There might be no athlete more popular on this planet than Tom Brady. A five-time Super Bowl winner and four-time Super Bowl MVP, Brady was a little-known quarterback playing for the University of Michigan before becoming the G.O.A.T. He was decent at Michigan, but one could even argue it was a stretch for the Patriots to draft him, given he only had 30 touchdowns and 16 interceptions in two seasons as a starter. Yet, the Patriots saw something in the lanky college kid, even when he was fifth on the team's depth chart. Fast forward nearly two decades and the Patriots have won 14 division titles with Brady under center and have yet to post a losing season in his time with the team.
He took over from Drew Bledsoe in his second season with the Patriots and, according to legend, stated in a huddle that Bledsoe "isn't getting this f'n job back". That's the passion and desire that has come to define Brady. He has proved doubters wrong at every corner and he uses the doubt he faced throughout his career as fuel to keep improving. Even at 40 years old, Brady might be in the best shape of his life and, as such, plans on playing until he's 45. That may or may not happen, but you have to give him credit for wanting more, despite already being regarded as the greatest quarterback in NFL history. Yet, Brady hasn't necessarily been squeaky clean. Below are 15 examples of why he's such a polarizing figure.
15 Wants You To Know: He's 40 Years Old
Over 10 years ago I fell in love with you because of your beautiful and sensitive heart. I love the sweetness in your essence. Today you are starting a big new chapter and I wish you so much happiness and fulfillment in all aspects of your life. Happy birthday my love! Making 40 feel like 20!!! You go @tombrady !!!! Te amo ❤ Há mais de 10 anos me apaixonei por você, pelo seu coração lindo e sensível. Amo a doçura da sua essência. Hoje você está começando uma nova fase e eu lhe desejo muitas felicidades e realizações em todos os aspectos da sua vida. Feliz aniversário, meu amor! Fazendo 40 parecer 20!!! You go !!! Te amo ❤
Brady debuted with the New England Patriots in 2000 and became the team's starting quarterback the following season after an injury to Drew Bledsoe presented him at an opportunity for greatness. According to Statista, the average career of an NFL quarterback is 4.44 years, while players who are first-round draft picks have an average career length of 9.3 years. Brady was a sixth-round pick, so the odds were stacked against him to play even a handful of years.
Yet, he recently turned 40 years old and, unlike some who might want their advanced age kept a secret, Brady has no problem with letting you know his age. That's because he knows people will doubt that, at age 40, he can be an elite quarterback and win another Super Bowl. That doubt has fueled him his entire career and without it he might not be the player he has become.
14 Doesn't: Love Of Water Slides
On the football field, Tom Brady looks cool as hell. Love him or hate him, the man has a passion for the game that is easy to pick up on. He's fiery and intense in his play calling and, when things don't go his way, he doesn't mind telling his teammates and coaches. That might rub some fans the wrong way, but, given his track record, it's hard to argue against his way of doing things. Quite simply, you have to respect the man.
Off the field is a different story. While you have to respect his ability to throw the football, you can't do anything but laugh at the way in which he goes down water slides, as shown above. The now iconic photo, along with his awkward high fives, is one of the ways in which Brady actually appears human. Although, we can't remember the last time we seen a grown man having so much fun on a water slide.
13 Wants You To Know: Drafted In The Sixth Round
Other than the high-profile first-round picks, can you honestly correctly answer which round some of the game's better quarterbacks were drafted in? Drew Brees? Russell Wilson? Kurt Warner? Second round. Third round. Undrafted. None of those players - or the media - push the agenda that they were overlooked by numerous teams in their draft year, yet Brady can't help himself in relaying that fact.
In one ESPN interview, he literally cried thinking about it. "The fifth round was coming and going and everyone was getting picked ... and I said I 'gotta get outta here.'" He apparently left his home with a baseball bat to express his rage. "It was just a tough day, you know," he said as he fought back tears. Yadda yadda yadda, he's the best ever now. What a heart-wrenching story.
12 Doesn't: Horrible Combine Results
Believe it or not, there's actually a reason Brady dropped to the sixth round. Beyond the fact he put up mediocre numbers with the University of Michigan in his two seasons as a starter, he put on an awful display at the NFL combine. By now, you've probably already seen his horrible dad bod which he already had before entering the NFL, despite being in his early 20s. That was how he looked at the combine, which, according to Jay Cutler is fine because you "don't have to be in that great of cardiovascular shape ... to play quarterback."
According to Brady, this is what scouts said following his performance at the combine: "Poor build, skinny, lacks great physical stature and strength, lacks mobility and ability to avoid the rush, lacks a really strong arm, can't drive the ball downfield, does not throw a really tight spiral, system-type player who can get exposed if forced to ad lib, gets knocked down easily." In their defense, his 5.28 second 40-yard dash is still the slowest among today's starting quarterbacks, while he posted equally horrible results in other tests.
11 Wants You To Know: Two-Time MVP
Of course, those combine performances above mean very little when it comes to the ability to throw the ball and think the game. And we now know that Brady is elite in both of those categories as the numbers and the hardware back up those claims. Brady is a four-time Super Bowl MVP, but almost just as impressive is the fact he is a two-time league MVP, which you could argue is a harder award to win given it's up for grabs among the thousands of players in the league.
Brady won his first MVP in 2007 after leading the Patriots to a 16-0 regular season record. Unfortunately, the Patriots' path to perfection that year was spoiled by Eli Manning and David Tyree, but that didn't take away from Brady's career-high 50 touchdowns and 4,806 receiving yards. He won his second MVP in 2010 after leading the league in touchdown passes with 36 and posting a league-best quarterback rating of 111.
10 Doesn't: Best Buddies
Often when a person doesn't want you to know about his or her charitable givings it's because they're humbled, reserved, and simply doing it out of the goodness of their heart rather than recognition. That's not the case with Tom Brady and Best Buddies International, a nonprofit organization which helps out developmentally and intellectually disabled people. Brady's appearances and continued support of the nonprofit has helped them raise over $20 million in the past six years, while he personally donated $490,000 in 2005.
Nothing to worry about there, right? Except, the relationship isn't just one sided. In turn for his support, Best Buddies has paid $2.75 million to Brady's Change the World Foundation Trust and has pledged another $500,000 in 2017. A Boston Globe story on the relationship cited charity watchdogs who stated, "it is not unusual for nonprofits to pay celebrities to help raise money, and they did not dispute that Best Buddies has realized an enviable return on its relationship with Brady," yet its questionable at best. It could have been a complete non-topic, but recently a Boston Globe photographer was banned from attending the Best Buddies charity football event this past summer. Like one of his good friends (we'll get to that later), Brady seems to have a dislike for the media.
9 Wants You To Know: 2009 Comeback Player Of The Year
As previously mentioned, adversity fuels Brady. If he was the first overall pick in his draft year, who knows if he would have become the player he is today. In 2008, Brady missed all but one game of the regular season due to recovering from knee surgery. Given the knee is important for mobility, some wondered if Brady would be able to return the following season just as effective as he once was, although, in retrospect, a lack of mobility never hurt Brady in the past.
He responded to those doubters by posting a strong bounce back season the following year. It was far from one of the best seasons of his career, but he led the Patriots to a respectable 10-6 record and threw for 28 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. More importantly, he proved he can defy the odds, and he continues to do so into his 40s.
8 Doesn't: Friendship With Donald Trump
Look, there's nothing wrong with supporting Donald Trump. Sure, he's far from the traditional picture of "presidential" and has an all-time low approval rating, but it's easy to see why he had so much support at this period in history. It's also easy to see why he would be someone you could kick back and discuss sports or play golf with, beyond the fact he owns numerous courses worldwide. Still, it isn't exactly good publicity to discuss how great of friends you are with The Donald.
That's why Brady, despite having a Make America Great Again hat in his locker last year, declined to go into whether or not he was supporting Trump in his run for president. He acknowledged he supported him as a friend; his wife, however, outright denied the fact she would vote for Trump and has since shared anti-Trump links on Twitter. Brady, meanwhile, has appeared to fall in line with his wife as he conveniently skipped the Patriots White House visit.
7 Wants You To Know: Married To Supermodel Gisele Bundchen
As much as Brady has had to refute claims made by Gisele that might make his life a little tougher (see No. 6), there's no denying he's proud of himself for marrying one of the world's most popular supermodels. Let's face it, you probably never heard of Gisele Bundchen before she married The G.O.A.T in 2009, but by now she has become synonymous with Brady.
When Brady was suspended for the first four games of the 2016 season, he posted a photo to social media of him throwing to Gisele as he wasn't allowed to be practicing with the team. The media is partly responsible for keeping Gisele in the public eye among football fans, but you can be sure Brady doesn't mind people discussing how beautiful his wife is.
6 Doesn't: Gisele's Concussion Claims
As beautiful as she is, Gisele is perhaps equally passionate. The Brazilian model supports numerous charitable causes and is a staunch supporter of science-related research, most notably in relation to climate change and global warming. She also seems to be concerned about the science behind concussions and the long-term impact they can have on a player's life. During an appearance on CBS's This Morning, Gisele stated: "He has concussions pretty much every ... I mean, we don’t talk about it. He does have concussions."
You could tell she knew she went to an area in which Brady wouldn't have wanted her to go and he recently had to answer to those claims. And instead of choosing to support or deny the claim, he took the middle ground as he always does on any controversial issue: "I mean, we go to bed in the same bed every night, so I think she knows when I'm sore, she knows when I'm tired, she knows when I get hit. We drive home together [after games]. But, she also knows how well I take care of myself. She's a very concerned wife and very loving." A whole lot of nothing as per usual.
5 Wants You To Know: Atlanta Blew A 25-Point Lead
Brady isn't the type to wear a specially-designed Super Bowl ring to commemorate the fact Atlanta blew a 25-point lead in last year's Super Bowl (LeBron James and the Cavs did something similar when the Warriors blew a 3-1 lead), but he certainly doesn't mind people talking about it constantly. It's hard to imagine a fifth Super Bowl ring meaning more than the others, but that's likely the case for Brady as the Patriots were all but done in last year's Super Bowl.
Atlanta held a 25-point lead on the Patriots with just 18 minutes to go. If you played out the final 18 minutes of that game another 100 times, chances are the Falcons would win 99, if not 100, times. But Brady was at his absolute best in the game's waning moments. If there was ever any doubt that he wasn't the best quarterback of all-time, he wiped them away with the incredible comeback.
4 Doesn't: Deflategate
Stating that Brady doesn't want you to know about Deflategate is both obvious and pointless, as it was the major story in the sporting world for the better part of a year. Did he or didn't he order the balls to be deflated to better suit his passing attack? Did those ball boys purposefully let air out of the game balls in the bathroom? Was Bill Belichick involved? Do we even give a damn anymore?
Regardless of what actually happened, the fact is Brady finally accepted the four-game suspension that was handed to him by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell. It's also true that other quarterbacks have come out in support of him stating they like their balls a certain way (giggity) too, but that doesn't matter to Brady haters. He's certainly proven he's the best and smartest quarterback of all-time, but his - and the Patriots - controversies have given ammunition to those who disagree.
3 Wants You To Know: No Losing Seasons
The fact that Brady has played 15 full seasons in the league is a feat in itself. What's even more impressive is that he hasn't had a losing season in his career and nor does it seem as though he's about to any time soon. In fact, the closest the Patriots ever came to a losing season with Brady under center was in 2002 when they finished with a 9-7 record, while Brady led the league in touchdown passes with 28. The team won the Super Bowl the year prior and then did so in back-to-back seasons the next year.
Since then, Brady posted a pair of 10-6 records, which has been his worst mark in the past decade. He has an overall career regular season record of 183-52 and, in the past seven seasons, has posted a combined record of 86-22.
2 Doesn't: Spygate
Deflategate wasn't the only "gate" Brady had to worry about during his career. The first had less to do with him and more to do with his coach and football evil genius Bill Belichick, but it still affects his legacy nonetheless. In 2007, Belichick was fined $500,000 (the largest fine allowed), while the Patriots were fined $250,000 and lost a first-round draft pick for videotaping signals of the New York Jets' defensive coaches from an unauthorized location.
Many others came out to claim that the Patriots had been doing this to other teams ever since Belichick came on board as the team's head coach. And while the Patriots were heavily penalized, a 2015 ESPN report suggested that Goodell and the NFL actually covered up parts of spygate as a favor to New England owner Robert Kraft. The extensive report detailed the Patriots' highly-complex system for stealing opposing teams signals through recordings and subsequent decodings.
1 Wants You To Know: Five Rings
Above all else, Brady is a quarterback that simply knows how to get the job done. He's fourth in career passing yards, fourth in touchdowns, and third in career quarterback rating, but he's first in the only thing that truly matters - Super Bowl rings. Brady has five rings and has been the MVP in four of those wins. Whereas other athletes like Jim Kelly and LeBron James have to be reminded of their poor records in championship games/series, Brady has an impressive 5-2 record in the Super Bowl and could have easily been 7-0 if not for some dumb luck by the New York Giants.
In fact, Brady leads all quarterbacks with seven Super Bowl starts. John Elway is second with five, while five others have four each. He's also the only quarterback to win five Super Bowls as his most recent win over the Falcons pushed him ahead of Joe Montana and Terry Bradshaw and into G.O.A.T territory.