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Whether you love or hate him, Tom Brady built an impeccable NFL resume. During his time on the gridiron, the quarterback established himself as a serial winner. The seven-time Super Bowl champion also earned a reputation as an incredible leader, inspiring teammates and pushing them to the next level.

So what’s the secret to Brady’s leadership? It 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 now 45-year-old started as the 199th pick of the NFL draft. Brady competed in 10 Super Bowls and won seven championships. The list goes on. Those numbers, though, only tell part of the story.

While discussing intangibles can be tricky, the retired QB developed a reputation as a legendary leader. In New England, he was an on-field extension of Bill Belichick, ensuring everyone “did their job.” Once he moved to Tampa Bay, however, we got to see even more of the quarterback.

After arriving in Florida, TB12 got down to business. He reportedly contacted all his new teammates and started leading their offseason prep. Once the Buccaneers turned a corner and began their run to the title, praise kept pouring in.

After winning the NFC Championship game, for example, then Tampa Bay head coach Bruce Arians said Brady gave the organization the belief they needed to reach the Super Bowl. Before the big game, the quarterback reportedly sent his teammates texts reminding them 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 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.'”

Brady started with a handshake and three simple words

Given his track record, it’s easy to imagine Tom Brady led with an iron fist. When you’ve won seven Super Bowls, you receive plenty of clout in the locker room. The legendary quarterback, however, started things off with a more humble touch.

As Patriots Wire reports, 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 was the basis of Tom Brady’s leadership

In isolation, a simple handshake and an introduction might not seem like much. For Brady, however, it’s the basis of everything he did 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 Brady’s resume, maybe every NFL team should begin their training camp with handshakes and introductions.


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