After two decades of breaking records and winning championships with the New England Patriots, future Hall-of-Fame football player Tom Brady has set his sights for a decidedly warmer climate. In 2020, the six-time Super Bowl Champion joined the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for his 21st season in the NFL, as the elite athlete attempts to end his career on top, where he has spent his entire career.
Despite relocating to Florida, Brady will always be associated with New England, where he cemented his legacy as arguably the greatest quarterback of all time, setting new benchmarks as often as winning championships. But his championship pedigree has Midwest origins in the hills of Ann Arbor, home of the University of Michigan. In 1997, Brady was a reserve quarterback for the Wolverines’ football team during the successful tenure of Hall-of-Fame Coach Lloyd Carr.
Brady’s college career began as a backup quarterback in 1995, and the competition for the position was at odds against him. The determined young athlete fought his way onto the starting roster in 1998, leading the team to nine victories including the 1999 Florida Citrus Bowl. In his final season with the school, he competed with two-sport prodigy Drew Henson for the starting role he already occupied, before ultimately leading the team to another winning season that included a victory against notorious rival Ohio State.
Following a career-capping win at the Orange Bowl, Brady readied himself for the NFL, but surprisingly, he was overlooked for most of the draft until the Patriots selected him at number 199. History will always remind football fans and scholars that the greatest player in the modern age was ignored far too long, and the fact only adds to his mystique.
Now in the waning days of his career, Brady’s trademark determination is driving him to make a strong run with a new team, but he has not forgotten the origins of his winning confidence. In May of 2020, the Michigan alum joined graduates of the Ross School of Business in their Virtual Graduation, one of many commencements upended by the COVID-19 pandemic. In his address, he urged the graduates to use the tools earned at U of M to create their ideal futures, to put their own discipline and determination to use in forging their own paths. For Tom Brady, carpe diem is not just a useful Latin dictum, it is the key to a fulfilling life.