Tom Brady‘s comeback win against the Saints late in the fourth quarter on Sunday was just classic Brady, even Bill Belichick thinks so.
“I’d say that’s pretty much always been a trademark of Tom,” Belichick said when asked about Brady’s poise during a conference call on Tuesday. “Even going back to the first year, we were in some really tight games throughout the year but particularly at the end of the year: the Oakland game in the snow, obviously the Super Bowl. I think Tom showed a lot of poise and composure in those games which is as big as it gets, his first year as a starting quarterback.”
Brady’s moniker as the comeback kid of sorts began back as far as his first season as a starter, leading five game-winning drives en route to the Patriots’ first Super Bowl in 2001. That included a few divisional wins against the Jets and Bills as well as his playoff heroics in the snow game against the Raiders and again in setting up Adam Viniateri’s game-winning field goal in the Super Bowl. Since then, Brady has even furthered that cool, calm and collected reputation in the clutch, orchestrating 28 fourth-quarter comebacks and 39 game-winning drives throughout his 12 seasons as a starter.
It’s more than just his poise in the biggest moments that have made him so great, though, it’s also his ability to rationalize each situation and keep his focus on the execution.
“I think that’s something that really was one of Tom’s greatest strengths, is his ability to see the field, remain calm, remain poised even though the stadium may be going crazy if we’re on the road or the situation- we may only have couple seconds to work with or whatever the circumstances are,” Belichick said. “He does a very good job of knowing what the situation but not getting consumed by it and focusing on the execution of that particular play or sequence of plays. I think that’s one of his greatest strengths as a player.”
Belichick expanded on that heightened sense of focus, too, even going into detail explaining just how well Brady processes information on the field and how that feeds into his calm demeanor in big moments.
“I never felt that there was a sense of panic of discomfort or anything with Tom, Belichick said. “He was always very poised and always had a real good vision in the game. Even after, it could be a bad play that happened or an interception or a turnover or something, he would come to the sideline and say, ‘OK, let’s talk about what happened on that play.’ He would very clearly say, ‘This is what I saw. This is what happened. This is what this guy did, this is what this guy did, this is what the safeties did, this middle linebacker was here. This is what I saw on the route.’ Then you go back and look at the film and all those things happened. The six, seven, eight, nine things that he described were pretty much the way the play unfolded.”
Brady hasn’t always come through in the clutch — he is human after all — and we even saw it with his interception on the drive before the game-winner on Sunday. Mistakes will happen, as will failure, but Brady responds better than to the adversity than maybe any quarterback in the league, and that’s a great quality to have.
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