Back in 2000, the NFL Draft was the first in a new millennium and little did we know at the time, would produce one of, if not the, best quarterback we’ve ever seen in football.
Considered the biggest steal in draft history, Tom Brady was selected with the 199th pick in the sixth-round – not many QB’s selected so late become regular starters, never mind record breakers.
Coming out of college, Brady’s lack of physicality was obvious, which now includes the infamous image of him being weighed in his boxer shorts.
How did someone who wasn’t highly regarded in the draft become one of the greatest ever?
Drafted by the New England Patriots, Brady became backup to long-time starter Drew Bledsoe, and threw just one completed pass in his rookie season.
At the start of the 2001 season, Bledsoe took a big hit and suffered internal bleeding, which was so serious it almost resulted in his death.
Brady took over, and while he began unspectacularly in his first few games, he quickly showed his ability and ended up taking the Patriots to Super Bowl 36 with impressive stats – throwing for almost 3,000 yards and 18 TD’s is not bad for a sixth-round pick.
The Patriots were clear underdogs against the St. Louis Rams at Super Bowl 36. With the game tied and only a minute left on the clock, Brady drove all the way down the field before Adam Vinatieri kicked the field goal to win the Pats, and Brady, their first Vince Lombardi Trophy.
This was just the beginning for TB12.
Even though the Patriots never made the playoffs in the 2002 season, Brady impressed and improved even more, leading the league in passing TD’s with 28.
However, the 2003 and 2004 seasons saw the Patriots win back-to-back Super Bowls, making that three wins in four years for Brady and solidified the beginning of the Patriots dynasty.
In two of these Super Bowl’s, Brady won the MVP award – he only missed out on the MVP award in Super Bowl 39 as his wide receiver, Deion Branch, went for 133 yards.
Drought, Losses and Injury
Now a three-time Super Bowl champion and double Super Bowl MVP, Brady already had established himself as one of the best in the league, particularly at clutching up on important final drives.
However, after the 2004 win, Brady and the Patriots would go another 10 years without a Super Bowl win, including one very infamous loss.
The 2007 season is notorious for Tom in multiple ways.
Brady threw 50 TD passes in the regular season, which was an NFL record at the time and was only broken by Peyton Manning in 2013.
More importantly on a team level, the Patriots went 16-0 and undefeated through the regular season, the first team to do this since the league was expanded to a 16-game season.
The Patriots strolled through the playoffs to reach another Super Bowl and were strong favourites to take their fourth and complete the perfect season.
With the Patriots in the lead 14-10 with only minutes left on the clock, every NFL fan knows what happened next.
New York Giants QB Eli Manning threw a deep pass to David Tyree, who caught the ball and pinned it against his helmet, now known as the “helmet catch” – the Giants scored from the drive, meaning Brady didn’t have enough time to mount a comeback.
Brady suffered a serious injury in the first quarter of the 2008 season, meaning he spent the whole year on the side lines.
Brady met Eli Manning and the Giants again in the 2011 Super Bowl, only to lose out in the final minutes once again.
Comebacks, Deflategate and Pastures New
Despite a big injury and two Super Bowl losses, Brady didn’t let this dampen his spirits. In fact, this possibly spurred him on to become even better.
He regularly threw for over 4,000 yards per season afterwards, limited throwing interceptions and his regular season QB Rating was often above 100.
Between 2014 and 2018, Brady won three more Super Bowls with the Patriots, giving him a record six rings – most famously was Super Bowl 51.
After winning his fourth ring in 2014, Brady was suspended for the first four games of the 2016 season due to “Deflategate”, where he was adjudged to have been a participant in deflating footballs in order to gain an advantage in the previous season.
Despite this, Tom came back and took the Patriots to a 14-2 record and another Super Bowl, this time against the Atlanta Falcons.
In the third quarter of Super Bowl 51, the Patriots were astonishingly down 28-3 and they seemed down and out.
Even more astonishingly, Brady mounted the biggest comeback in Super Bowl history, scoring 25 unanswered points and sending the game to overtime, also a Super Bowl first.
Brady went on to lead another game winning drive in overtime and arguably one of his greatest.
Super Bowl 53 saw Brady claim his sixth trophy against the LA Rams, making him the oldest QB to win a Super Bowl at 41. Oh, and his sixth ring gave him more Super Bowls than many franchises combined.
After a poor 2019, with the Patriots receivers almost non-existent, and the retirement of Rob Gronkowski, Brady ended his 20-year tenure with the Patriots and Bill Belichick.
This season, his first with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Brady looked like his younger self again.
He threw for 40 TD’s, his most since 2007, and is now about to play in his 10th Super Bowl – can he win a seventh?