Tom Brady is known as the GOAT for a reason: he may just be the greatest quarterback of all time. He has also become one of the more polarizing figures in sports history. Yes, he has raw talent and has led the Patriots to six Super Bowl wins. But with those wins have come scandals like Deflategate and an alleged feud with coach Bill Belichick.
New England’s champion has overcome just as many lows as he’s encountered highs. Find out how number 12 became such an icon both on and off the field.
Brady Grew Up Loving Football
A young Brady followed in his three older sisters’ footsteps. They were heavily involved in various sports, so Brady did the same. Since he grew up in the Bay Area, there was nothing he loved more than the San Francisco 49ers.
He developed a ton of 49ers memories that he would carry with him into adulthood. Brady got the chance to watch Joe Montana and Steve Young throughout his childhood and even dressed up as Montana for games. The lucky kid was even at the game to see “The Catch.”
His Future Could Have Been Different
Brady was really good at baseball in his high school years. He was so good, that he could have had a legit future playing professionally. Since Brady is more of a cerebral player, that characteristic translated over well for the catcher position.
Baseball scouts were in awe and saw a star in the making. That’s why the now-defunct Montreal Expos chose him in the ’95 MLB draft. He would have stayed if outfielder Frank-Paul Santangelo didn’t tell Brady to go play football at Michigan.
The Young Stud
Tom Brady went to an all-boys Catholic high school called Junipero Serra High School. He wasn’t a one trick pony in high school, however. In the fall, he padded up for the football season, but when the spring came around, you can find him on the baseball diamond.
Football must have been in his DNA more than other sports. He played the quarterback position for football and catcher for baseball. He also dabbled in some basketball.
Football It Is
Yes, Brady could have had a successful career in baseball. Despite that, he elected to leave California and give his football game a chance at the University of Michigan in 1996. Even with the Wolverines improving their record and going undefeated in Brady’s sophomore season, he wasn’t even playing.
Brady rode the bench his first two years there. It was Scott Dreisbach flinging the ball in ’96, then Brian Griese led the team to a national championship run in ’97.
Becoming A Leader
In his first two years at college, Brady’s stats read as follows: 15 completed passes, 129 yards, one interception, and -14 rushing yards on two attempts. That would all improve once he was officially named the starting quarterback in his third year.
The new starter led the Wolverines to a great 10-3 record. The team finished the year under Brady’s reign with a win over the Nebraska Cornhuskers to claim the Florida Citrus Bowl title in 1999.
Just when Brady was about to show his ability as the sole starting quarterback, Michigan forced him to share it with Drew Henson. The two players had a lot in common, including being two-sport athletes that could have played baseball.
The school didn’t want Henson to leave, so the senior Brady had to share reps with the sophomore. This gave Brady a huge hit at trying to showcase his talents, but he persevered. Brady ended up leading the team to a win over Alabama in the 2000 Orange Bowl.
Draft Combine Fail
Brady might not have got a chance to show his worth until his third year at Michigan, but he still proved he was in the right sport. However, a bad NFL Combine performance didn’t look too great on his resume. It was like he had on a parachute during his 40-yard dash!
Brady came into the draft with hopes of leaving the board in the second or third round. Much to his surprise, his name didn’t get called until the sixth round. “You’re our sixth-round pick,” owner Robert Kraft told Brady over the phone. It was coach Bill Belichick who is said to have believed in Brady and had the Pats draft him.
It looks like history would repeat when Brady landed in New England. It seemed odd that the Patriots would choose Brady so late, even though they already had proven 3x Pro Bowler Drew Bledsoe. They also had another rookie and a veteran in John Friesz.
The fellow rookie competition, Michael Bishop, ended up playing eight games while Brady only saw the field one time. It looked like he was reliving his experience in Michigan all over again, as Brady had to ride the bench. He only had one completed pass for the entire season.
Number 12 Takes Over
By Brady’s sophomore season, things started to look up for the young buck. Friesz called an end to his career and Bishop wasn’t a factor anymore, making Brady the new backup quarterback in New England. It would be the second game of the season that allowed Brady to fully take over.
After Bledsoe took a hit from Mo Lewis, he didn’t return for the game, leaving the door wide open for Brady. Once Brady took control, he never looked back. Bledsoe had to miss extended time and Brady led the Pats to an 11-5 record.
To The Top!
Perhaps Brady was sick and tired of sitting on the sideline while others who weren’t as good as him took the limelight. Brady played his heart out every game and earned a Pro Bowl selection. Most importantly, he made sure that Bledsoe wouldn’t reclaim his role once he became healthy again.
However, Brady went down in the AFC Championship game, allowing Bledsoe to lead the Patriots to the Super Bowl. In the end, it would be Brady who launched the Patriots over the St. Louis Rams 20-17.
THIS Is The New Guy
As it would turn out, Tom Brady quickly became the face of the franchise. After overcoming some years as the backup, he finally would become a household name. Everyone wanted to know more about this Super Bowl MVP.
Being the face of a franchise certainly has its perks. In ’02, Brady dated the 1997 Playmate of the Year Layla Roberts. We would imagine that Brady enjoyed his time on the field and off of it.
Even though the Patriots had a dip in production in ’02, that didn’t stop Brady from living his best life as the new starting quarterback. After he and Roberts called it off, number 12 went for Tara Reid.
You may remember her (left) from the hit movie, American Pie. If this meant anything, it was just forecasting Brady’s future with women. Just like on the field, he always made a splash with the ladies he decided to date.
Remaining a Star
The Patriots had a huge Super Bowl hangover going 9-7 and missing the playoffs in ’02. However, Brady stepped up to prove that ’01 wasn’t just a fluke. It didn’t take long for New England to become a juggernaut.
The Patriots recorded a 14-2 season and walked right through the playoffs and into Super Bowl XXXVII. It was a close game but thanks to a game-winning field goal, Brady and the Pats went home victorious. In just three years, Brady accumulated two championships and two Super Bowl MVPs.
When 2004 came around, even the most dedicated Brady bashers had to submit to his greatness. He led the Patriots to another 14-2 record and Super Bowl appearance, making light work of the AFC competition.
On the other side, the Philadelphia Eagles had come to the big game with their own weapons. The thing they didn’t have was Tom Brady as their quarterback. Winning a third Super Bowl in four years cemented the Pats as a dynasty and Brady as their king.
When you’re a king, it’s almost mandatory to have a strong queen by your side. Brady found that in model and actress Bridget Moynahan. Brady was making his name bigger and bigger and Moynahan had just started making herself appeal to the masses with her biggest role yet in I, Robot.
These two were for sure a power couple that transcended celebrity genres. They dated for three years while many looked on with envy. However, no matter how high Brady’s success had taken him, he still remained true to his roots.
Showing He’s More Than One Dimensional
Yes, Tom Brady is a beast on the football field and he proved that early on in his career. Yes, he can get any model that he so desires, but was that all he had to offer? No, it wasn’t.
Brady began to show he was multifaceted through entertainment. He hosted SNL and also voiced himself on Family Guy and The Simpsons. It was quite the run for Brady, as the Family Guy episode is one of the most memorable from the earlier episodes.
After three years of dating Moynahan, Brady and she called it quits in 2006. That end would only open up a new beginning with an even bigger model soon after. A friend of Brady’s set him up with a supermodel from Brazil. You might have heard of Gisele Bundchen.
Bundchen previously dated other huge stars such as Leonardo DiCaprio and pro surfer Kelly Slater. The NFL star and Victoria’s Secret model turned their blind date into everlasting love.
That Was Unexpected…
The future was looking bright for the model and quarterback, the new power couple until something came up. In February 2007, ex-girlfriend Bridget Moynahan announced she was three months pregnant. Did that news spell trouble in paradise?
The news caught both Brady and Bundchen by surprise. Brady didn’t know until right before his ex made the news public. The shocking news presented a hurdle in the new found relationship, but the three came together to co-parent John Jack Edward Thomas Moynahan after he was born in August 2007.
Knocking On Perfect’s Door
Come 2007, Tom Brady had become something no one would have ever imagined in such a short period of time. He officially became known as Touchdown Tom after he threw a ridiculous 50 touchdowns passing Peyton Manning’s then-record of 49.
What was even more special is that the Patriots went on to have a perfect 16-0 season. Brady led his team to the Super Bowl again, hoping to complete perfection against the New York Giants. Sadly, one famous helmet catch brought that dream to an end.
The Master Student
Brady doesn’t just set the tone for his players, but for the coaching staff as well. His attention to detail and wanting to be ahead of the competition always forces the coaches to be on their A-game as well.
Former Patriots quarterbacks coach Bill O’Brien said, “One of the most difficult jobs you can have is coaching Tom because he wants to be coached. You coach him every single day, every minute of the day, and all year round because he’s all football.”
His Difficult Relationship With Bill Belichick
Brady and Patriots coach and general manager, Bill Belichick, have a long and unique coaching relationship. Belichick is credited with being the one who saw the potential in Brady when the Pats drafted him. Their work together has created a football dynasty so all should be well between the two, right?
Well, in 2018 it was reported that the relationship was tense. After nearly two decades together ESPN reported that different coaching styles, beliefs, and two “ruthless and proud self-made men” are simply butting heads about the future of the Patriots. While the Pats claimed none of it to be true, the 2019 season following the alleged feud was the first time since 2011 that Brady didn’t reach the AFC Championship.
Taking a Hit
Tom Brady had left fans mesmerized with his near-perfect season. He won his first NFL MVP thanks to his heroics and had it not been for the shocking defeat in the Super Bowl, it might have been one of the greatest seasons a player could have had.
As Brady geared up for revenge, things went horribly wrong again. In the season opener against the Kansas City Chiefs, Brady took a low hit and suffered a torn ACL and MCL.
Tom’s Brady Bunch
Since Tom Brady’s shot at redemption had come up short, he had some extra time on his hands with the injury. That meant more bonding with Gisele and the two decided to take their relationship to the next level.
On February 26, 2009, the two stars got married in Santa Monica, California. The wedding took place in public, but only 20 guests were on hand. After the California wedding, they decided to do a second exclusive ceremony in Costa Rica.
The Comeback Kid
Due to the tears in his knee, Brady had to wait a little longer before trying to redeem his almost perfect season. Once he made a full recovery, it was like Brady hadn’t missed a step.
Brady’s return was stellar. He was already in top form and earned Pro Bowl honors again. He also managed to win the 2009 Comeback Player of the Year award. He was just that sensational. However, he had a great moment to cap off the great year.
Say Hello To Benjamin!
What do you think could have made 2009 any better for Tom Brady? He had already married one of the most beautiful women in the world, he came back from injury and won more awards, so what was left for the star quarterback?
Well, Brady welcomed another Brady into the family! In December 2009, Benjamin Rein Brady entered the world. They decided to give birth to him at their home. Gisele had a water birth and claimed that it didn’t even hurt.
Switching Things Up
After Tom Brady had proven that he was still the man post-surgery, he also showed that his brand was top of the line and ready to go even higher. In 2010, Brady switched sides on Nike, bringing in a new era of endorsements.
Brady left Nike for Under Armour, which had been rapidly growing since 1996. It’s safe to say Brady was their biggest name yet and really helped the company out in a major way. Instead of taking cash from the company, Brady invested and took stock instead. We’d say the switch was well worth it.
Brady earned millions from the Under Armour stock, but his next sponsorship turned him into a fashion icon. His wife might have him beat in that category, but the campaign he did one month after signing with Under Armour is still iconic.
We’re talking about the legendary UGG campaign. It was probably one of the boldest moves of his career at the time, but Brady ignored the haters and stepped right into becoming one of the biggest ambassadors ever.
Count It Up For Tom
Due to Brady winning three Super Bowls, he could get away with a lot. After an incredible 2010 season and his second MVP selection, number 12 could easily wear UGG’s without being ridiculed. The comeback season was over and Brady needed to get back on top.
For Brady, that was easy. He was sensational all year long while throwing 36 touchdowns to only four interceptions. This was enough to nab him his second MVP as he kept collecting awards.
A Giant Fiasco
Do you know how hard it is to surpass an MVP season the following year? Brady made it look like clockwork, passing for over 5,000 yards for the first time ever. It looked like another fairytale ending was in the works as they matched up with the Giants again in the Super Bowl.
The Patriots led with four minutes left in the game. After Wes Welker dropped a wide open pass, it led to the Giants scoring in the final minute of the game and winning. This would mark the second time they faced defeat against New York’s team.
Make That Three!
In December of 2012, Tom Brady and wife Gisele would welcome another member into their loving family. Little Vivian Lake Brady came into the world, which made it Brady’s first daughter to get added to the Brady Bunch.
It looks like Gisele and Brady have a knack for bringing about kids in December. Benjamin came in December of 2009 while Vivian was born in December of 2012. Maybe they didn’t want to miss out on the NFL playoffs.
Tom Brady’s kids must love him. Both his sons were born in December, just before the playoffs were supposed to begin. In 2012, Brady’s daughter was born, and can you guess what month it happened in?
If you guessed December, you’d be correct. That’s how we know Tom Brady’s kids love him, they all “made sure” to be born before January, making sure not to mess up his playoff rhythm. Now you know the secret to winning six rings!
Malcolm Butler Saves The Day
In 2014. Tom Brady faced off against the Seattle Seahawks and the “Legion of Boom” in the Super Bowl. He was trying to win his fifth ring, and would have to beat one of the best defenses in NFL history to do it.
Luckily, he had Malcolm Butler on his side. With seconds remaining and the Seahawks on the goal line, Russell Wilson dropped back threw an interception to Butler. The play was criticized heavily after for not being run, but hindsight is 20/20. And Malcolm Butler is Tom Brady’s best friend.
A Tale Of Air Pressure
After everything Tom Brady had been through in his career, perhaps nothing was more devastating than “Deflategate.” In 2015, a 243 page report was published detailing how Brady would have footballs deflated before games to give him a competitive advantage.
The NFL handed him a four game suspension, which he fought for the entire season. In 2016, Brady finally relented, sitting out for the first four games while still denying any wrong doing. The scandal will forever be a black mark on an otherwise stellar resume.
Branding A Legend
While battling “Deflategate” in 2015, Tom Brady kept himself distracted with a new business venture; himself. He began developing his TB12 lifestyle brand, which officially launched in January 2016. The first items TB12 sold were health equipment and merchandise.
One year later, Brady published the book The TB12 Method: How To Achieve a Lifetime of Sustained Peak Performance. The book became an instant hit, landing at the top of Amazon’s sales list in two days.
Man On A Mission
At 39-years-old and coming off a four game suspension, Tom Brady was a man on a mission to prove his doubters wrong. He went 11-1 in his 12 games, and steamrolled his way through the playoffs to reach the Super Bowl yet again.
Facing the Falcons, the Patriots came out of the gates in a slumber. By halftime, Matt Ryan’s team had a 28-3 lead. The game looked over. Then Brady turned on his clutch gene and engineered the greatest comeback in Super Bowl history, winning his record fifth ring.
His Own Show
In 2017, Tom Brady again made an effort to improve his brand, debuting the show Tom Vs. Time on Facebook. The program took an in depth look at the QB’s preparation and lifestyle, showing how dedicated he is to his family, health, and football.
During the season, Brady led the Patriots to a 13-3 record and a second straight Super Bowl appearance. This time he would face the Philadelphia Eagles, who were starting back up quarterback Nick Foles.
Super Bowl Surprise
Most analysts believed that the Patriots would steam roll the Nick Foles led Eagles. They were all shocked when Foles battled Brady throw for throw, ultimately claiming victory in one of the most entertaining and surprising Super Bowls of all time.
The big play came when Foles went out wide, and caught a pass from his tight end in the end zone. The “Philly Special” was similar to a play the Patriots had tried earlier, except Brady dropped the ball.
New Season, New Story
As Tom Brady entered the 2018 season, a number of questions about his age arose. Now in his 40’s, it seemed like everyone outside of Boston was expecting him to be terrible. And he almost was.
Still, Brady played well enough to get the Patriots into the Playoffs, where they easily took down the competition. By reaching the Super Bowl for a third straight year, Brady did something very few quarterbacks had done before him. The only one we can think of is Jim Kelly.
New School Approach
In the Super Bowl, the Patriots faced off against the Los Angeles Rams, led by new school head coach Sean McVay. The 32-year-old wunderkind coached his offense to play fast, disguise plays, and not be afraid to go for it all on first down.
The Patriots, in contrast, played a more old-school style of football. Brady handed the ball off a lot. The question quickly became, would the run heavy Patriots be able to keep up with the high flying Rams?
A Surprising Win
As the Super Bowl began, one thing became clear, the Patriots defense wasn’t going to let the Rams offense make them look silly. They harassed Jared Goff, forcing him to make bad throw after bad throw.
All Tom Brady needed to do was engineer one touchdown drive, which he did near the end of the game. The Patriots won 13-3, becoming the first team to hold the Rams to less than 10 points in a game.
Testing His Legacy
Throughout the 2019 NFL season there were rumors that impending free agent Tom Brady didn’t want to return to New England. As 2020 league year officially started, Brady announced his departure from the Patriots.
Just a few short hours after that, it was announced Brady was signing with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for $30 million a season. The new environment will be Brady’s first outside of New England without the only coach he’s ever known. This will finally be his chance to prove he’s not a “system quarterback.”
Bringing Old Friends Along For The Ride
After signing his deal with Tampa Bay, Tom Brady went to work making sure he had a few familiar faces with him, most importantly Rob Gronkowski. The retired tight end had previously said he would only play football with Brady, and retired when it appeared that wouldn’t be an option.
With the call made, Gronk came out of retirement and New England traded him to Tampa Bay, reuniting the record-setting duo.
Mission Accomplished – A Seventh Ring
Re-energized in a new city and playing for a team loaded with talent, Tom Brady played like a 23-year-old in his first season in Tampa Bay, leading the team to the Super Bowl to face off against Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs.
The old versus young showdown was more of a letdown for fans, as Tom Brady and the Bucs dominated Kansas City, easily winning. For Brady, it was his seventh Super Bowl win, extending his record.
Not Ready To Retired
It would have been easy for Tom Brady to retired after winning the Super Bowl in his first season with Tampa Bay and proving he wasn’t a “system quarterback.” The legend made a commitment to the Bucs for two years, though, and wasn’t about to let them down.
Will an 8th Super Bowl ring be in the cards for Tommy Terrific?