Tom Brady is clearly one of the greatest to play the sport of football. He's been referred to as the greatest quarterback of all time, and even people who aren't his biggest fans have to agree. One thing he isn't the best at is speaking to the media. We hardly hear what Brady thinks about topics outside of football. That changed in one of his more revealing interviews, though, when someone brought up the national anthem controversies. His response was great.
Were Brady And Belichick Feuding?
Before the really controversial question was asked, reporters started with a less concerning matter. Were Tom Brady and Bill Belichick ever in a feud or even feuding at the current time?
"Um… no," Brady said after pausing when asked if something is going on between him and Belichick. “I mean, I love him. I love that he's an incredible coach and mentor for me. He’s pushed me in a lot of ways. Like everything, we don’t agree on absolutely everything. But that’s relationships.”
Tom vs. Time
A lot of smoke came from the comments Tom Brady made in an installment of Tom Vs. Time. Out of that segment came a moment where Brady asked himself a simple question.
"What are we doing this for?" Brady said. He continued to elaborate on that statement, saying that you need to be able to have an answer to the question of whether to keep playing. Those remarks led to dozens on dozens wondering if Brady's final year was upon us.
New Anthem Rules
You might remember when the NFL implemented its new rule regarding the National Anthem. Every NFL team owner unanimously agreed that players would have to stand during the National Anthem if they were on the field. The players could each choose to remain in the locker room if they like.
If anyone on the field were to violate this policy by kneeling or sitting, the team itself would be subjected to a fine. Then the team would have the option to fine any of the players or personnel involved.
Challenging The Policy
It only took two weeks for the NFL Players Association to file a grievance that challenged the new policy. To have control over how the players act during the National Anthem seemed a little unfair to the players, so they wanted to do something about it.
"This new policy, imposed by the NFL's governing body without consultation with the NFLPA, is inconsistent with the collective bargaining agreement and infringes on player rights," the Players Association said. They said the new policy gave the NFL power to indirectly punish protesting players.
A Severe Consequence
The Miami Dolphins were on a complete power trip after the NFL announced the new rule. They said they would give a four-game suspension to anybody who went against the policy. The season is only 16 games, so that's a fourth of their playing gone.
People criticized this move tremendously. There were times when players broke the NFL's domestic violence policy and received much less of a punishment. This made the NFL look very hypocritical.
The most significant change to the National Anthem policy was that there would no longer be a policy in place, for now. The NFLPA and NFL announced that they were working endlessly to come up with a solution to this massive issue they had on their hands.
There would be no new rules surrounding the anthem issued or enforced until an agreement between the NFLPA and NFL was made. All of this was fantastic news for the players protesting.
When reporters asked Tom Brady about his thoughts on the situation, he gave a well-calculated answer. It was almost like he wanted to stay neutral on the topic because he knew players and people who supported both sides of the argument.
Brady said the controversy called for "a lot of good healthy conversations … in our locker room. We had meetings after practice talking about how we wanted to deal with that particular situation."
Everyone Comes From A Different Place
Tom Brady might not be the most well-liked player in the league, but his response to the kneeling situation was a very noble one. It showed that he doesn't entirely only care about his own ego and that he pays attention to important issues.
"I've been playing sports long enough [to know] everyone comes from something different, and I think showing respect for everybody, in a locker room, with a team of guys trying to go in the same direction — you better have that empathy for everybody. They can do things for their reason, and you have respect for that. But, I thought it was great." Brady said.
For Human Rights
For those who are old enough or are well informed in sports history, 1968 was the year we first really saw athletes "turn their backs" on the National Anthem. When Tommie Smith and John Carlos won gold and bronze at the Olympics, they took a stand.
During the medal ceremony, Smith and Carlos made a statement by placing their fists in the air. Many thought it was a "Black Power" move, but Smith later confirmed in his autobiography it was about human rights.
Turning Their Backs
A few years later, Vince Matthews and Wayne Collett won gold and silver in the 400m race. When the National Anthem began to play, both performed one of the most casual protests ever., with their jackets unzipped, backs turned, and their hands were on their hips while talking to one another.
After the singing ended, Collett put his fist in the air. He was asked about it later, and he said he couldn't honor the anthem because he didn't believe the words in the song. Both men ended up banned from future Olympics.
Refusing To Stand
In the 1995-96 NBA season, Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf, a player for the Denver Nuggets, chose not to stand for any National Anthem. He thought that the flag symbolized oppression and America's history of tyranny wasn't anything he was going to support.
The NBA suspended him, and it would cost him more than $30k per game. They eventually made an agreement to where Mahmoud would stand but was able to look down with his eyes closed (as seen in the picture).
A Viral Photo...
On August 26, 2016, a reporter for the 49ers, Jennifer Lee Chan, tweeted a photo of the Packers and 49ers while the National Anthem was going on. Something she didn't notice was Colin Kaepernick sitting down behind everyone else.
She only referenced in a joking manner that the coach of the 49ers wouldn't approve of the formation. The picture would soon go viral once people started noticing that Kaepernick was sitting in full uniform during the song.
It makes sense why no one could see Kaepernick sitting down. The picture was from overhead and captured the whole field so it would be hard to spot out the one person having a seat during the anthem. After you blow up the photo, however, there he is.
Kaepernick protested two games before the third preseason game. In those games, he wasn't playing so he wasn't entirely suited up. When he had on full pads this game, it made it easier to spot the sitting player.
Speaking Up About His Protests
"I'm going to continue to stand with the people that are being oppressed," Kaepernick said. "To me, this is something that has to change. When there’s significant change, and I feel that flag represents what it’s supposed to represent, and this country is representing people the way that it’s supposed to, I’ll stand."
That was the response Kaepernick had for reporters on August 28, 2016. It was like he was channeling his inner Tommie Smith and other legendary Olympians who stood for what they believed was just.
Taking A Knee
A few days later, Kaepernick took his protesting up a level. September 1 marked the day he began kneeling instead of sitting. He wanted people to know he wasn't anti-military and wasn't protesting to disrespect any troops.
This was also the first time another person decided to join him in his actions. Teammate Eric Reid stepped up to the plate to show support to his quarterback. Once the game ended, Kaepernick pledged to donate $1 million to charities that tried to fix racial issues.
More Teams Got Involved
That same day, Seattle Seahawks player Jeremy Lane chose to sit down during the anthem as well. He was the first non-49er player to do so. Kaepernick was already making an impact on the league, and everyone was slowly taking notice.
Lane's actions came moments after Kaepernick and Reid knelt. His response to why he did it was a simple one. He said that he was sticking up for Kaepernick and would continue to do so until he felt justice was served.
Support From The Soccer World
Three days after the Seattle player did what he did, Megan Rapinoe of the Seattle Reign made headlines after she knelt during the National Anthem. She was the first non-NFL player to join the cause. And what made it even more interesting was that she wasn't heterosexual.
When Rapinoe got asked about it, she said as a non-straight American, she knew how it felt to see a flag that didn't protect all of her liberties. She also said it was imperative for Caucasians to support the causes of people of color.
The Trend Starts Spreading
As the news spread over what these players were doing, more and more started to get involved. On September 9th, Brandon Marshall from the Denver Broncos joined the hype as well during the first game of the season. He played college football with Kaepernick during their time at the University of Nevada.
"I'm not against the military," Marshall stated. "I’m not against the police or America, I’m against social injustice." As a result of his actions, he lost sponsorships with two different companies in Colorado.
A More Significant Anthem
September 11 came around, and it was the first NFL Sunday of the 2016 season. By the date, you already know it was an important day already. This was the 15th anniversary of the attacks in New York, so the National Anthem meant a little more that day.
Still, four players elected to take a knee during the anthem. Arian Foster, Michael Thomas, Kenny Stills, and Jelani Jenkins knelt for the song. This was sure to cause some sort of outrage...
More And More Getting Involved
The September 11 events didn't end there, however. That day also saw two teams have their players link arms during the song. As more and more started to get involved, it spread like wildfire. Kaepernick had started an epidemic.
Players from the Kansas City Chiefs and Seattle Seahawks linked arms with Marcus Peters of the Chiefs stood at the end of the line and put his fist in the air. He proclaimed that he was aligned with Kaepernick's effort to raise awareness.
Patriot Players Get Involved
We've gone over how Tom Brady felt about this whole ordeal. He's supportive of the cause, even if it means his teammates are involved. Before Sunday Night Football, his teammates Martellus Bennett, and Devin McCourty raised their fists during the anthem.
The San Francisco 49ers weren't scheduled to play that day and had the Monday Night Football slate. Things would have been more interesting if Kaepernick had played that day, but he still had more to prove...
Kaepernick Rubs Off On Opponents
That Monday night, the 49ers played the St. Louis Rams, and all eyes were on the player in red. In an exciting turn of events, players from the Rams elected to show their support on live TV during Monday Night Football. While Kaepernick and Eric Reid were kneeling, two of their teammates stood behind them with their fists raised.
On the other side of the field, you had a few players doing their part as well. Robert Quinn and Kenny Britt both had their fists in the air also. The movement was slowly gaining traction...
There Was No Stopping Them
A week later, Kaepernick was still up to his tricks even though he had received numerous threats. The general public wasn't very pleased with his antics as he would get a ton of hate messages all over social media. His sponsorships were dwindling down also.
All the while, Arian Foster, Michael Thomas and Kenny Stills of the Miami Dolphins still supported the cause as they knelt before their game against the New England Patriots. What could happen next?
The Eagles Fly In On The Action
If you've been keeping up with the trend, more and more players on different teams were hopping on the protesting bandwagon with Kaepernick. It was a controversial decision, but players knew what they were getting into when they showed their support.
At this junction, fines were the most significant penalties and losing sponsorships, but the money could come back. Doing what was right was more important to players. Philadelphia Eagles' Malcolm Jenkins, Steven Means, Ron Brooks, and Marcus Smith all raised their fists during the anthem on September 19.
Drew Brees Made A Mistake
In 2020, Drew Brees was asked about social inequality in society, and instead of answering the question, he addressed Kaepernick kneeling in 2016. Brees discussed how he could never kneel for the anthem.
Teammates ripped into Brees for his complete misunderstanding of the issue. Brees then released a statement apologizing and promising to talk to his teammates and learn their personal stories. At the start of training camp, Brees was then photographed with the name "Jacob Blake" taped to his helmet."
Brady Stepped Out Of The Shadows In 2020
Four years after Colin Kaepernick began kneeling for the National Anthem and Tom Brady was asked how he felt, a different kind of quarterback showed up. After the tragedy in Minnesota involving an African American man and police, the Buccaneers QB stepped out of the shadows.
Brady participated in "Blackout Tuesday," a social media event where every user replaced their images with black boxes. The move surprised Brady's nearly eight million Instagram followers, with some showing support for their QB and others disgust.
Marshawn Lynch Speaks Up
If you're a football fan then you are aware of Marshawn Lynch's history of being outspoken. And when he doesn't feel like talking, he just doesn't or tells you what you want to hear. When it came to the kneeling debacle, he had a perfect response.
"I just hope people open up their eyes to see there's really a problem going on, and something needs to be done for it to stop," Lynch said. He also added that he'd rather see Kaepernick "take a knee than stand up, put his hands up," and end up with something tragic happening.
NBA's Iman Shumpert Speaks His Piece
NBA champion and Sacramento King's guard, Iman Shumpert inserted himself into the kneeling dilemma. A day after Lynch's remarks, Shumpert took to Twitter and mentioned Kaepernick.
He posted a photo of his then-newborn baby, Tayla, and vowed to donate money for every steal he got in games. He wanted the money to go to organizations that focused on bettering the relationships between the cops and the communities they're in. He had support for Kaepernick but said he would not be kneeling because he thought that wasn't the answer.
Here Comes The WNBA
Now it seemed like the whole sporting universe was taking part in the noble cause. Not just the football or soccer players, two of the biggest sports in the world, but also the WNBA got involved in this journey. The Indiana Fever chose to show their support before their first playoff game.
The players locked arms and took a knee during the anthem. It was a powerful scene and show of support. Their coach, Stephanie White, expressed that she was more than proud of her players for sticking together.
The Texans Get Involved
With Houston already being a blue city in a red state, this move by their players was bold. On the day Time announced Kaepernick was to be on the cover of Time, Houston Texans' players did their best kneel job.
While it was going on, high-profile player Duane Brown decided to raise his fist like many others before him. He wasn't even suited up to play due to injury, but he still wanted to show his support to Kaepernick.
The NBA's Turn
On October 4, during the first preseason game of the year, NBA players elected to join the movement. Players from the Houston Rockets and New York Knicks stood together while they joined arms during the anthem.
The Boston Celtics also played a part in this. They chose to hold hands with their heads down. They were inspired by the 1961 Boston Celtics team who did the same while protesting the racial tension during their time.
The First Person Who Wasn't Of Color To Kneel
More than a year had passed since Kaepernick first protested when the Cleveland Browns made the spotlight hover over them. Tight end Seth Devalve knelt with a few other of his teammates during the anthem. What was so special about this one?
Devalve was the first Caucasian player in the NFL to kneel during the National Anthem. Another Caucasian player, Britton Colquitt, chose to show his support when he placed his hand on the players who were kneeling. As we know, the movement has continued to gain steam over the years.
He Played In His First Super Bowl In 2002
Tom Brady was just 24-years-old in 2002 when he made his first Super Bowl appearance. Standing under center for the New England Patriots, Brady beat the St. Louis Rams 20-17 and became the youngest QB in NFL history to win a Super Bowl.
No one could have predicted at the time that Brady would still be playing at 43-years-old while chasing after a seventh ring. This, after all, was just the beginning of one of the most storied careers in NFL history.
He Has A Losing Record When Facing The Broncos
Against every team in the NFL except for one, Tom Brady has a winning record (including postseason). That team is the Denver Broncos. During the regular season, Brady has beaten Denver eight times while losing to them six times.
The postseason is where the record flips. Brady has faced Denver in the playoffs four times and has only won once, giving him an overall record of 8-9 against the Broncos.
He's Played In Super Bowls During Four Presidential Administrations
From 2002 through 2021, nothing shows how incredible the longevity of Tom Brady's career is then this fact - he has played in Super Bowl during four different presidential administrations, starting with George W. Bush.
Brady played four Super Bowls during the Bush administration. He then played in his fifth and sixth during the Obama years, three more during the Trump years, and now he is playing in his tenth less than one month into the Biden administration.
The Seahawks Played In The AFC When Brady Was Drafted
When Tom Brady was drafted in 2000, the NFL looked a lot different than it does today. Not only were there 31 teams spread across six divisions, but the Seattle Seahawks played in the AFC.
Considering the rivalry between the 49ers and Seahawks in the last decade, it's hard to believe there was a time when these two teams weren't divisional rivals. Seattle moved to the NFC West in 2002 when the NFL realigned the entire league.
26 Franchises Have Appeared In Less Conference Championship Games Than Tom Brady
Not only has Tom Brady played in 10 Super Bowls, but he has also started 14 conference championship games. That number is more than the total of 26 NFL franchises. The only team to play in more are the Steelers, Cowboys, Patriots, and 49ers.
Two teams are tied with Brady - the Packers and Raiders. And his Super Bowl appearances beat every team except the Patriots, mostly because he played for the franchise for so long.
Brady Has Beaten 27 Different QBs In The Playoffs
Playing in the NFL for over two decades and reaching the playoffs as much as Tom Brady has meant that he has beaten a lot of other QBs. In total, Brady has stood victorious over 27 different signal-callers in the postseason.
Some of the more notable QBs Brady has beaten are Peyton Manning (twice), Ben Roethlisberger (twice), Philip Rivers (three times), Russell Wilson, and Patrick Mahomes. Will he add to that list before he retires?
He Was A Seventh String QB In College
Coming out of high school, Tom Brady was overlooked by just about every major program. He ended up going to Michigan, where as a freshman he was the team's seventh string QB! Eventually, Brady started, but not before he learned under both Brian Griese and Drew Henson.
With his path to the NFL on thin ice in college, Brady had to plan for a different future. Luckily that didn't happen, and instead, Brady was able to reach his full potential.
198 Players Were Selected Before Him In The Draft
Entering the NFL, Tom Brady was not a highly-touted prospect. He was taken in the sixth round by the New England Patriots with the 199th overall pick. There were six QBs taken before him, a group now referred to as the "Brady Six."
These six quarterbacks started a combined 191 games and threw 258 touchdown passes. Brady has won over 260 games and thrown more than 650 touchdown passes. Not bad for the former seventh stringer.
Brady Is The Second Highest-Paid Player In NFL History
Over the course of his career, Tom Brady has left a lot of money "on the table." He was known in New England for signing contracts that were under market value so the team could sign other big-ticket free agents.
That doesn't mean Brady hasn't made bank, though. As of 2021, he had earned $263 million, a staggering number that makes him the second-highest paid player in NFL history. The highest-paid of all-time is Drew Brees, who has made $269 million.
Brady Has Started Twice As Many Super Bowls As Any Other QB
Tom Brady has been the starting QB in ten Super Bowls. In 21 seasons, he has spent nearly half of his career leading his team to the promised land. In NFL history, no other starting QB has ever been to five Super Bowls.
John Elway led the Broncos to five appearances, winning two. Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers, Peyton Manning, and Ben Roethlisberger have only combined to start nine Super Bowls. There's a reason Brady is considered the G.O.A.T.
Brady Has Made The Super Bowl In More Than Half The Seasons He Was The Starting QB
While Tom Brady's career has spanned 21 seasons, he has only been a starting QB in 19 of them. In his rookie season, he sat behind Drew Bledsoe. It was during his sophomore season he took over for an injured Bledsoe and altered the course of New England Patriots history.
Then, in 2008, Brady tore his ACL. With Matt Cassel under center, the Patriots went 11-5 and somehow missed the playoffs. They would return to the postseason in 2009 with Brady healthy again.
Brady's Wife Really Brings Home The Bacon
Tom Brady is a very wealthy man but compared to his supermodel wife he's nothing impressive. Giselle is one of the world's highest-paid models and will make more than $1 billion when she retires.
At her highest point, Giselle spent 10 straight years as the world's highest-paid supermodel. In 2020, Kendall Jenner moved into the top spot with yearly earnings of over $22 million, more than double what Giselle earned that same year.
Brady Enjoys Avocado Ice Cream As A Treat
Part of the reason for Brady's career longevity is that he treats his body like a temple. According to his famous "TB12 Method," Brady sticks to a very strict diet that avoids sugar, dairy, and tomatoes.
When Brady wants to spoil himself, he eats avocado ice cream as a sweet treat. His personal chef also helps him keep his diet, which consists of 80 percent vegetables, on track. In 2017, Brady released the book "The TB12 Method" which revealed his lifestyle to his fans.
Brady Fell Asleep Before His First Super Bowl
Preparing to play in the Super Bowl should be one of the most exciting and nerve-wracking experiences for an athlete. Unless your name is Tom Brady, that is. Before playing in his first Super Bowl, the future Hall of Famer fell asleep at his locker.
As Brady remembers, the waiting period before the start of the game was elongated because of all the pomp and circumstance. He decided to take off his shoulder pads and lay down, "I wasn't intending to sleep, but I think I dozed off for 20 or 30 minutes."
He Trains Using Resistance Bands
Instead of the traditional weight training that most athletes do, Tom Brady prefers resistance band training. This means that while he might not be putting on as much muscle as his teammates, he is becoming more flexible.
Brady believes that one of the keys to his longevity is this flexibility and pliability. He believes that peal performance is aided by long and soft muscles. Other athletes who have tried his training program have tended to get hurt more often, however.
He Once Broke A Ping Pong Paddle After Losing A Match
Tom Brady is hyper-competitive. To play at the level he's played at for 20 years it's a necessity. That fire in his belly also means that he is one of the world's sorest losers.
Danny Amendola, a former teammate, said Brady once broke a ping pong paddle out of anger when he lost a match to him. Another former teammate said Brady threw a backgammon board across a room after losing once.
One Publication Estimated Brady Gave Up $60 Million To Stay In New England
In March of 2020, Business Insider crunched the numbers on Tom Brady's career earning and found out just how much he should have made in 20 years in New England. Playing for the Patriots for 20 seasons earned Brady $235 when he should have made closer to $295 million.
As we noted earlier, Brady made the point to restructure his contract several times as a Patriot to free up cap space and keep the team competitive. It was only after his 20th season in New England Brady made the decision to become a free agent for the first time in his career, signing with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
No QB In League History Was More Productive In Their 30s
As most NFL QBs hit their 30s, they begin to regress. A player who would normally complete 67 percent of his passes suddenly only completes 63 percent. For Tom Brady, the opposite happened. No QB in league history has been more productive after turning 30-years-old.
During his 30s, Brady tossed 309 touchdowns. He is the only player to throw more than 300 TDs in their 30s. His 74 interceptions in the decade are also 47 fewer than anybody else who threw more than 200 touchdown passes in that same amount of time.
Brady Has Played In More Super Bowls Than The Bucs Have Postseason Wins
Since entering the NFL in 1976, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have only won nine postseason games. Since starting his career in 2000, Tom Brady has been to ten Super Bowls. As long as Brady stays in Tampa, the franchise should continue to prosper.
The last time the Bucs reached the top of the NFL mountain was during the 2001 season. QB Brian Griese threw a then franchise-record five touchdown passes. Brady now holds the franchise record with seven and counting.
Brady Used To Eat Ham And Cheese Subs With Onion Rings And Orange Soda
Brady might be a health nut at 43-years-old, but when he first started his career, he wasn't so strict. In 2000, it was reported that Brady regularly ate nachos before games. At the time he was a fourth-string QB.
The Boston Globe published an article in 2017 further delving into the diet of Brady. The newspaper wrote that before the TB12 Method, Brady would eat ham and cheese subs for lunch with onion rings and orange soda, later eating pizza for dinner.