Most Amazing Facts About Tom Brady
Few athletes transcend sports and become pop culture icons, but Tom Brady is one of them. The NFL quarterback's unparalleled success on the field has made him into a football legend while his personal life and marriage to Gisele Bündchen make him ideal tabloid fodder.
But there is more to Brady than what the public sees. Constantly being overlooked created a hyper-competitive mindset that sometimes shows its head far away from the game. These factors have led to many interesting aspects of Brady that even the most diehard football fans may not know.
We will explore these things and more as we look at the most amazing facts about Tom Brady.
Meet the Most Powerful Player in NFL History
Tom Brady won't ever have to buy a meal in Boston again. But after winning six Super Bowls with the New England Patriots in his first 20 NFL seasons, he's going to end his career in another uniform.
Brady left the Patriots as a free agent after the 2019 season and signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers He reportedly had two demands for his new team — control over the roster and play-calling decisions.
NFL quarterbacks have been responsible for play calls before, but no player ever had as much roster control as Brady supposedly was going to get. He earned the right to call the shots.
But once Brady got to Tampa, he was a model teammate and employee who got along great with coach Bruce Arians and led the Bucs to a win in Super Bowl LV in his first season in Tampa.
The Bucks Stop Here
Tom Brady made over $235 million with the Patriots, but over $180 million of that was in bonuses. He only made a shade over $50 million in career salary in New England and never more than $8 million in annual salary, in 2015.
He often was underpaid (in NFL terms) because he took pay cuts so the Patriots could have more money to sign other players.
Those days are over. Brady makes $25 million a year with the Buccaneers and is paid like one of the best quarterbacks in the game.
Put Some Respect on That Name
To his family, he'll always be Tommy. But on the football field, Tom Brady has earned his fair share nicknames.
It's Good to Be the King
All of those nicknames fit. And he isn't finished.
But he's come a long way to get to this point.
Most Valuable Backup
Before Tom Brady became Tom Brady, he was a backup to Drew Bledsoe.
Before that, Brady was a backup at Michigan to Brian Griese.
Before that, Brady was a backup on his varsity high school team at Serra in San Mateo, Calif.
And before that, little Tommy Brady couldn’t even start on his JV team that didn’t score a single touchdown all year.
Blue Chip on His Shoulder
Brady has been a backup at literally every stop in his football career.
It's a big reason (along with being the 199th overall pick in the 200 NFL draft) that he plays with such a chip on his shoulder despite his unmatched success.
Brady may not be the greatest athlete to play the quarterback position, but he was still a good enough athlete to be drafted in Major League Baseball five years before he was taken in the NFL draft.
In 1995, the Montreal Expos drafted Brady out of high school in the 18th round. He was a left-handed hitting catcher with power.
And one baseball scout even thought the kid could be a major league All-Star some day.
Playing Quarterback Was His Calling
But Brady had his mind set on football and did not sign with the Expos.
He would, however, sign a letter of intent with the University of Michigan to continue his football career.
Every Superman Has His Kryptonite
Brady has defeated every NFL team at least once, but one team continues to be his Kryptonite: the Denver Broncos.
The Broncos are the only team with a winning record against Brady. They’ve won nine games and lost eight games counting both regular and postseason.
Mile Low Club
It’s not just when Peyton Manning was in Denver that the Broncos got the best of the Patriots.
Brady has losses to the likes of Kyle Orton, Brock Osweiler, Brian Griese (two times) and Jake "The Snake" Plummer (three times).
Denver also has knocked Brady out of the playoffs three times in his career. More than any other team.
Making It Rain in the Club
Today, Tom Brady is a happily married family man with three young kids. But back in the day, Brady was a party animal who could reportedly drink any teammate under the table.
As a rookie with the Patriots in 2000, according to a teammate, Brady went out with the guys to a local gentlemen’s establishment in nearby Rhode Island called the Foxy Lady.
The then-23-year-old didn’t visit there to study his playbook, but he did ingratiate himself with his veteran teammates.
No. 1 on the Depth Chart
Those same teammates supported him during a mini-quarterback controversy a year later as he replaced Drew Bledsoe as the team’s signal-caller.
We all know about Deflategate in which Brady allegedly had his footballs illegally deflated to his liking. But do you know about Inflategate, in which balls were increased in size? Former backup Matt Cassel does.
In 2005, Brady suffered a hernia, and his testicles swelled to three times their normal size.
The fact that Brady was able to play through the pain might be more impressive than winning six Super Bowls.
Cassel jokingly said that "Tom Brady has big balls," without anyone noticing the double entendre.
Life Before Gisele
Brady and Gisele have been married since 2009, but the quarterback was known as a bit of a playboy before then.
He started dating the supermodel in December 2006, which also happens to be the same time that his ex, actress Bridget Moynahan, became pregnant with Brady’s first child. We’ll let you draw your own conclusions.
A Ladies' Man
But there was also another actress even before Moynahan.
After Brady won his first Super Bowl in early 2002, he dated Tara Reid of "American Pie" fame who was still somewhat relevant back then.
Reid was asked about dating Brady during an interview, and while she wouldn’t divulge many details, she did coyly say, "Have kissed. He’s pretty good looking."
Taking Care of Those Who Take Care of Him
The 2007 season may go down as Brady’s greatest individual season when he won his first MVP award and led the Patriots to a 16-0 regular-season record.
So how did Brady reward those that kept him upright and enabled him to rewrite the NFL record books? Brady gave each of his five starting offensive linemen Audi Q7 SUVs as a token of appreciation following the season.
Riding in Style
The retail value of the vehicles was $42,500 each.
And Brady joked with his linemen, "These will keep you well-protected, just like you make me feel — sometimes."
Under the Knife
The only significant injury during Brady’s pro career came during the 2008 season. Fresh off winning his first MVP award and leading the Patriots to an 18-1 record, Brady tore his ACL and MCL in Week 1 of the 2008 season.
While the injuries were bad, the recovery was even worse as Brady suffered an infection that required multiple surgeries.
As Good As New
He had four surgeries in total but was able to recover in time for the start of the 2009 season, which ended with another Pro Bowl selection.
The only other known surgery of Brady’s career came after the 2010 season when he had his right foot operated on due to a stress fracture stemming from that 2008 injury.
Did you know that one of Boston’s most beloved athletes happens to be Tom Brady’s brother-in-law?
Or as Red Sox fans would tell you, "Did you know that the Patriots' quarterback is Youk’s brother-in-law?"
All in the Family
Two-time World Series winner Kevin Youkilis married into the Brady family by wedding Julie Brady, one of Tom’s three older sisters.
Youkilis was a three-time All-Star for the Red Sox and a Gold Glove winner in 2007.
He was inducted into the team’s Hall of Fame in 2018.
Throughout his 18 years in the NFL, Brady has been pretty spotless in terms of league discipline.
However, there are two exceptions: one is Deflategate, which earned Brady a four-game suspension and a salary forfeiture of over $235,000.
The other isn’t quite as famous and doesn’t have its own Wikipedia page, but it still hurt Brady’s rather large checking account.
In 2013, Brady was fined $10,000 for kicking Ed Reed during a slide in a playoff game.
Reed and Brady likely will share a laugh one day about this play when they are alongside each other in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Rivalry? What Rivalry?
Peyton Manning and Tom Brady were the preeminent quarterbacks of their era and faced each other 17 times in their careers.
While the media hyped this up as a rivalry, can something so one-sided really be considered a rivalry?
Getting the Best of Peyton
Brady posted an 11-6 record against Manning and had overall winning records against Manning with the Colts (8-4) and Broncos (3-2).
Manning may have the statistical edge and is the only player with more MVP awards than Brady’s three, but Brady has the edge where it matters most: rings and wins.
Two GOATs. One Team.
Even though he’s made his mark on the gridiron, Brady always has been a huge admirer of the GOAT of the hardwood, Michael Jordan.
"I was in awe of Michael Jordan," Brady once said, "and I still am in awe of what he was and what he meant."
Thus, even Tom Brady must have reacted like any other Jordan fan would react when MJ asked him to team up for a game of pickup basketball.
Jordan and Brady on the same team? Yes, it happened in 2015 in the Bahamas.
While there’s no word on who won, are you really going to bet against two GOATs on one team?
Slow Starts for the Big Game
For people as meticulous and prepared as Tom Brady and Bill Belichick, you would think they would come out guns blazing in the Super Bowl.
But it was the exact opposite for their nine appearances in the big game.
It's How You Finish
Until their eighth Super Bowl against the Eagles, the Patriots did not score a single point in the first quarter of the games.
They finally mustered a field goal in the first quarter of Super Bowl LII.
But the net score of Brady’s nine Super Bowls after the first quarter is 24-3.
On the flip side, in the fourth quarter or overtime of Super Bowls, Brady's teams have outscored opponents 94-72.
And Brady has completed 85-of-129 passes (66.0 completion percentage) for 921 yards (7.1 yards per attempt), six touchdowns, two interceptions and a 95.8 passer rating.
A Training Method or a Cult?
A major point of controversy surrounding Brady in recent years has been his partnership with his personal body coach, Alex Guerrero.
Guerrero is a proponent of alternative medicine, and Brady credits him as being a reason why he’s been so successful late in his career.
Guerrero has turned Brady onto a diet based around a healthy pH balance in the body and focuses more on muscle pliability than strength or hypertrophy.
Many of Brady’s teammates also have adopted elements of Guerrero’s training method.
But others have described it as "like a cult" due to its rules and convictions.
Yet, Brady stands by his guy, and Guerrero even became the godfather to Brady’s youngest son.
He's Still Got It
For the past few years, Brady has talked about wanting to play into his mid-40s. That would make him an outlier among quarterbacks.
Just three other quarterbacks in NFL history have started at least 10 games in their 40s, and none of them had the success that the 40-year-old Brady had in 2017 by leading his team to the Super Bowl and winning it a year later at age 41.
Age Is Just a Number
Brady, who turned 41 on Aug. 3 before the 2018 season, already holds the record for the oldest quarterback to start a postseason game.
He will be 43 to open the 2020 season and will have to play a few more seasons to pass Steve DeBerg as the oldest quarterback to start a regular-season game.
DeBerg was 44 years and 279 days old when he started once during the 1998 season.
Not to Be Confused With Tom Petty
Even the all-time greats need to be coddled at times. During the 2017 season, a story from ESPN emerged that talked about possible friction within the Patriots organization.
The author, Seth Wickersham, said that there was some tension from Brady’s side toward Bill Belichick because the quarterback was never recognized as "Patriot of the Week" at any point during the season.
'A Tone-Setter and a Bar Raiser'
MVP awards, Super Bowls, GOAT recognition. None of that mattered as Brady allegedly was slighted about not being recognized by his Patriots coaches.
Some would call it pettiness. Others would call it the hyper-competitive fire that burns within Brady.
Regardless, Belichick has great respect for Brady.
"Tom was not just a player who bought into our program. He was one of its original creators," the Patriots' coach said in a statement after Brady decided to leave the organization. "Tom lived and perpetuated our culture. On a daily basis, he was a tone-setter and a bar raiser. .. He didn't just perform. He didn't just win. He won championships over and over again.
"Sometimes in life, it takes some time to pass before truly appreciating something or someone but that has not been the case with Tom. He is a special person and the greatest quarterback of all time."
A Class of One
With a victory in Super Bowl LI, Brady moved from a class of 40 to a class of two. By winning "one for the thumb," Brady joined Hall of Famer Charles Haley as the only players to win five Super Bowls.
By winning Super Bowl LIII, Brady became a class of one with six Super Bowl wins, the only player in NFL history to win six Super Bowls. Brady topped that record by winning Super Bowl LV in his first season with the Buccaneers, becoming the only player in NFL history with seven Super Bowl wins. Bady also took home his fifth Super Bowl MVP for good measure.
With seven Super Bowl wins, Brady has won more rings than any franchise in the history of the sport. The Pittsburgh Steelers and New England Patriots both have six Super Bowl titles.
On a Quest for the Next One
Mr. Six Rings also holds the record for most Super Bowl appearances with nine in his 20 seasons as the Patriots' starting quarterback.
If you ask the six-time Super Bowl winner which ring is his favorite, he’ll give you an answer that displays his ultra-competitive mindset.
"You know what my favorite Super Bowl ring is? The next one."
If It Weren’t for the Mannings
Tom Brady may have more Super Bowl rings than Peyton and Eli Manning combined, but the Manning brothers both have the edge in career earnings over Brady. And everyone else.
Through the 2019 NFL season, Eli Manning has more money in salary than any player in league history.
Eli made over $252 million during his career while older brother Peyton clocks in at second all-time with nearly $250 million.
Entering the 2020 season, Brady is fourth with over $235 million, behind Drew Brees ($244.7 million) at No. 3.
For what it’s worth, Brady’s career earnings don't crack the top 10 in the NBA or top 7 in MLB. But that's gonna change after his next deal.
And when it's all said and done, Brady likely will be No. 1 in career earnings in NFL history.
All I Do Is Win
In addition to being the Lord of the (Super Bowl) Rings, Brady also is the all-time wins leader for NFL quarterbacks.
He’s won 264 games, counting both the regular season (230) and postseason (34). That's 64 more than Peyton Manning, who is in second place.
After winning Super Bowl LV, Brady's 34 playoff wins are more than double any other quarterback in NFL history. Joe Montana is No. 2 with 16.
The Ultimate Champion
In terms of other active quarterbacks, Drew Brees (181 total career wins) has the next most but is still 83 wins behind Brady through the 2020 season.
Hall of Famers Jim Kelly (110) and Troy Aikman (105) went to a combined seven Super Bowls, but their combined win total still is fewer than Brady’s.
If Brady does indeed play into his mid-40s, and keeps winning at a similar rate, his wins record should appear on one of those "Most Unbreakable Sports Records" lists.
No Secret to This Success
How do the all-time greats become the all-time greats? By committing every fiber of their lives to their crafts. And that’s exactly what Tom Brady has done.
The 2018 docuseries "Tom vs Time" showed just how much work Brady puts into his craft even during the offseason, and there’s no secret to his success.
Even Gisele has taken a backseat at times, as she once told Patriots owner Robert Kraft that she woke up at 3:30 a.m. one morning to find her bed empty, only to discover that Brady was in the lab studying film.