starts with a humble handshake and three simple words.
Tom Brady’s stats don’t tell the entire story of his NFL career
At this point, everyone can rattle off plenty of Tom Brady stats. The quarterback started out as the 199th pick of the NFL draft. He’s been to 10 Super Bowls and won seven championships. The list goes on and on. Those numbers, though, only tell part of the story.
While discussing intangibles can be tricky, Brady has developed a reputation as a legendary leader. In New England, he was an on-field extension of Bill Belichick, ensuring that everyone ‘did their job.’ Once he moved to Tampa Bay, however, we got to see even more of the quarterback.
Once he arrived in Florida, TB12 got down to business; he reportedly reached out to all of his new teammates and started leading their offseason preparation. Once the Buccaneers turned the corner and began their run to the title, praise kept pouring in.
After winning the NFC Championship game, for example, head coach Bruce Arians said that Brady gave the organization the belief they needed to reach the Super Bowl; before the big game, the quarterback reportedly sent his teammates multiple texts reminding them that they would win.
LeSean McCoy, who’s been around the block a few times, also shared a similar experience with Brady. He’s the only player that I’ve ever been around that, when he speaks, when he talks, I believe him,” McCoy explained on The Pat McAfee Show. “He could tell me, ‘Shady, go walk on that water. You won’t drown.’ I’m going to be like, ‘OK.”
Starting with a handshake and three simple words
Given his track record, it’s easy to imagine Tom Brady leading with an iron fist; when you’ve won seven Super Bowls, you’ll have plenty of clout in the locker room. The legendary quarterback, however, starts things off with a more humble touch.
As Henry McKenna explained for Patriots Wire, Brady usually greets his new teammates in a pretty unassuming way. Rather than placing his Super Bowl rings on the table, he’ll greet them by name, shake their hand, and simply say, “Hi, I’m Tom.”
“I walked past him going into the weight room, and I smiled, and I sort of nodded my head,” lineman Adam Butler said. “And he stuck out his hand to shake. And I shook. And he was like, ‘Hi, I’m Tom.’ And I’m like, ‘Of course I know you’re Tom!’ You know what I mean? But that’s just the kind of attitude he has as a person.”
That simple gesture is at the basis of Tom Brady’s leadership
In isolation, a simple handshake and an introduction might not seem like much. For Tom Brady, however, it’s the basis of everything he does as a leader.
“I realize these are all teammates, and I think being a good teammate is about establishing trust,” Brady told Patriots Wire. “I think caring about people, caring about their backgrounds, caring about who they are — that’s what being a teammate is. … I’m trying to be a good leader and get the best out of them. In order to do that, you have to make sure everyone knows you care about them.”
Again, talking about intangibles can get tricky; there’s no way to know how the Patriots or Buccaneers would have performed if Brady stopped shaking hands. According to those in the locker room, though, his gestures make a difference.
“Those little things like that go a long way,” Julian Edelman explained. “It made me want to go out and play hard for him because he’s the G.O.A.T.”
Given Tom Brady’s resume, maybe every NFL team should begin their training camp with handshakes and introductions.