Tom Brady will play in his tenth Super Bowl this Sunday, and it’s difficult to put into words just how dominant he has been over the last two decades.
Ultimately, how has he been this good for this long?
“I think there’s a couple of things,” CBS NFL analyst Jay Feely told JR SportBrief. “I think No. 1, he had the internal drive to be great and to do whatever it took to make himself better. I think he had the humility to be able to look at himself every offseason and say, ‘How can I get better?’ He had the humility to be able to allow Bill Belichick to use him as an example for 20 years to his team.”
Translation? Brady let Belichick yell at him.
“Bill was tough on him in meetings – very tough,” Feely said. “A lot of coaches treat their quarterback with kid gloves. They’re protective of them; they don’t want to upset them. Bill was the opposite. Bill was going to get on Tom harder than anybody else so that it sent a message to everybody else on the team. Tom had the humility to allow him to do that without letting it ruffle his feathers. That helped him to be great.”
Brady, Feely said, also “kept that chip on his shoulder” from being a sixth-round draft pick. Given Brady’s success, you would think that chip would have eroded at some point in the last, oh, 10 or 15 years.
It did not.
“You would think, ‘This guy’s won three of four Super Bowls when he starts his career, there’s going to be a time where he gets complacent. There’s going to be a time where he loses that chip,’” Feely said. “He’s never done that. He’s never gotten complacent. He’s never lost a chip on his shoulder. If anything, it’s driven him more.”
Brady’s football acumen, meanwhile, is second to none.
“From the quarterback perspective, when you take talent and you add it to an understanding of the game, if you know what the defensive coordinators are going to do and you’re able to recognize concepts and you know where to go with the ball before the snap, then you’re way ahead of the game,” Feely said. “I think that’s certainly the case with Tom Brady.”