Passion and purpose – what Tom Brady’s record-breaking career tells us about motivation

According to the talent scouts, Tom Brady was far from spectacular.  He didn’t have any of the things that marked him out as in an up and coming sports star which meant he was overlooked when it came to selection time. 

And yet, on Sunday, Brady won his 7th Superbowl at the age of 43 with a team that was bottom of the league last season.  To date, he has started a record 10 superbowls in his 18 year career.  With an average career of 3 years in the sport, Brady defies the odds and shows no signs of retiring just yet. 

One of the key themes throughout his career has been the lack of recognition for his talent.  Before he began his time with the New England Patriots, he played for Michigan college team.  In his sophomore year, a new quarterback joined the team and the coach was unsure which of them to play.  He kept switching them to keep them both in the game.  Many times, the coach had to bring on Brady to save the game and he did it. He came on to the field and brought them back from the brink for a win. This happened so many times, they called him ‘the comeback kid’.

Despite this, when it came to the draft, he wasn’t selected until the 6th round. Number 199 out of just over 200 places, making him the 7th quarterback taken. His nerves were on edge as his time was running out but he was finally signed and so began his professional career in American football.  Brady is now considered best NFL draft pick of all time.

The report on him ahead of the 2000 draft was unimpressive. It included:

  • Poor build
  • Skinny
  • Lacks great physical stature and strength
  • Lacks mobility and ability to avoid the rush
  • Does not roll a really tight spiral
  • System type player who can get exposed if forced to ad-lib
  • Gets knocked down easily

Brady was hugely under-estimated and struggled to gain recognition but he never lost his self-belief.

Throughout his time with the Patriots, he demonstrated the talent and skill which has made him the sport star he is today. Still, his talent was played down and often attributed to the coach. In his latest Superbowl achievement, he has finally proven that he is the magic ingredient and getting the credit he deserves.

According to his Dad, when they carried out that assessment: “they missed the most important thing: heart.  They didn’t understand what drives somebody.” It isn’t something that can be measured. And it cannot be defeated either.

Others have commented on his backbone and resilience: “All the intangibles that a quarterback is supposed to have? They were overlooked. Because with him, it was burning on the inside”.

What can we learn about leadership from the greatest quarterback of all time?

  1. Never let anyone tell you what you can and can’t do – it isn’t for someone else to decide what you are capable of, it is up to you.  If you are willing to work hard, take on board the feedback and improve, you can achieve your goals.

  2. Resilience is about understanding your values and purpose and staying true to them – it doesn’t matter what people say or think. To succeed, you need to keep your goal close to your heart and keep going.

  3. Follow your passion – if do something you love, you will bring maximum energy which will drive you to work hard, master your discipline and achieve success.

Have you been inspired by Tom Brady’s success? What is it about him that stands out to you? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Image by Alexandr Nebesyuk from Pixabay 


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: