As training camps get underway, Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady would like to see opponents be less prepared in the future.
That’s how Hall-of-Fame quarterback Troy Aikman, also an NFL commentator for FOX, sees Brady’s strong statement on offseason workouts this past spring. It occurred during an NFL Players Association conference call in May.
“We shouldn’t have overly competitive drills in May and June,” Brady said the conference call per Ben Volin of the Boston Globe. “There’s no (expletive) pro baseball player that’s throwing 95 mph in the middle of December.”
Aikman called foul ball on that statement during The Ringer’s Flying Coach podcast according to the New York Post.
“I realized, that’s the greatness of Tom Brady, because I can assure you, he’s not taking those days off and that team is not taking those days off. And so he views it as a total competitive advantage,” Aikman said on the show via the New York Post. “If teams are practicing less and he’s practicing more, that’s going to give him a leg up on the competition, and I think that was really the whole motivation in his comments.”
“I’m all for getting rested,” Aikman added. “I’m all for all those things, but at some point you have to pose the question: Do you want to be great or do you not? Do you want to be a great team? Do you want to be a great player? And if you do, that means you have to put in the time.”
As the New York Post’s David Lazar pointed out, Aikman’s reaction fits in with what Brady admitted on HBO’s The Shop this summer.
“I would say 90 percent of what I say is not what I’m thinking, which is challenging, Brady said per Lazar.
The latest Bucs news straight to your inbox! Join the Heavy on Bucs newsletter here!
Brady’s Actions Speak Louder Than His Words
Brady clearly does the opposite of what he suggested in that comment on NFL offseason workouts.
He called Bucs quarterbacks coach Clyde Christensen the next morning after the Super Bowl about how he believes the team “can really get better next year.” Days later, Brady posted on social media that he’s “back to work” with “eyes on eight” in looking to help the Bucs repeat as Super Bowl champions — something no team has done since 2004.
That’s amid getting knee surgery during the offseason. Brady admitted his eagerness to get back on the field after surgery and practice, too, during a charity golf event for the Bruce Arians Family Foundation.
Brady began throwing with his receivers in May for informal workouts in lieu of the Bucs’ organized team activities. Some players even joined the Brady workouts to Arians’ chagrin.
Then, Brady participated in the team’s mandatory minicamp in June though it looked unlikely initially as Arians originally planned to have Brady coach. Arians talked about how difficult it was to try to convince Brady to rest.
Always Looking for an Edge?
Brady has been known to be fixated on competing throughout his career.
He often used his draft position, the 199th pick in the sixth round of the 2000 draft, as a motivator. Brady also displays his ongoing desire to disprove doubters. He shared it on social media shortly after winning his seventh Super Bowl.
When former NFL star Michael Strahan asked about the GOAT nickname in 2019 on Good Morning America, Brady deflected and said he wants to hear the doubters.
“I guess I take compliments worse,” Brady told Strahan. “I wish you would say ‘you’re trash, you’re too old, you’re too slow, you can’t get it done no more,’ and I’ll tell, ‘thank you very much, I’ll go prove you wrong.'”
“You’re driven by criticism more than you’re driven by success,” Strahan asked.
“Yeah, probably,” Brady said.
Brady more recently admitted that he looks within for motivation now when he appeared on the Late Late Show With James Corden.
“It’s hard to walk away from something that you still feel like you can do and you want to do,” Brady told Corden. “So it’s not about proving it to others what you can do, it’s more about proving it to yourself. And I still feel like even though I’ll be 44 this year, I still have a chance to still prove it to myself that I can still do it at 44, because I really worked to a point where I can still do it at this age.”