Brady graduated from Junipero Serra High School, the same school that produced baseball slugger Barry Bonds and NFL Hall of Famer Lynn Swann. He played college football for the University of Michigan, starting every game in the 1998 and 1999 seasons. The Wolverines won 20 of 25 games when Brady started and shared the Big Ten Conference title in 1998. In the 2000 NFL Draft, Brady was selected by the New England Patriots in the 6th round (199th overall).
Initially, Brady served as the backup to the starting quaterback, Drew Bledsoe. This changed on September 23, 2001, when the Patriots were playing against their AFC East division rivals, New York Jets at Foxboro Stadium. During that game, Drew Bledsoe suffered internal bleeding after colliding with Jets linebacker Mo Lewis. New England not only lost the game but Bledsoe, too. Soon after Brady was named the starting quarterback, he led the Patriots to an 11-5 record and into the playoffs.
During a 2001-2002 divisional playoff game against the Oakland Raiders (played in January 2002), Tom Brady had been ruled as having fumbled on a pass attempt, with Oakland protecting a three-point lead. Citing the controversial "tuck rule," where a ball is ruled an incomplete pass after the quarterback starts any forward throwing motion, referee Walt Coleman overturned the decision after reviewing the instant replay, calling the drop an incomplete pass rather than a fumble. The Patriots would eventually tie the game and go on to win it in overtime. After defeating the Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC Championship Game, the Patriots were considered 14-point underdogs against the NFC champion St. Louis Rams in Super Bowl XXXVI.
With less than two minutes left in the Super Bowl, and the score tied, sportscaster John Madden famously said that he thought that the Patriots should let the time run out on the clock and look to win the game in overtime. Instead, Brady led the Patriots offense on an offensive passing barrage, driving down the field and winning the game by an Adam Vinatieri field goal as time expired. The Patriots won the championship and Brady was named MVP of Super Bowl XXXVI.
Interestingly enough, this was the first year in which fans had a say in the vote for the Super Bowl MVP. By garnering 29.02% of the online vote, which was 0.28% ahead of the second-best total, Brady was awarded all 4 'fan votes.' These 4 votes were enough to push Brady's MVP vote total ahead of the official panel's choice, Patriot cornerback Ty Law, who had scored on a 48-yard interception touchdown return, and make Brady the second-youngest MVP ever, after Lynn Swann.
In the 2003-2004 NFL season, after a 2-2 start, Brady led the Patriots to 12 consecutive victories to finish the historic season and win the AFC East.
In the first two rounds of the playoffs, the Patriots shut down the NFL regular season co-MVPs, Tennessee's Steve McNair and Indianapolis's Peyton Manning. On February 1, 2004, Brady led the Patriots to a 32-29 victory over the surprising NFC champion Carolina Panthers in Super Bowl XXXVIII and was named Super Bowl MVP for the second time, setting the record for most completions by a QB in the Superbowl.
With 1:08 left in the fourth quarter and the score tied at 29, Brady engineered a clutch drive to put the Patriots in position for the game-winning field goal.
During the 2004-2005 season, Brady helped the Patriots set an NFL record with 21 straight wins dating from the previous year. New England's 14-2 record matched that of the 2003-04 season and equalled the best record ever for a defending champion. The Patriots also won the AFC East divisional title for the third time in four years. In the AFC playoffs, Brady led the Patriots to victories over the Indianapolis Colts and the Pittsburgh Steelers. Against Pittsburgh, Brady played admirably despite suffering from a high pre-game fever.
On February 6, 2005, the Brady-led Patriots won Super Bowl XXXIX for their third NFL championship in four years.
While Tom Brady's arm strength is modest and he is not a great runner, he compensates with his poise, leadership, and his ability to "read" opposing defenses and make quick decisions, particularly in clutch situations. Brady also has outstanding pocket presence, often shifting around the pocket to avoid pressure. The offensive system of the Patriots places a premium on the running backs setting up a methodical short-to-midrange passing game that includes many screen plays and minimizes the risk of interceptions.
There is considerable debate, both among casual football fans and sportswriters alike, as to whether Tom Brady is a truly great quarterback or merely an above average one that is made great by his teammates.
Brady's detractors have argued that he is a "system quarterback," and believe that many other quarterbacks could have enjoyed the same level of success had they been with the Patriots. However, Brady's defenders argue that he is an unflappable clutch player whose record speaks for itself. Under Tom Brady, the New England Patriots' regular season record is outstanding: 48-17, and they are undefeated (9-0) in the playoffs and a perfect (7-0) in overtime. It should be noted that Brady is a notoriously accurate touch passer, even under pressure. He has been known to throw "perfect" passes during the most intense physical and strategic situations. He has led the most (20) game-winning scoring drives in the 4th quarter or overtime in the NFL since he became a starter. While not known for his outstanding statistics, Brady is seventh all-time in passer rating, posting an 88.1 career mark through week 8 of the 2005-2006 season. Brady also led the NFL in touchdown passes in 2002-2003 with 28.
Tom Brady's background as a collegian not highly ranked by NFL scouts attaining superstardom (and, some would argue, near mythic status on par with other Boston sports legends as Larry Bird, Bobby Orr, and Ted Williams,) is somewhat reminiscent of Joe Montana's career, but they are also quick to point out that Tom Brady has only played professionally since 2000 and, barring serious injury, has at least a decade left in his career.
The effects of the departure of offensive coordinator Charlie Weis, who became head coach of Notre Dame in 2005, remains to be seen. Through the Patriots first seven games in the 2005-2006 season, however, Brady is only 17 passing yards behind the league leader, Carson Palmer. He is also on pace to throw 4,617 yards this season, which would be a franchise record and tenth all-time.
- 15,945 passing yards
- 106 passing touchdowns
- 56 interceptions
- 61-17 record as a starter
- 7-0 in overtime games
- 10-0 in the postseason
- 1951 postseason passing yards (216.7 ypg)
- 11 postseason touchdowns
- 3 postseason interceptions
- 101.3 passing attempts per INT in the postseason
- 2 Pro Bowls
- 2 Super Bowl MVP awards
- 3 Super Bowl rings
- most completions in a Super Bowl (32 in Super Bowl XXXVIII
On January 26, 2004, Tom Brady attended the annual State of the Union Address as a guest of President George W. Bush. Brady declined to discuss his political views with the media. According to The Smoking Gun as of 2004, Tom Brady is a registered voter, but has not voted in any political election so far. It is widely rumored that Brady has a bright potential as a future political candidate, should he decide to pursue such option in the future.
- The Tom Brady Fanlisting
- New England Patriots' Official Website
- Absolute Brady: Tom Brady fan site
- The Brady Bunch
- Tom Brady Statistics
- ESPN.com Tom Brady Profile
- The Smoking Gun's Super Bowl QB Tom Brady's No Patriot
- St. Petersburg Times article on Brady's first Super Bowl MVP
- Serra High School website