By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston

BOSTON (CBS) — April 16 is a date that holds a special significance in Patriots history.

For one, it is the birth date of one Mr. William Stephen Belichick, the man who’s won nearly 75 percent of the games he’s coached for the Patriots, including four that came in the month of February. Prior to the arrival of Belichick (born: 4-16-52) in Foxboro, the franchise had won exactly zero of those games in February — also known as Super Bowls — and he just might be the most important man in Patriots history.

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Or, well, he might be the second-most important man. Because, obviously, there’s that Tom Brady guy that everybody’s always talking about.

And it just so happened to be old Billy Boy’s 48th birthday when the newly hired head coach decided to draft Brady back on April 16, 2000.

What a birthday present that was, eh?

Of course, at the time, not many people made much of the selection of Brady. That is, except for Brady himself. The quarterback had put together a rather impressive resume in his four years at Michigan, capped off with a four-touchdown performance in an Orange Bowl victory. Yet he watched as a cavalcade of All-Pro quarterbacks — Chad Pennington, Giovanni Carmazzi, Chris Redman, Tee Martin, Marc Bulger, Spurgeon Wynn — got drafted before him.

The ever-confident Brady was, as you can imagine, quite befuddled. One could say he was miffed, even.

“It was hard. I remember taking a walk with my mom and dad around the block,” Brady said in a tearful interview in the documentary The Brady 6. “It was just a tough day, you know? I just remember being there with my mom and dad.”

But it was not all tears for Tommy, as the then-22-year-old at long last received a call from New England.

“Finally, when the Patriots called, I was so excited,” Brady recalled. “I was, like, ‘I don’t have to be an insurance salesman,’ you know?”

(Side note: Brady could probably sell the heck out of insurance policies. Just look at him.)

And it was after that selection — the 199th overall — that Brady famously met owner Robert Kraft and uttered the legendary line, “I’m the best decision this organization has ever made.”

You know, in retrospect, you can understand where Brady was coming from. Obviously he had some level of untapped greatness in him at that point in time.

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But at the same time … really, Tom? You knew that you could turn this …

… into this?

Tom Brady: Four-Time Super Bowl Champion. (Photos by Getty Images)

Tom Brady: Four-Time Super Bowl Champion. (Photos by Getty Images)

You knew that despite inspiring this …

“Poor build. Very skinny and narrow. Ended the ’99 season weighing 195 pounds and still looks like a rail at 211. Looks a little frail and lacks great physical stature and strength. Can get pushed down more easily than you’d like. Lacks mobility and ability to avoid the rush. Lacks a really strong arm. Can’t drive the ball down the field and does not throw a really tight spiral. System-type player who can get exposed if he must ad-lib and do things on his own.”

… you would end up inspiring this

“None of those doubts will change the answer to the question he answered Sunday, the question of who is the best quarterback of all time. That answer is definitive. It’s over. It’s done. … No one is better than Brady. In this Super Bowl. In any Super Bowl. In history.”

… as well as this?

“There’s no doubt that Brady is the best ever in big games — and one can certainly make the case that he’s the single greatest quarterback in NFL history.”

You knew that you could turn this …

… into this?

Tom Brady (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Tom Brady (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

You’re something else, Tom Brady. You may have been showing the hubris of a young, highly competitive athlete, and everyone can say that you were cocky. But nobody can say that you were wrong.

It was a rather bold proclamation, to say the least. And it came thanks to one fateful decision made 15 years ago today.

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Read more from Michael Hurley by clicking here. You can email him or find him on Twitter @michaelFhurley.