BOSTON (CBS) — Patriots quarterback Tom Brady knows that there are really only two stats that matter in the game of football: wins and losses.
Brady said as much Monday when asked about a story that was published last week which questions whether or not he is still an elite quarterback.
“I think that people pay to watch the games on TV because there’s a scoreboard,” Brady said Monday at Gillette Stadium. “If there were no scoreboard, then people wouldn’t tune in and watch. There’s only one stat that matters, because the competition in the NFL is very high, extremely high on a daily basis. Some individuals compete against other guys and some compete against themselves, so even if you don’t have someone you’re competing against, if you’re the type of person who competes against yourself, you’re always going to get better because there’s always competition.
“The guys that I’ve been around that find ways to do that and motivate themselves, those are the best players,” said Brady. “They don’t have to wait for some Sunday in September to find out if they’re competitive. You figure that out in March. You figure that out in February or at the end of February when no one else really is working. The competition that’s inside of you and how that’s going to really help your team and build your team to be more competitive, because that’s all infectious.”
Brady will be 37 in August, and his numbers did slide last season as both he and his new crop of receivers struggled to get on the same page. But while his numbers may have been down across the board, the Patriots still ended the season with 12 regular season wins, an AFC East title, and were one win away from another trip to the Super Bowl.
“Winning games is the most important thing, certainly for this organization, and when you come here you learn that pretty quickly,” he said. “Whatever matters to you as an individual it’s far distant from what the team goals are. And the team goal is one thing: To score more points than the other team.”
While the regular season is still three months away, the Patriots began working towards that team goal last week when organized team activities got underway at Gillette.
“Everybody is really trying to get on the same page. There have been quite a few additions, and we’re just really trying to look back on what we need to do better from last season,” said Brady. “We’re far from mid-season form. We just got started and we have a lot of work here. We have two solid weeks left and then training camp. We have a long way to go and a lot of practices. The guys are working hard, and that’s the best thing. There’s a lot of good effort.”
Brady is included in that group putting in a good effort, because even he knows that even after 14 years in the league, he can still get better.
“There are always ways to find improvement, because football is not an individual sport,” said Brady. “It’s not necessarily just my improvement, but how my improvement relates to the rest of the team. We all change from year to year, the strengths of our team changes from year to year based on who is out there, who is playing, what schemes are working. The more strengths we can have, the tougher we will be to defend.
“But me as an individual, I always try to be the same. I try to be pretty consistent for a long period of time, and that’s really a great motivation for me; to be the same caliber player I’ve always been for the team and for the team to depend on me,” he added.
Brady said he was lucky to have such stability in New England, playing in the same offensive scheme and for the same head coach in Bill Belichick throughout his career. He said there’s nowhere else he’d rather play, and no coach he would want to play for other than Belichick.
And as for those questions about still being one of those elite quarterbacks on that make-believe sports Mount Rushmore, Brady hopes those questions keep coming too.
“Hopefully I’m answering those questions a long time from now too, and you guys can just reprint the stories or whatever you want to write now,” Brady joked. “I want to do this for this team for as long as I possibly can. I love playing football for this team and for this organization. My goal is to continue to play at a high level and there is nothing that really gets in the way of that.”
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