BOSTON (CBS) — If an NFL player is willing to put his face on the cover of a video game which refers to him as the “Greatest Of All Time,” one would safely assume that this player agrees with the assessment.
In the case of Tom Brady, such an assumption would apparently be wrong.
Just days after Brady was revealed as the cover athlete for “Madden 18” — which includes a speical G.O.A.T. edition — the Patriots quarterback spoke to ESPN.com’s Ian O’Connor. The story somewhat awkwardly tries to create a competition between Brady and Michael Jordan for the title of being the “greatest American team-sport athlete” of all time.
While a Brady-Jordan argument could go on for years and would largely be a waste of time (a standout non sequitur from the story: “[Brady] holds a 5-3 lead over [LeBron] James in titles, and the New England Patriots won’t have to face the Golden State Warriors over the balance of Brady’s prime.”), Brady did share some insights to his state of mind as he enters his age 40 season.
Namely, Brady said he doesn’t even believe he’s the greatest quarterback of all time.
“I don’t agree with that, and I’ll tell you why,” Brady told O’Connor. “I know myself as a player. I’m really a product of what I’ve been around, who I was coached by, what I played against, in the era I played in. I really believe if a lot of people were in my shoes they could accomplish the same kinds of things. So I’ve been very fortunate. … I don’t ever want to be the weak link.”
Brady shared his well-known history in high school, college and the pros, a journey which didn’t usually involve Brady joining a team as the anointed starter.
“I got an opportunity [in 2001] and I’m still trying to take advantage of it,” he said. “Part of who I am now is very much who I was, and that was cultivated growing up.”
He later added: “I think there are many more players blessed with more ability. I’ve worked hard with what I’ve been given … and I’ve had to go about making improvements in different ways.”
Brady also shared a thought on the man who stole his Super Bowl jersey, saying he doesn’t wish for the man to suffer any consequences. His comment sheds a large light on why he’s been so cordial with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, the man who worked tirelessly to destroy the quarterback’s reputation.
“I don’t like conflict,” said Brady. “It’s just inherent in who I am.”
In a comment that is sure to be taken out of context, Brady “didn’t say no” when asked if he’s bothered that the team has not traded backup Jimmy Garoppolo.
“Competition is what has always driven me. I’ve never been one that was hand selected, to be this particular player,” Brady said. “In high school, college, professionally, I think the greater the competition, the more that it really allows me to dig deep and bring the best out of me.”
And of course, no Brady story these days is complete without speculation regarding his expiration date in the NFL.
“If you said 50, then you can say 60, too, then 70. I think 45 is a pretty good number for right now,” Brady said of the age he feels he’ll possibly retire. “I know the effort it takes to be 40. … My love for the sport will never go away. I don’t think at 45 it will go away. At some point, everybody moves on.”