The Greatest Ever: Tom Brady Credits Michigan For Teaching Him How To Lead

Shortly before the 2020 NFL season began, Tom Brady shared some valuable words with a group of Michigan graduates.
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Though there was little doubt before Sunday evening, Tom Brady cemented his legacy as the greatest NFL player of all-time on Sunday night as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers defeated the Kansas City Chiefs by a score of 31-9.  

With the win, Brady's Super Bowl record goes to 7-3 all-time, setting a record in both wins (7) and appearances (10).  Brady also holds Super Bowl records for touchdown passes (career), passing yards (career and single game), passing attempts, completions, Super Bowl MVP's. and set a new record as the oldest quarterback to win a Super Bowl at the age of 43.

As an Alumni and former quarterback at the University of Michigan, Brady's success and connection to Michigan matters.  When he returns to Ann Arbor, it matters.  When he rocks the block M on his chest, it matters.  Even with all of his success at the professional level, Brady has continued to be a phenomenal ambassador for the University of Michigan and has often returned to campus to speak with both students and student athletes.

Shortly before the 2020-21 NFL season began (Brady's first in Tampa Bay) he served as a guest speaker for the Ross School of Business virtual commencement.  During his speech, Brady - a man who has succeeded at the highest level more than any other NFL player - credited Michigan for teaching him how to be a leader.

You can read his full speech below:

"I’m sure you are all grateful for the support system you guys have had in place — for your families, your teachers, the graduate assistants, your peers, your study groups. It took everybody for you guys to accomplish this incredible goal, and I’m very proud of you guys.

I certainly loved my time in Ann Arbor. I’m sure you guys did, as well. For me, my path was obviously a little different than yours. But, Michigan provided me for an incredible foundation for life and a career. And I know it’s doing the same for you guys.

As I leave you with a thought or two … My question for you is, what will your life be like 20 years from now? I’m 20 years removed from my graduation. But, think about that. What will your life be like 20 years from now? Because I think I know the answer: Your life will be what you make of it. Your life will be what you make of it. Don’t rely on others. You’ll have great support from a lot of people, still. But, no one’s going to hand you anything.

What you learned at school is how to do the work. You learned to be disciplined. You learned how to be determined. You learned how to overcome a lot of difficult odds. That’s what college is for. You begin to gain a sense of responsibility. But, always know that you’re an active participant in your life. Your life will be what you make of it.

You guys know how many times I have been turned down in my life? To be told how many times that I couldn’t accomplish something? When I was a freshman in high school, I was the backup quarterback on a team that didn’t win a game. I was barely recruited to college. I chose Michigan. 

I was the seventh quarterback on the depth chart when I stepped onto campus. So, I fought pretty hard over the course of my college career. By the fourth year, I was starting. We had a pretty good year. My fifth year, I played pretty well. I thought I would be a high draft pick. I ended up being the 199th in the NFL Draft, in the sixth round, to go to the New England Patriots, where I started as the fourth quarterback on that depth chart. I thought I would never get a chance to play, until one time I did, because I was prepared and the opportunity presented itself. And, I never looked back. And, I realized all the lessons I had learned at Michigan provided me the opportunity to be the best that I could possibly be. 

I had five years of schooling at Michigan that taught me how to be a professional and taught me how to be a leader and taught me how to be one of the best. And I know that’s what Ann Arbor provided you guys. I know that’s what this business school has provided you guys, as well.

You’ve learned some very valuable lessons in the course of your career, and you’re going to continue to learn very valuable lessons. My hope for you is that you continue to learn. And, I know you will. Think about this year. What’s the lesson I learned? I had the death of a good friend of mine, Kobe Bryant. Very unexpected. He was in the prime of his life. Obviously, what we’re all dealing with with COVID-19 provided us an incredible lesson: We never know what moment is promised to us. We never know what day is ours. We never know what day will be our last. So, what do we do? You seize the day, you seize the moment you have. That’s the only one we have.

So, I wish you guys the very best in your journey. I ask you to continue to learn, continue to grow, because where you are now is going to be very different than where you are 20 years from now. And, I challenge you to be an active participant in your life, to never let anything get in the way of what your dreams and your goals are. That it’s up to you to determine where you will be 20 years from now. Congratulations to all of you. Congratulations to your family. I wish you the very best on your journey, and Go Blue!"