When it’s all said and done, Tom Brady will likely go down as one of the top five quarterbacks—if not the best—to ever play in the NFL.
He's the consummate team guy, the ultimate winner and the ultimate underdog story.
But we've heard about Brady. In fact, we've heard his tale a million times. What is it like to be the guy behind Brady?
What's it like to replace a back-up who threw for 3,693 yards and 21 touchdowns?
What's it like to have all the weight of the world on your shoulders (and the highest expectations of any reserve quarterback in history) should Brady go down again?
What's it like to be Kevin O'Connell?
1. When you first arrived at camp last year, was there any sense of being "star struck" when you first met Brady? Is he someone you've idolized at all through your late high school and college years?
2. Describe your first interaction with Brady. What were your first impressions of him?
3. Were you at all surprised that the Patriots drafted you in the third-round even though they seemed to be "set" at quarterback? Did they give you any indication that they would take you so high?
4. At San Diego State, I’m sure you were Big Man On Campus as the star quarterback. What was it like to go from that to a third-stringer behind Brady?
5. When Brady went down, did you feel as though you had a chance to beat out Matt Cassel for the starting job?
6. Cassel obviously proved to be a very good NFL quarterback. Describe his work habits. What made him so good? What did you take away from that to better yourself?
7. From your point of view, what was Tom Brady like—emotionally—following his injury?
8. What was he like once he starting doing rehab? Did that give you a glimpse of what kind of competitor he is?
9. Can you recall a specific example of his intensity and devotion during the rehab period?
10. As far as being a mentor and talking to you about X’s and O’s, what kind of teammate was Brady last year?
11. What, specifically, did he help you with? (practice habits, learning the offense, etc.)
12. Any rookie hazing from Brady and/or Cassel?
13. What did it feel like when Coach Belichick told you that you’d be entering the game in the fourth quarter of last year’s blowout loss to the Dolphins?
14. Even though you guys lost that game, was making your NFL debut a special moment for you, something you’d been working your whole life to get?
15. Given the success that Cassell had last season, do you feel any added pressure to perform well should Brady get injured again?
16. I understand that your father is an FBI agent. What was it like growing up with him?
17. Did other kids pester you all the time, asking you questions about your dad? Any specific examples you can remember?
18. I see that you played high school basketball with Chase Budinger. Who was the bigger "star," so to speak, in your high school—you or him?
19. How were you in basketball? What position did you play, describe your game a little.
20. How much would you have liked to have Budinger as a wide receiver on the football team?
21.Were you good friends with Budinger? Do you guys still keep in touch?
I would also ask try to interview Budinger, Brady, and a few other teammates/coaches for this story.