Tom Brady, the quarterback of the New England Patriots, has been one the NFL biggest stories this year. On a pace to set the record for most touchdown passes, and leading the Patriots into the playoffs, he seems a lock for the NFL's MVP award. At the tender age of 30, he's already won three Super Bowls, an accomplishment that ranks him with some of the best quarterbacks ever to play the game.
Yet when 60 Minutes first broadcast this story in 2005, he seemed underrated and overlooked. He doesn't have the arm of Peyton Manning. He doesn't have tattoos, doesn't take steroids and has never held out for more money. All he knows how to do is win.
Former football greats say he exemplifies what the American athlete should be, yet he barely made it to the NFL at all. For much of his high school and college careers, he was a second stringer battling for the starting job. As correspondent Steve Kroft reports, Brady wasn't picked until the sixth round of the NFL draft, the 199th player chosen.
It is lucky Brady was drafted at all. A scouting report written before the draft sized up Brady this way: "Poor build, very skinny and narrow, lacks mobility and the ability to avoid the rush, lacks a really strong arm."
"Yeah, it kind of all says the same thing, doesn't it?" says Brady. "So, basically, they're saying that I don't look like an NFL quarterback. Do I still look like an NFL quarterback? I think I've grown into that a little bit more. But at the same time, I haven't changed that much."
"So, what do you think it was that all those scouts missed?" asks Kroft.
"I think they underestimated my competitiveness," says Brady.
When the game is on the line, he is the most feared quarterback in the NFL.
He's 12-2 in playoff games, never lost in overtime, and is 26-5 in games decided by a touchdown or less. Teammate Matt Light say it's because Brady hates to lose.
Teammates Matt Light and Willie McGinest say that's because he hates to lose. "I mean it could be anything. You could be playing a game of pool," says Light, laughing, "and if he misses a shot, you got to kind of watch out for flying sticks. I mean, he gets a little crazy out there."
One of your teammates said, "If you walk into a room, and you see backgammon chips scattered all over the floor and the table overturned, they know that you've been there, and probably lost," Kroft tells Brady.
"Yeah. Probably. I'm a pretty good winner. I'm a terrible loser. And I rub it in pretty good when I win. But as soon as I lose, those backgammon sets, I broke more backgammon sets," Brady says. "I've dropped elbows on 'em. I don't know. It's like I wish I had a punching bag nearby sometimes."
The temper is Irish. He was raised in a Catholic family of exceptionally gifted athletes in San Mateo, Calif., and grew up watching Joe Montana, the quarterback to whom he most often is compared.
The similarities were not evident in high school, and he attracted scant attention from college football recruiters. So his father put together a highlight reel and sent it off to 60 coaches.
One of those schools was Michigan, which offered him a scholarship.
"You think that helped?" asks Kroft.
"Oh, my God, that was the reason," says Brady. "I know Michigan certainly wouldn't have seen it. I mean I was just a dime a dozen, I think. I was a good athlete on a local level."
At Michigan, he began as the seventh-string quarterback, eventually earning a share of the starting job during his junior and senior years. With the Patriots, he was a rarely used backup for Drew Bledsoe, New England's durable franchise quarterback, until a 2001 rollout when fate, in the uniform of Jets linebacker Mo Lewis, intervened.
"I was probably 10 yards from that, and that was the loudest collision I've ever heard," Brady recalls.
Bledsoe didn't know where he was, so the reins of the Patriot offense were turned over to the untested understudy and Brady has never relinquished them.
The Patriots won 14 of the next 17 games, including the Super Bowl in which Brady engineered a last-minute drive that led to the winning field goal. He was 24, the youngest quarterback to ever win an NFL championship.
"I mean you go from the backup quarterback, to winning the Super Bowl in five months. I mean you can't write that. There's no script for that. I mean, it just doesn't happen," says Brady.
"Do you ever feel the urge sometime to say I told you so?" asks Kroft.
"It would be too easy to do. I mean, why be a jerk? I mean, I don't need to say it," says Brady. "Let other people say it. It sounds so much."