Tom Brady’s performance at the 2000 NFL Combine was horrendous.
He ran a snail-like 5.28 in the 40-Yard Dash and recorded an abysmal 24.5-inch Vertical Jump, third-worst of any player at that year’s Combine. Despite showing the athleticism of a three-legged dog, Brady was drafted by the New England Patriots in the 6th round of that year’s NFL Draft.
Right away, Brady knew he’d have to become faster and more explosive if he wanted any shot of sticking around the league for long. In his book, “The TB12 Method,” Brady reveals the secret weekly workouts he performed to accomplish exactly that. From ESPN Boston staff writer Mike Reiss:
Friday at 6 a.m. was (Brady’s) ‘secret’ time. Writing about his early years with the Patriots, Brady shares how he carved out one-on-one time with former strength and conditioning coach Mike Woicik. ‘With every level you reach, everyone gets faster, stronger and better, and I had to work really hard just to be competitive. That’s why every Friday at 6 a.m., when no one else was around, I worked with [him] doing speed and footwork drills, trying to close the gap between me and my teammates.’
Soon enough, those workouts proved to be very valuable. During Brady’s second year with the team, starting quarterback Drew Bledsoe sustained a serious injury in the second game of the season. Brady came off the bench and led the Patriots all the way to the Lombardi Trophy. He rushed for 20 first downs that season, eighth-most of any NFL quarterback. And look at the athleticism he showed on the first play of his game-winning drive during the Super Bowl:
If Brady gets sacked there, there’s a good chance the Patriots lose that game. The ripple effect of losing Super Bowl XXXVI may have totally changed the fortunes of the franchise. But Brady didn’t let that happen.
Brady has never been a great natural athlete—Bill Belichick readily admits that. But he improved his athleticism enough to make the most of his more elite traits, which is a huge reason he’s now the greatest quarterback in history.