New England Patriots: Tom Brady on the Couch
Moving the Chains: Tom Brady and the Pursuit of Everything by Charles P. Pierce
Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2007
This is undoubtedly one of the oddest biographies I have ever read. However, it was also one of the most intriguing.
The author, Charles Pierce, tries to uncover what makes Tom Brady tick. What makes him such a consummate team player and leader on the field? What made a player drafted in the sixth round, whom nobody but maybe Bill Belichick and Scott Pioli thought would ever amount to much in the pros, become a Hall of Fame bound quarterback, one of the best to have ever played?
There are a lot of things.
First, Brady was never the most gifted athlete and he had to work for everything through high school and college.
In fact, he was barely recruited, and his father put together a video package and he ultimately ended up at the University of Michigan. He persevered despite not even being a full-time starter, even as a senior, despite that he was a winner.
Second, in the pros his work ethic is infectious to his teammates. He is the first to arrive and the last to leave. His hard work put him in a position to take over for Drew Bledsoe when he was hurt during the 2001 regular season and progress. He became the team leader that, despite his talents, Beldsoe never really was.
Third, he is a team-first player. He truly buys in to the Patriots' modern day credo, there is no "I" in team. He doesn't care about stats, he only cares about wins.
And he is simply a nice person. He gives credit where credit is due. He doesn't do a lot of endorsements. When he had the opportunity to do one for a credit card company he refused to do it unless his offensive linemen, his protectors, were involved. He wanted them to shine too.
Don't believe Tom Brady is a really good guy in a sport fraught with me-first, selfish athletes with an undertone of criminality? Read Charlie Weis's book about his near-death experience and how Brady helped him and his wife out in their time of greatest need.
Read Tedy Bruschi's book that has a few anecdotes about what Brady's friendship means. Or simply read this book to hear what his family, friends and teammates have all said about his leadership skills. There is a reason his teammates and coaches have the utmost confidence in him.
The oddest aspect of this book is Brady himself did not participate in it, and it really takes somewhat of a psychologist's approach at times in examining its subject. From the influence of his Catholic upbringing, the impact of his athletic older sisters who sometimes outshined him in his youth, to his perseverance in the face of sports adversity, you learn the inner workings of one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time.
This is a recommended read.
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