In the charmed life of Tom Brady, the setbacks, if you will, stand out because they are so rare.
Brady grew up in a great family in suburban San Francisco, was a star athlete and won a full-ride to the University of Michigan. He’s now a rich, famous, three-time Super Bowl champion and is married to a Brazilian supermodel only because he decided to break up with a Hollywood actress. The couple recently bought a $20 million home.
Sunday brought the latest bit of triumph, Brady advancing to his fifth Super Bowl as quarterback of the New England Patriots, where the New York Giants offer a shot at redemption for one of the rare rough patches of his professional life.
Since Brady, presumably, doesn’t consider his endorsement deal with Ugg a negative, here’s some of what constitutes adversity: having to compete for the starting job at Michigan, being drafted in the sixth round by the Patriots (still drafted, mind you, just five rounds after he probably dreamed it) and having New England’s run at a 19-0 perfect season ruined by the Giants at the Super Bowl in 2008.
Brady possesses one of the key attributes of a successful NFL player, the ability to motivate himself into a maniacal worker. The league is filled with the undrafted and unknown; all have taken the job of someone once believed to have better pure ability. Players joke that “NFL” stands for “Not For Long” and if you’re not improving, you’re on your way out.
Brady is a testament to sustained excellence. It doesn’t just happen by accident.