Tom Brady has been at it for more than 20 years, but we’re still finding new ways to explain how and why he’s the greatest to ever play quarterback in the NFL.
No one (other than Skip Bayless) raves about the New England Patriots quarterback’s greatness more than his teammates, both past and present, who label him the “ultimate teammate,” among dozens of other superlatives.
But we still eat up any new stories or anecdotes that illustrate just how good, how devoted and how committed he remains, even in season No. 18 in the NFL. Maybe that’s because the numbers themselves are hard to comprehend at this point, and learning more about what makes Brady tick actually helps get an even better understanding of his accomplishments.
Former NFL lineman Ross Tucker appeared in just 42 career games and only one regular-season game with the Patriots. But he spent a year with the organization, allowing him to work very closely with Brady (he played some center) and get an appreciation even at a much younger age for the type of player and person Brady was.
In a column Wednesday on The Athletic (subscription required), Tucker described Brady as the “single most determined, self-motivated and hyper-competitive person I’ve ever met in my life.”
So when Brady raised some eyebrows with a laughably overstated assertion that “everyone thinks (the Patriots) suck” after the divisional-round win over the Los Angeles Chargers, Tucker recognized the same old Brady he knew nearly 15 years ago.
“When you’ve already won and done it all,” Tucker wrote, “you need to find any perceived slight you can to continue to stoke that fire.”
And while Brady might not have the same eye-popping talent possessed by Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes, Tucker likes Brady and the Patriots’ chances in the AFC Championship Game because of No. 12’s ability to do everything right — even if he’s not the “best” at anything.
“He makes the routine play more consistently than any other player in NFL history,” Tucker explained. “The right pre-snap read, the right check to the right person at the right time, putting the ball right where it needs to be. Over and over and over again.
“It may be boring to some, but it’s also why he’s considered the best.”
And on Sunday, Brady will get yet another chance to prove it.