Thomas Edward Patrick Brady Jr. (born August 3, 1977) is an American Football player. From 2001 to 2019, he was the starting quarterback for the New England Patriots, then moved to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2020. Brady is widely recognized as one of the greatest quarterbacks in NFL history, with many (even his critics and opponents) arguing that he is the greatest due to a resume of championships and career statistics that dwarf those of every other player who has played the position.note
After playing college football for the University of Michigan, Tom Brady was drafted by the Patriots in the sixth round of the 2000 NFL Draft. Brady rose from obscurity and became the starter after perennial Pro-Bowler Drew Bledsoe was injured in Week 2 of the 2001 season; he tallied an 11-3 record and won the Super Bowl that year. In Brady's 18 full seasons as a starter in New England (he missed nearly all of 2008 with a torn ACL), the Patriots earned nine trips to the Super Bowl and won six. Following this, Brady joined the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, a long-struggling team that held the worst franchise winning record in all North American professional sports, hadn't visited the playoffs in thirteen years, and hadn't won a playoff game since their Super Bowl victory the year after Brady's first title. In his first year with the franchise, the Buccaneers returned to the Super Bowl and soundly defeated the defending champion Chiefs as Brady won a record fifth Super Bowl MVP,note an accomplishment that cemented Brady's name with Michael Jordan, Muhammad Ali, Wayne Gretzky, and Babe Ruth as the greatest competitor in their respective sport. Brady is the only quarterback to lead his teams to at least seven Super Bowls (he's now led them to ten), holds the record for the most total Super Bowl touchdown passes, and is the first and only player to win six Super Bowls, let alone seven, which is more than any team has won in the history of the Big Game. He is only the second starting QB in history to win a title with two different teams (after longtime rival Peyton Manning won with the Indianapolis Colts and Denver Broncos) and the first and only one to do so in both conferences.
Obviously, in order to win that many championships, one has to pretty great in all of the games leading up to it, and Brady has plenty of regular season accolades as well. He has thrown more career touchdown passes and accrued more passing yards than any NFL quarterback, with the nearest active runner-ups being a fair distance behind him. He was named the NFL MVP in 2007 (when he became the first quarterback to throw for 50+ touchdowns in a season and led the team to a 16-0 regular season), 2010 (when he set an NFL record for consecutive passes without an interception, 358, and became the first player since 1986 to be unanimously chosen as MVP), and 2017 (when he became the oldest ever to win at age 40), as well as the 2007 Male Athlete of the Year by the Associated Press, the first NFL player to be so honored since 1990. He has been selected to fourteen Pro Bowls (tied with Manning) and won more division titles than any other QB in NFL history (17). He has likewise thrown for more passing yards and touchdowns than any QB in NFL postseason history, and his career postseason record is 37-11, a win total over twice the number of runner-up (and Brady's childhood idol) Joe Montana, the only other QB who has won multiple MVPs in both the regular season and Super Bowl. Brady helped set the record for both the longest consecutive win streak in NFL history (21 straight wins across 2003-04) and most consecutive playoff wins (10). Finally, he has the seventh highest career passer rating of all time (97.3) among quarterbacks with at least 1,500 career passing attempts. At 44 years old as of 2021, Brady is the oldest starting QB to win a game in the NFL, with no clear signs of slowing down, and will be the oldest ever if he plays into 2022.
Tom Brady has been a popular spokesman for several brands including Gillette, Dodge, Under Armour, Uggs, and Citizen watches. He has made guest appearances on Family Guy and Entourage. Additionally he had a cameo as himself in Ted 2, directed by Patriots Fan Seth MacFarlane and starring frequent Patriots owner's box guest Mark Wahlberg. He also had a small speaking role in Stuck on You with another Patriots megafan Matt Damon. He is also on the cover of Madden NFL 18, which even got a G.O.A.T. Edition inspired by him, and shared a cover with Patrick Mahomes (QB, Kansas City Chiefs) for Madden NFL 22.note He was in a relationship with Bridget Moynahan for two years, a union that produced a son. The two have remained Amicable Exes. He married Brazilian model Gisele Bündchen in 2009, and they have a daughter and a son.
Tropes related to his works:
- Achievements in Ignorance: In hindsight, he attributes a lot of his ability to stay cool under pressure in those first few Super Bowls to the fact that he'd played in his share of prestigious college bowl games, including a dramatic comeback win in the 2000 Orange Bowl, and saw the Super Bowls as merely a bigger version of that. It was only after 2004 that he started to realize how big of a gap there really was—not that it affected his ability to come through in the clutch.
- The Ageless: A key factor in Brady's success; at age 44 as of the 2021 season, he is the oldest person to win a game as a starting QB, and several of his teammates and opponents were in kindergarten when he won his first Super Bowl. While the quarterback position does not require the sheer athleticism of most other positions in football and other sports, allowing many other QBs to play well into their forties by focusing on their passing game, none have played at the MVP level that Brady has at that age. Brady's near-obsessive diet and exercise regimen have also kept him from appearing to age much at all (save for some flecks of gray in his hair).
- Always Someone Better: Brady is this to Ben Roethlisberger, who lost two AFC championship games to Brady's Patriots. He also counts against Peyton Manning, as while they have a roughly even win-loss record against each other in the playoffs, Brady has won seven Super Bowls (out of ten he made it to), while Manning has only won two of four.
- Arch-Enemy: To fans of many teams, but most of all the Buffalo Bills. The Bills were only able to beat him three times in thirty-five games, one of which being a meaningless end-of-season tilt where he rested at halftime. Interestingly, the Bills' win in the 2003 season opener was Brady's worst game as a pro.
- Ascended Fanboy: As a kid, he grew up a huge fan of Joe Montana and the San Francisco 49ers.
- Badass Boast: According to Patriots owner Robert Kraft, shortly after Brady was drafted by the team, he introduced himself to Kraft and told him that he, Brady, was "the best decision this organization has ever made."
- Blinding Bangs: At one point in the late 2000s, Brady tried growing his hair out in the long, swoopy style common at the time. This backfired once it got long enough, as the fringe up front started getting in his eyes mid-game, affecting his ability to see and prompting him to cut it short in frustration afterwards. Needless to say, when he tried growing it out again later, Tom remembered to keep it tucked behind his ears this time. A surefire cue that you're watching a highlight from his 2010 MVP season is that he has a mane of hair tucked under the helmet.
- Death by a Thousand Cuts: His mastery of the short-passing game lets him pick defenses apart piece-by-piece. This was one of his signature moves in the Patriots' second dynasty, and when he got to Tampa Bay, much was made about how long it took him to adapt to head coach Bruce Arians' offense, which is all about throwing the deep ball.
- Downer Ending: For Patriots fans, the fact that his very last pass as a Patriot was a pick-six.
- Friendly Rival: To Peyton Manning. For all the talk of who really was the better quarterback, Brady and Manning always spoke respectfully of each other and seemed to genuinely enjoy their match-ups. Following Manning's retirement, Brady made a guest appearance on Manning's ESPN Plus show, Peyton's Places, where they discussed their careers and matchups against each other while playing golf.
- Game-Breaking Injury: His knee injury in 2008, sustained early in the first game of the season, tore through his MCL and ACL and took him out of football for a year.
- He's Back!: In 2014, the Patriots' week 4 beat-down at the hands of the Kansas City Chiefs prompted serious discussion as to whether Brady would be traded, benched long term in favor of Jimmy Garoppolo, or retire, thus ending the Dynasty. This was at a time when their third championship and even the 16-0 season were distant memories, and recent playoff disappointments made the Foxborough faithful unsure whether another deep playoff run would ever come. As it turns out, the loss was a launching pad for not just Brady, but the whole team. He would win three more Super Bowls as a Patriot, an NFL MVP award in 2017 at age 40, and as a Buccaneer, won a Lombardi, his seventh, in his first season on the team.
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: His bond with tight end Rob Gronkowski is so strong that, when he went to the Buccaneers, he convinced Gronk to come out of retirement and join him there, by way of a trade. Notably, Gronk has caught more touchdown passes from Brady than any other player, and he was only in the league for the back half of Brady's career.
- Hot-Blooded: Brady gets incredibly fired up on the field, which manifests in a lot of screaming to hype himself and his teammates up.
- It's Personal: Being selected so late in the draft still bothers him. During interviews, when he is discussing that draft day and how it felt to sit with his family watching the TV and have round after round go by without being selected, his voice breaks, his eyes tear up, and it's difficult for him to talk about it. A huge motivator for him is the fact that every team he plays (except the Houston Texans, which didn't start play until his third season in 2002) is a team that passed on him multiple times and all six quarterbacks selected ahead of him never won a Super Bowl and are now out of the NFLnote . And he loves rubbing their noses in it.
- It Will Never Catch On: Every single team passed on Brady in the 2000 Draft at least once (except for the Houston Texans, established in 2002). The NFL eventually made a documentary about it, called The Brady 6 — and it's still dated; he had only won three of his seven championships at the time of its making.Steve Mariucci "He was right in our backyard and he probably always wanted to be a 49er, and that would have been great, and if we had drafted him, I'd probably still be coach of there."Brian Billick: "We all missed on Brady, including the Patriots because if they knew he was going to be so good, they wouldn't have waited until the 6th Round."
- Jack-of-All-Trades: Brady's teams, especially recently, have been geared toward being staffed mostly by players who aren't the greatest at their position, but are capable at lots of different things, and can be shuffled around to compensate for other, injured players. Brought to a head when star Rob Gronkowski went down with a season-ending injury, and they still won the Super Bowl.
- Living Legend: His longevity means that many current NFL stars and fans grew up watching him play and may even be too young to remember the NFL without him. It's been suggested by fans and commentators that one of the myriad problems that plagued the Patriots in the final year of the dynasty was rookie players feeling intimidated by his reputation, and losing confidence as a result.
- Load-Bearing Boss: Much has been made of how the Patriots put up their first losing season since Brady's first year as a starter when he left for Tampa. The truth is a little more complicated than that—the team did put up a winning record when Brady was injured in 2008, and the Pats saw a number of other key pieces sit out the 2020 season due to the COVID-19 Pandemic.
- Long-Runners: The first and only quarterback, as of 2020, to spend twenty years playing for one team. Elandon Roberts, the seventy-seventh and final Patriot to catch a touchdown pass from him, was only six years old when Brady joined the league.
- Miracle Rally: He's staged many over the course of his career, going all the way back to his college days in Michigan, but his most famous one without question came in Super Bowl LI, when he led the Patriots back from being down 28-3 in the third quarter to tying the game with just under a minute left in regulation, then won it all in overtime, 34-28.
- Nerves of Steel: Brady's defining attribute throughout his career. The man is simply unshakeable with the game on the line, and if you don't force his plays to go wrong, he'll just tear through the defense and snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.
- Old Hero, New Pals: He led the Patriots to win six Super Bowls where the first three teams and the second three teams had essentially no overlap between the two groups. Vince Wilfork was with him for XXXIX and XLIX, and Ben Watson of the XXXIX and XLII teams came out of retirement for the 2019 season. It happened again in 2020: after leaving the Patriots and Bill Belichick following the 2019 season, Brady proceeded to lead the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to victory in Super Bowl LV.
- Picked Last: Brady was not, in fact, drafted last in 2000, even among quarterbacks (five were taken after him in the sixth and seventh round). However, the media (and Brady himself) love to play up how every team in the NFL chose 198 other players before the Patriots finally settled on the man who would become the most successful football player ever. Many (again including Brady) likewise attribute this late selection as key to establishing Brady's work ethic and competitive drive.note
- Pop Culture Urban Legends: He is aware of the Madden Curse, but he does not believe in it. When featured on the cover of the 2018 version, his MVP season in 2017 seemed to show no effects that plagued other QBs such as Culpepper, though his WR corps did suffer several injuries (most notably to Julian Edelman, who was sidelined for the entire year with a torn ACL), but he won MVP, and they still clinched the top seed in the AFC, but they ultimately fell short of the sixth Super Bowl, losing 41-33 to the Eagles. No one's sure whether him winning MVP means he defied it, or him losing the Super Bowl means he suffered from it. In the Super Bowl, he did pass for over 500 yards, but also had the Patriots' lone turnover of the game.
- Red Baron: He's sometimes referred to as just "TB12", after his jersey number. It's so prevalent that, when Brady went to the Buccaneers, Bucs' wide receiver Chris Godwin willingly changed jersey numbers so Brady could still wear #12.
- The Rival: The Manning brothers. Peyton was one of the few quarterbacks who could contest Brady's dominance of the AFC. Brady won more of their battles, though Peyton had winning record against him in the playoffs. Notably, Brady and Peyton Manning only played one season together in the AFC East—2001—and Brady's very first start in the NFL was a 44-13 rout of the Indianapolis Colts. Eli upset the Patriots twice in the Super Bowl, the first time against a then-undefeated Pats with what is widely considered to be one of the greatest plays in football history.
- Also to Ben Roethlisberger, who along with Brady and Manning formed the trio of AFC Quarterbacks that appeared in all but one Super Bowl between the 2002 and the 2019 seasons. Unlike Manning, Big Ben never beat the Brady-led Patriots in a play-off game, losing AFC championship games in 2001, 2004, and 2016 , and secured three Super Bowl berths essentially by working at the margins of the Patriots dynasty, winning in 2005 when the Patriots lost the Divisional to Denver, winning in 2008 when the Patriots were without Brady and missed the playoffs, and losing in 2010, where they faced the upstart New York Jets in the conference championship.
- Many saw him as a rival to NFC quarterbacks Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers as well, with all three quarterbacks defining The New '10s for their teams. Brees and Rodgers kept the reputation of being the best individual quarterbacks in the NFC, with Brees setting passing yardage and touchdown records that he and Brady constantly leapfrogged over for the next couple of years and Rodgers shining with his own exceptional accuracy. While we never had a Super Bowl matchup involving them, despite being a dream matchup to many fans, he faced both of them in the playoffs on the Buccaneers' run to Super Bowl LV, and although one game is hardly definitive, the Buccaneers' defense completely shut down Brees, and while Rodgers did end up giving Brady a tough fight, even outgunning him overallnote , Brady lighting up the Packers defense did him in.
- Screw the Money, I Have Rules!: Brady has spent most of his career taking contracts that are well below his market value so his teams have extra money to spend on talented free agents that will help the them win championships.
- Sore Loser: If your team beats Tom Brady, don't expect him to congratulate you. After all three of his Super Bowl lossesnote , he went to the Patriots' locker room without shaking any of the Giants' or Eagles' player's hands. He may decide to congratulate a Worthy Opponent during the regular season, but he also has been known to hold a grudge; he notably refused to shake hands with Nick Foles, leader of that Eagles victory, the next time he defeated them in a game. Though to be fair to Brady, he didn't get handshakes from Kurt Warner, Jake Delholmme, or Donovan McNabb after the Patriots defeated their respective teams in the Super Bowl. Also, Brady isn't the only person to not shake hands with the winning QB after the Super Bowl. Finally, Foles has stated at he couldn't reach Brady due to the mobbing press, and in an ESPN interview, felt that the alleged non-handshake wasn't a big deal.
- Wham Line:
- Brady's announcement that he would be leaving the Patriots to play for another team was this trope to many Pats fans.
- It was also one for Bucs fans because they believed that they now had a real shot at a playoff berth now that Brady is on their team,note which was ultimately proven right when the Bucs won the Super Bowl after Brady's first season with the team.
- Young Conqueror: It's easy to forget now, given that Brady's longevity has been the main narrative underpinning his success, but he also had one of the most illustrious career starts of any quarterback, winning three Super Bowls, ten consecutive playoff victories, a league record twenty-one consecutive regular season and playoff games, an undefeated season, a league MVP award, and a fourth Super Bowl appearance in his seventh year, all before age thirty; had his career ended then, he still would likely have been a first-ballot Hall of Famer. His emergence also completely upended the emerging status quo in the league, where Peyton Manning had the AFC within his grasp and the St. Louis Rams were poised to be the NFL's next great dynasty.