While quarterback Tom Brady has enjoyed nothing but winning seasons in his whole career, he still sees value in the 6-8 Tampa Bay Buccaneers‘ disappointing season.
“Let’s Go!” podcast host Jim Gray addressed the question “why is he still playing” with Brady amid a dismal season. Brady hasn’t ever lost eight games before, he hasn’t ever had a losing record as a starting quarterback, and he still could miss the playoffs for the second time in his career. That’s all after coming back from retirement at age 45 amid a massively-accomplished career.
“I agree it should be about winning, but it’s also, I’m looking at it like, no, what am I learning?”, Brady told Gray during the podcast on Monday, December 18. “What am I learning from putting a similar amount of energy in over the last couple of years and not winning? What is that teaching me?”
“You know, why should we feel like we’re just entitled to win all the time? We’re not. That’s not what life’s about,” Brady added. “And I think anyone who’s gone through life and struggles at their job or struggles in other aspects of life, when you do put effort and energy into it, you know, what are you learning from that as opposed to, you know, why is that happening to you and for you?”
“You’re not a victim of that. We’re not a victim of losing games,” Brady continued. “The sun came up today. We’ve got something to do about it. We woke up, we have a chance. This is not the time to feel sorry for yourself. So get up, go into work and make it better, and improve it and work harder and work more determined.”
Brady Owns Mistakes vs. Bengals
Brady took ownership of his four turnovers against the Cincinnati Bengals in a Week 15 loss, 34-23. It marked the first time ever he lost eight games as a starter, and he blew a 17-point lead for the first time in his career.
“You can’t win when the quarterback turns it over four times and that’s on me. So, that’s how I feel,” Brady told Gray.
“I gotta do a better job and I gotta be better for my team,” Brady added. “I gotta be better for our organization. I gotta be better for our fans. All it does is motivate me to work harder.”
Argentina a Giant Inspiration for Brady, Bucs?
While Brady admitted he hasn’t ever met new World Cup champion Lionel Messi of Argentina, Brady had high praise for Messi.
“An amazing player. Pretty mellow guy. But just been an unbelievable player. And just been pretty chill. Goes about his business. Keeps things pretty private. But what a player! And what a career,” Brady said of Messi on the podcast.
Brady and the Bucs could take a page from Messi’s and Argentina’s experience at the recent World Cup. Argentina lost 2-1 in a massive upset to Saudi Arabia. Major outlets, such as the New York Times, considered Argentina, a World Cup favorite, done at that point.
“It’s so easy to throw in the towel. It’s so easy. That’s what most people want,” Brady told Gray about adversity. “That’s why you hear on TV, “Ah, that’s what you should have done.” Yes, if you’re a loser, that’s what you should do. Just double down when things don’t go your way. That’s not how life is.”
While Brady didn’t talk about doing what Argentina did, he did talk about his team facing the adversity ahead in a season far below expectations. Similar to Argentina, the Bucs could win it all — albeit ESPN gives the Bucs a 2% chance of winning the Super Bowl per the “Monday Night Football” postgame broadcast.
“There’s ways you can handle adversity,” Brady added. “One is you can point fingers at other people, which we don’t do. Another thing you do is you quit and that’s not what we do. And the other thing is you point a finger at yourself and that’s what we do.”
The Bucs just need to win the NFC South Division, and they’re in the post season despite a sub-10 win season. Teams with fewer than 10 regular season wins have won the Super Bowl before — a fact Brady may be painfully familiar with. Nine-win New York Giants teams beat his New England Patriots in the Super Bowl twice in the 2007 and 20011 seasons.
“We have an opportunity to do something about it and we’re at the home stretch. There’s three games to play,” Brady said.
With all of that said, Brady showed his regard for France soccer star Kylian Mbappe, whose team lost in an epic final to Argentina. Brady can relate to Mbappe coming up short in a championship game.
“I have a lot more empathy for the guys who put in a lot more time and energy and things don’t go their way. That might not just be a football player,” Brady told Gray. “That’s anybody in their job.”