Skip to comments.Super Bowl superstar: Tom Brady, a humble hometown Catholic
Posted on 01/18/2004 7:08:32 PM PST by Akron Al
Super Bowl superstar: Tom Brady, a humble hometown Catholic
By NICK THOMM
St. Louis Rams quarterback Kurt Warner and New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady have a lot in common.
They both began their careers as NFL nobodies. Brady was drafted in the 6th round and Warner was not even originally drafted. They both got their big chance when the starting quarterback for their team was injured. Warner replaced Tony Banks and Brady replaced Drew Bledsoe. They both capitalized on the opportunity by leading their team to a Super Bowl victory against all odds. They were both named Super Bowl MVPs. They both share a humble boyish charm. And they also share the most important thing of all, their Christian faith.
While Warner describes himself as a born-again Christian, Brady is a lifelong Catholic.
He was born and raised in San Mateo, Calif. There he attended Junipero Serra High School, where he was the backup linebacker his freshman year.
He got the chance to play quarterback his sophomore year when the starter was injured, said Tom MacKenzie, Bradys high-school coach.
After his sophomore season I told him that he had a great arm and had the potential to play in college, but needed to work on his mobility. Let me tell you, this is a man that can make a commitment.
From that day forward, Brady committed himself to improvement.
He was willing to give up some things like going out with friends to make himself better, MacKenzie told Credo. He has always had that work ethic.
Joseph Leach, Bradys high-school counselor, echoed MacKenzies sentiments.
What strikes me the most is how well grounded Tom is, said Leach. He came from a very close-knit Catholic family and he has carried that with him through his college and professional life. Tom was a very intelligent student as well. He is an individual of good character and led a very value-oriented lifestyle.
Brady chose to play his college ball at the University of Michigan. He came to Ann Arbor in the fall of 1996 and immediately became a part of St. Marys Student Parish.
From day one he was a regular attendee at church and an active member of the parish, said Fr. Tom Firestone, pastor of St. Marys and Catholic chaplain of the football team. The experiences Tom had here at Michigan and the way he handled them have prepared him well.
One of those experiences was becoming the starting quarterback his junior year and leading the Wolverines to a Big Ten title and a victory over Arkansas in the Citrus Bowl. But after all of this success, Bradys character was tested the following fall when he had to compete with sophomore Drew Henson for the starting QB job.
The way he handled the situation with Drew Henson showed a great deal of composure, said Fr. Firestone. Hes not trying to undercut anybody. He is a really genuine humble kid.
Brady and Henson split playing time for most of the season, but it was Brady who emerged as the Wolverines number one QB as he led them to a dramatic overtime victory over Alabama in the Orange Bowl and was named the teams MVP.
Brady was then drafted by the New England Patriots as the 199th pick of the 2000 NFL draft as a backup for Drew Bledsoe.
But when Bledsoe was injured early on this year, Brady was ready. As starting QB, he led the Patriots to an 11-3 record.
All the while, Brady remained as humble as ever, always giving credit to his team.
When the Patriots defied all odds and made it to the Super Bowl, they were 14-point underdogs, the second-largest point spread in Super Bowl history. Nobody even gave them a chance. But Brady and the Patriots quietly went about their business and believed in themselves.
At the start of the Super Bowl, they decided to be introduced as a team, rather than individually. That decision, says MacKenzie, is reflective of Toms whole attitude.
He was always a team player. He knows that hes where hes at because of, not only his hard work, but that of his team as well.
When the Patriots kicker Adam Vinatieri booted a 48-yard field goal through the uprights as time expired, the Patriots had accomplished the impossible and toppled the mighty Rams.
Brady was named MVP of the game and deflected all of the praise to God and the team as a whole. He even said the Cadillac Escalade that came with the MVP was going to be a team car.
With the victory, Brady became the youngest QB to win a Super Bowl and became a prime-time example of the Christian athlete.
When he was a sophomore, said MacKenzie, I told him that his best football was still ahead of him. When he left for Michigan I told him that his best football was still ahead of him. When he came home on breaks and when he was drafted by the Patriots, I told him the same thing. Guess what? His best football is still ahead of him.
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"When he was a sophomore," said MacKenzie, "I told him that his best football was still ahead of him. When he left for Michigan I told him that his best football was still ahead of him. When he came home on breaks and when he was drafted by the Patriots, I told him the same thing. Guess what? His best football is still ahead of him."disclaimer: I'm shaking off the Eagles again letting us fans down, and I'm "on the rebound" ...
Nice article, thanks.
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