|Six thoughts on the ‘Brady 6′||04.13.11 at 12:26 am ET|
Six thoughts on ESPN’s “Brady 6” special that aired Tuesday evening:
1. Bolstered by exclusive interviews with five of the six quarterbacks (hence the name of the hourlong documentary) who were taken before Tom Brady in the 2000 draft (as well as Brady himself, his father, Patriots owner Robert Kraft and coach Bill Belichick), it provided some real insight into Brady’s fire, his motivation and what really makes him great. He’s had a chip on his shoulder about his abilities since he was in high school, and has turned that intensity into a surefire ticket to the Hall of Fame. And the shot of him tearing up when it came to his draft day wait was fascinating television. We’ve always known that he’s leaned on his family for support over the years, but for him to mention his father and mother and what they did for him in that moment was especially telling.
2. No one is better at seizing an opportunity than Brady. The quarterback was stacked against the six guys who were taken in front of him, and many of them — including Tee Martin and Spergon Wynn — confessed in Tuesday’s show that they were not ready when they were called upon as young quarterbacks. In addition, few are more confident in their abilities. Not in a cocky way, but especially confident. There was the oft-told story of his first meeting with Kraft, but Brady’s college teammate Aaron Shea recalled how Brady told him before the fall of 2001 he was going to take Drew Bledsoe’s job.
3. It was great to see the video of the 2000 Hall of Fame Game between the Patriots and 49ers. In a contest that was better known at the time as being the “Monday Night Football” debut of Dennis Miller, it was a game that served to illuminate the differences between Brady and Giovanni Carmazzi. Video from the game had Carmazzi scrambling to avoid sacks and generally looking unprepared. As for Brady, he looked smooth and relatively polished. The quotes from Belichick regarding that game were especially illuminating: “I think we walked out of that game feeling that we probably had taken the right guy.”
4. The relationship between Brady and Belichick is always fascinating — over the years, the two have come to share an eerily similar mindset when it comes to football — and there’s a new layer revealed here. Belichick says that keeping Brady around in 2000 was a “wasted roster spot,” but confessed to being worried that they would lose him if they did anything else with him like put him on the practice squad. In addition, Belichick said that Brady had a better training camp and preseason than Bledsoe in 2001, but that they went with Bledsoe to start the season because of Brady’s relative inexperience.
5. At the same time, the special felt incomplete on a couple of levels. To be fair, it did not purport itself to be a definitive bio of Brady, only a look at how many people missed on him when it came to the draft. But at the same time, even if you are hamstrung with just an hour to tell the story, you cannot properly convey Brady’s development without including Tom Martinez and Dick Rehbein, even in passing. Martinez is a Bay Area quarterbacking guru, and not to diminish the role that other coaches have had in his life, but he has been the only coaching constant for Brady since he was a teenager. (Brady thinks so much of Martinez he gave the game ball he received after his first win as a pro — September 2001 against the Colts — to him.) The two continue to communicate on a regular basis. Late in the documentary, there’s a shot of Brady at the Pro Bowl talking to someone about the fundamentals of quarterbacking, and he reels off a series of tips that are straight from Martinez. This space has long been a Martinez fan (some would say a Martinez apologist), but for ESPN not to mention him at all in an hour-long documentary about Brady feels like a missed opportunity.
6. As for Rehbein, the Patriots quarterbacks’ coach was an avowed advocate of Brady before the draft. Charles Pierce’s excellent book “Moving the Chains” (the definitive look at the New England quarterback) details the role that Rehbein played in drafting the quarterback. Rehbein scouted Brady, and pushed hard for him from the beginning. (Check out this 2005 column from USA Today that talked about Rehbein’s role in drafting Brady.) Rehbein passed away in the summer of 2001, and he never saw Brady become an MVP, but he remains one of the biggest reasons the quarterback is with New England.
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