My wife and daughter recently watched the ESPN special, The Brady 6, about the events leading up to and after the selection of Tom Brady in 2000 as the New England Patriot’s seventh quarterback. I was somewhat surprised that they would watch a one-hour football show but then realized it told an inspiring story that could appeal to everyone. I highly recommend this documentary, which chronicles Brady’s rise to the top from humble beginnings—the story of someone who became great through sweat and determination, rather than through sheer talent.
Brady was the 199th draft pick during his senior year. With six quarterbacks picked ahead of him, he was drafted in the sixth round. He had been overlooked because physically, he had the worst combine (an athletic workout) of any quarterback likely in history. He was slow and did not jump very high. Additionally, he did not have the greatest arm and could not throw a tight spiral. In his senior year at the University of Michigan, Brady split the starting quarterback role with a newcomer, and NFL teams questioned why he lost the starting position.
As you watch the documentary, you learn that Brady outworked and out-prepared the other quarterbacks drafted that year. Except for maybe Payton Manning, he probably continues to outwork and out-prepare all NFL quarterbacks. Today, Brady holds numerous regular season and postseason records and is one of two players in NFL history with multiple NFL MVP and Super Bowl MVP awards. He is now widely viewed as one of the best NFL draft picks of all time.
Tom Brady’s story shows us that hard work and preparation, more so than natural gifts, are crucial to success. He overcame the odds and excelled at something he was truly passionate about. Rather than expecting greatness to be bestowed upon him, Brady earned it through determination, dedication and drive—a lesson from which we can all learn.