BOSTON (CBS) — In his weekly press conferences at Gillette Stadium, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady is often completely buttoned-down, completely straight-down-the-middle when speaking. He has seen his words get magnified, altered and dissected too many times to bother with saying anything controversial to the media.
Yet when Brady sits down with a network for an interview, he typically opens up a bit more than usual, and that was the case this week on the NFL Network.
NFL Network’s Andrea Kremer sat down with Brady, and the quarterback shared the inner monologue inside his helmet that keeps him motivated as he enters year 15 in the NFL.
“A lot of it is probably, ‘God, Tom, you’re not very good, you’ve got to work harder at this. What are you doing? That was a bad play.’ I think that’s a lot of motivation for me is that I always feel like I have to prove it to myself first,” Brady said. “Every day in practice I’m trying to make the right throws, the right reads, the right footwork, the right emotional level, because to sustain that over the four or five months of the season is a tough thing to do. But you’ve got to do it.”
The 2014 season’s start means that it’s been a decade since the Patriots have won a Super Bowl. Brady, who wears the pain of every season-ending defeat on his sleeve, admitted it does feel like quite a while since the Patriots reigned over the football world.
“Yeah, it does feel like a long time,” Brady said. “I think to win that last game of the year, that’s what we’re all trying to be able to do at some point. You don’t play this game to come in second place. I’m proud of the fact that we’re in it and we’ve got a chance every year, but I don’t think anyone’s going to be satisfied around here until we close the deal.
“What I realize now is how hard it is to win that Super Bowl. Obviously, a lot of things have to go right, a lot of guys have to be playing really well at the right time. And we’ve certainly had our opportunities. We’ve been really close on two occasions, we’ve been to plenty of AFC Championship Games, and didn’t really have an opportunity to close it out.”
As for getting the Patriots where they need to be to win a Super Bowl this year, Brady pointed out that a championship is not won by one action or one day’s effort.
“You start the year, you’re as hopeful as anybody, and I think we’re obviously very hopeful this year,” Brady said. “But my beliefs and what I feel like I want to bring to the team is what I’ve always brought: I try to be as consistent, dependable a player as I can be.”
It was when the conversation shifted to Brady’s football mortality that the quarterback revealed a side of himself not often seen. Brady is, depending on who’s making the argument, one of the top five quarterbacks to ever play the position, yet he rarely speaks highly of himself. But he showed a glimpse of his self-confidence when asked if he could ever imagine playing for a team other than the New England Patriots.
“There comes a time for a lot of people,” Brady said. “Michael Jordan played for the Washington Wizards. I mean, who would ever have imagined that? Joe Montana played for the Chiefs. Randy Moss, one of the great players I ever played with, played for [five] teams.”
Brady is right to put himself in such esteemed company; it’s just rare to see him actually admit it.
Of course, Brady also accepted the fact that one day, his time in football will expire.
“If I feel like I can’t play at the level that I expect myself, then I’m not going to play anymore. I want to be a great asset to a team. I want to bring a lot of value to a team that I’m playing for. And if that team doesn’t feel like I’m a value to them, then maybe there’s another team out there that may see that,” Brady said. “Absolutely. This is the NFL. It’s happened to everybody, so why would I not think that would happen to me?” he said. “Hopefully the team could value what I bring to it, and then you try to go out there as long as you can and do it. But if a team doesn’t see that, then that’s supply and demand. That’s what it’s always been.”
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