Twenty-three years ago this week, on 16th April 2000, arguably the greatest player in NFL history was drafted. Tom Brady was not a highly touted prospect in the 2000 NFL Draft. He was picked in the sixth round, 199th overall, by the New England Patriots. At the time, he was considered a long shot to make the team, let alone become a starter. However, he was determined to make it in the NFL and was willing to work hard to achieve his dream.
Brady's journey through college to the NFL was not easy. His career is quite an extraordinary story.
Brady played his college football at the University of Michigan, where he was a backup quarterback for most of his career, having started seventh on the Wolverines' depth chart. His debut in garbage time vs. UCLA in September 1996 saw him throw an interception on his first pass, returned by Phillip Ward for a touchdown. Brady became the Wolverines' starter in 1998 and 1999, compiling a 20-5 record and developing a record for fourth-quarter comeback wins. Despite this, he wasn't considered one of the top prospects in the draft. Despite his lack of experience, Brady impressed the Patriots during his pre-draft workouts, and they decided to take a chance on him. He was the seventh quarterback taken.
Brady spent his rookie season as a backup to former No.1 overall pick Drew Bledsoe, but he was given the opportunity to start in the second game of the 2001 season when Bledsoe was injured. Brady seized the opportunity and led the Patriots to a 11-3 record as a starter, culminating in a victory in Super Bowl XXXVI, the first of six he would win in New England. The most memorable win saw him win his greatest comeback win, steering the Patriots from a 28-3 deficit to beat the Atlanta Falcons 34-28 in overtime.
He also won numerous individual awards, including three NFL MVP awards and two Super Bowl MVP awards. He set numerous NFL records, including the record for most career touchdown passes (649), receiving yards (89,214) and Pro Bowl selections (15). His knack of winning games from behind, developed at Michigan, was honed in the NFL, where he led his teams to 46 fourth quarter comeback wins.
After 20 seasons in New England, Brady moved to Tampa Bay for his career swansong, leading the Buccaneers to a 31-9 win over Kansas City in Super Bowl LV, his seventh championship.
Brady's success in the NFL is a testament to his talent, relentless work ethic, and sheer determination to succeed. He was not a highly touted prospect in the draft, but he worked hard to become arguably the best quarterback in NFL history.