What motivates Brady to keep playing at soon to be 44 years old? In depth look

What does Buccaneers Tom Brady have left to prove?

By: Ladarius Brown

For one reason or another, many of us have been doubted if we can succeed in our respective fields for numerous reasons. Overall, it is about silencing the said doubters or proving to yourself that you can make it. In some cases, it is both since, according to an NCAA study, there are 73,712 college football players. Of those, 16,380 are eligible for the NFL Draft and 254 will be drafted. In all, just 1.6% will make the transition from the NCAA to the NFL. The point: it is one of the toughest professions to enter. One player who knows the journey all too well is Tom Brady.  

Brady was a sixth round (199th overall pick) in the 2000 NFL Draft of the New England Patriots out of Michigan. In that draft, six quarterbacks were taken ahead of him:   

  • Chad Pennington   
  • Giovanni Carmazzi    
  • Chris Redman   
  • Tee Martin  
  • Marc Bulger  
  • Spergon Wynn  

Some of these names may not exactly roll off the tongue yet, for Brady, he still remembers these names, aptly called the Brady 6. Entering his 22nd season, this is what keeps Thomas Edward Patrick Brady motivated. Given his resume, he was a 1st ballot Hall of Famer years ago. However, the mere fact that 30 NFL franchises (excluding the Texans who became a franchise in 2002) passed on him drives him still. Throw in that this was his scouting report: “Poor build, skinny, lacks great physical stature and strength, and gets knocked down easily.”  

The money means next to nothing because he gave up nearly $60 million while with the Patriots in his 20 years there. He has always been team first. In his mind, he needs successful players to be a success himself. Brady feels as though he does not deserve the accolades. The term is called “imposter syndrome.”  

Conceived by clinical psychologists Dr. Pauline Rose Clance & Suzanne Imes, they allude to the term as:  

“High-achieving individuals marked by an inability to internalize their accomplishments and a persistent fear of being exposed as a “fraud”. Despite external evidence of their competence, [they] are convinced that they are frauds and do not deserve the success they have achieved. Proof of success is dismissed as luck, timing, or as a result of deceiving others into thinking they are more intelligent and competent than they believe themselves to be.”  

In Brady’s mind, he cannot process arguably one of these best resumes not just in NFL history; but all of the sports because he feels that he will be somehow “exposed” as a fraud who does not belong. He continues to play the games to prove that he belongs. It sounds odd but when we think of the most driven of individuals, this is nothing new. His deep disproval has created insane habits.

Those exterior of Brady’s mind sees the continuous work to be the best, demanding it out those around him. We have seen him become a 7x SB Champ, 14x Pro Bowler, 3x All-Pro, and 3x MVP. For him, it is about the game within the game. Football to him is a reminder that many people did not think he could play it. Every day he wakes up, he was to be better than the next day. We can all sit here and say that he needs to retire because there is nothing more for him to achieve.   

For Brady, he plays to win like all great competitors. Yet, there will always be that one more thing to achieve, something not reflected in trophies or rings. Brady wants to proves in his mind he is better than Chad Pennington, Giovanni Carmazzi, Chris Redman, Tee Martin, Marc Bulger, and Spergon Wynn. As we speak, he still wants to prove every team wrong 21 years later. 

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