Twenty-two years into his unparalleled NFL career, Tom Brady is surely used to having few peers. A seven-time Super Bowl champion, five-time Super Bowl MVP and favorite to win his fourth regular season MVP award this season, the 44-year-old continues to reach new heights in 2021. In a year that began with a championship and winds down with his Buccaneers charging for a title defense, Brady has yet again entered rarified air.
Brady is the 2021 Sportsperson of the Year, becoming just the third person to win the award more than once. He won in 2005 when coming off his third Super Bowl title, and now joins Tiger Woods (1996 and 2000) and LeBron James (2012, 2016 and 2020) as the only multiple-time winners.
"Back in 2005 when I first won this award, I was a fresh-faced punk with something to prove. And now, I actually think I feel the same way," Brady said in his acceptance speech. "I certainly never imagined my future looking like this. Sports Illustrated has been presenting this award since 1954—and no Gronk, that wasn’t my rookie year with the Patriots. Individual awards in a team sport always make me feel a bit uneasy, because nothing can be accomplished without the team. It's always about the team. Needless to say I am beyond grateful, and even though I’m pretty sure I only won because they weren’t able to fly Giannis here from Milwaukee tonight."
Daily Cover: Tom Brady Wins the 2021 Sportsperson of the Year
Brady won his seventh Super Bowl title on Feb. 7, guiding the Buccaneers to a 33–9 upset win over the defending champion Chiefs. Brady went 21-for-29 for 201 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions. He's been even better during the 2021 season, leading the league in passing yards (3,771) and touchdowns (34) through 13 weeks.
Brady thanked his Buccaneers teammates, coaches and family, and joked that he might have to keep playing "another 16 years" so he could join James as a three-time winner. He concluded by shifting focus to the rest of the NFL season, looking for ways to motivate himself after receiving this award with five games still to play.
"Accepting an award like this in the middle of the season is very new for me, we still have a long way to go to achieve our goal," Brady said. "And as you guys know, I keep that chip on my shoulder, so I’m going to go home, I'm going to turn on a loop of all the interceptions that I've thrown this year to put me right back and even myself out for the night."