In June 2005, 60 Minutes correspondent Steve Kroft sat down for an interview with New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady. The interview took place at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts. Here is a transcript of that conversation.
STEVE KROFT: There are some people around the league -- sports writers, players, coaches -- that think you're probably no better than the fourth or fifth best quarterback in the NFL. What's your reaction to that?
TOM BRADY: (LAUGHTER) Hey man, they can think whatever they want to think, but hopefully my teammates and my coaches don't feel that way. I think if you go ask them I don't think they think that either.
KROFT: Where would you rank yourself?
BRADY: Oh, that's the worst question in the world. I mean, putting a rank on it. I really like the way certain guys play. I think I'm up there. I think I'm right there with the really, really good ones.
KROFT: You want to be considered the best in the league right? I mean, as competitive as you are, you're going to tell me that you're willing to be considered less than the best?
BRADY: Right, just like I said, whatever anyone thinks, I don't care. I don't care whether they think I'm the best, the second best or the third best. I mean, I've got three Super Bowl rings. So, that speaks. Hey, say whatever you want, but look at these diamonds on these fingers. I mean, that speaks for itself. I mean, it just shuts a lot of people up.
KROFT: Which of the rings do you like the best? What's your favorite ring?
BRADY: My favorite ring? I've always said the next one. The next one's the best. They're special.
The first one was great. It's got a great story. The second one is mine. The third one is obnoxious. (LAUGHTER) I mean, you see these things?
KROFT: I've seen one. I saw Charlie Weis's.
BRADY: The third one?
KROFT: You've said, "I have strengths and weaknesses, and if I don't play to my strengths, I'm a very average quarterback." You believe that?
BRADY: I sure do, sure do. With those strength and weaknesses, you do play to your strengths and you try to improve your weaknesses. [On] our team, a lot of guys are very mobile, and they can do a lot of great things when the plays break down and when they're moving out of the pocket. It's fun to watch. I mean, I see Michael Vick do that, and I say, "Geez, that guy is terrific, and I can't do that. It's impossible, no matter how hard I try only bad things are going to happen." So, why try it? I mean, the best thing for me is to know what the defense is going to do and to drop back and throw the ball to the guy who's most open and let him run. And if I don't do that, then we won't win. And that's not fun.
KROFT: Who do you think you're most like? Who do you get compared to?
BRADY: I would say the guy that, if I could be like anybody, and the person I try to be like, and, if I am, that's great, it'd be Joe Montana. No question.
KROFT: A lot of people make that comparison.
BRADY: Yeah. I hear that quite a bit.
KROFT: Anybody else?
BRADY: Who else do I really like? There's some guys that I really like, that I probably wish I could be more like, but the most similar would be John Elway. I had posters of John Elway and Steve Young and Dan Marino. Joe Montana was who I really looked up to.
KROFT: Before you played the Carolina Panthers in the Super Bowl, their quarterback, Jake Delhomme, said: "I want to be like Tom Brady." Do you remember what you said?
BRADY: What'd I say?
BRADY: What'd I say? "He probably doesn't need any help from me, he's in the Super Bowl." (LAUGHTER)
KROFT: No, he says you replied: "You mean he wants to be slow with an average arm?" (LAUGHTER)
BRADY: I didn't think people wanted that. (LAUGHTER)
KROFT: So you have a sense of humor.
BRADY: Yeah. I would say so. Self-deprecating.
KROFT: Do you ever feel, I mean you feel the urge sometime to say, "I told you so"?
BRADY: It'd be too easy to do. I mean it's like why be the jerk? I mean I don't need to say it. Let other people say it. It sounds so much better.
KROFT: This whole experience -- this whole upward trajectory -- what have you learned about yourself? What kind of an effect does it have on you?
BRADY: Well, I put incredible amounts of pressure on me. When you feel like you're ultimately responsible for everyone and everything, even though you have no control over it, and you still blame yourself if things don't go right -- I mean, there's a lot of pressure. A lot of times I think I get very frustrated and introverted, and there's times where I'm not the person that I want to be.
Why do I have three Super Bowl rings, and still think there's something greater out there for me? I mean, maybe a lot of people would say, "Hey man, this is what is." I reached my goal, my dream, my life. Me, I think: God, it's gotta be more than this. I mean this can't be what it's all cracked up to be. I mean I've done it. I'm 27. And what else is there for me?
KROFT: What's the answer?
BRADY: I wish I knew. I wish I knew. I mean I think that's part of me trying to go out and experience other things. I love playing football, and I love being a quarterback for this team, but, at the same time, I think there's a lot of other parts about me that I'm trying to find. I know what ultimately makes me happy are family and friends, and positive relationships with great people. I think I get more out of that than anything.
KROFT: Last year, AFC title game, night before, you had 103 temperature. You got an IV in your arm, trying to hydrate you. How do you get out of bed and go out and play a game, and win, when the wind chill factor is minus zero? How'd you do that?
BRADY: I don't think I was on my death bed. I want to preface it by that. There was nothing that was gonna keep me out of that game. The desire to win, and to compete, is stronger than my threshold for pain, or sickness, or whatever.
KROFT: But you couldn't have been at your best. Or were you?
BRADY: Sometimes you could be. I mean I thought that was probably the best game I've ever played, as a player. It brings a sense of focus, in a weird way. I can still go out there and do just fine.
KROFT: The game against Oakland, the one in the blizzard, what was that like?
BRADY: That was maybe the first time I'd really played in snow. It came down in these big, fluffy, white snowflakes. It wasn't a really wet, drenching, nasty snowfall. It was just very, came down so soft. And I was out there before the game in a t-shirt and shorts, and a skull cap on, because I wanted to, you know, show everyone how tough I was. You know, football players do that. And, as the game kind of wore on, it got colder. And then the wind started blowing. When I look back on that field, and I look back at those highlights, I mean I didn't realize how bad it was because we were going through it at the time. But that's one of the best environments for football you could ever have.
KROFT: What's going through your mind in a game, particularly in a playoff game? How much do you see? Do you see the crowd? Do you hear the crowd?
BRADY: I don't hear much. I think when you have that inner thought in your head always going, you don't hear anything. And we're playing a team like Pittsburgh, and 70,000 fans, and they're screaming as loud as they can. They're stomping on the bleachers. And you realize they can be loud, they're gonna have no effect on what happens on the field. And we went to this last playoff game with such a great idea what was gonna happen, from what they were doing, based on a previous game there, and a result, and the way we had prepared that week. And we ran out onto the field, and I there wasn't much of a doubt that we'd win that game. It wasn't up to chance I don't think.
KROFT: You were that confident.
BRADY: I was that confident in the way we had prepared that week. That was, I think, the best game I've ever played. I think that was the best week of preparation I've ever had. I think it was the best three days prior to the game of focus and discipline that I've ever had. I wish I could repeat that, and keep that level of determination, and sustain it for a course of the season. I think it'd be very tough to do. We went there early, because the weather was gonna be terrible. And so we were basically there for 48 hours. And we probably met for eight or nine of those 48 hours on going through every play, based on every defense that we could face. And so no matter what play was called, I knew exactly what best case and worst case of what could happen.
KROFT: Is it like you have blinders on? Is it like you're in a tunnel? Is it like you're playing a video game? Are you completely locked in?
BRADY: Oh yeah.
KROFT: Do you notice things around you?
BRADY: No. You don't. You don't hear the crowd. You don't hear-- you don't feel the weather. I mean it was five degrees out. You don't feel the cold. You don't-- you just see what you need to do. You just feel the situation. The plays are called. And when he called we threw a long touchdown to Deion. And we faked it, we faked the ball, and we knew, ok, when we're lined up in this slot formation, and we motion across, it's gonna take their strong safety, who was down over the slot there, back to the middle of the field. Which is the guy we want in the middle of the field on that play. If they play that coverage. So I see him down. We motion across. He rotates back to the middle. And I think this is exactly what we were hoping for, before the ball snapped. So what do I have to do? I know who's in the middle of the field, he's a very aggressive safety. So if I just stare in this little in cut, from his strong side, and give him a little pump, he's gonna jump all over it, and completely expose the post behind him. So I'm lining up, stalk formation, he motions, he goes back to the middle of the field. So what's my first thought? I mean I haven't snapped the ball yet, and I'm thinking about the pump. You know, I'm not thinking of where I'm throwing. I know where I'm throwing. And now I'm trying to pump it. So I drop back. I come off the fake. I look up at him. He looks at me. I look to the receiver. I pump him. He jumps. And I just turn and go, phew, 55 yard third, Deion standing under it. And I said, "Ok." Just like we drew it up.
KROFT: So this play has happened in your mind before the ball is even snapped.
BRADY: Yeah. As that receiver's crossing the formation, and just getting past me, but I'm thinking I know where I'm throwing.