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Tom Brady  

Football Quarterback for the New England Patriots

Brady graduated from Junipero Serra High School, the same school that produced baseball player Barry Bonds and NFL Hall of Famer Lynn Swann. Brady attended the University of Michigan and led Michigan to an Orange Bowl victory in the 1999 season. In the 2000 NFL Draft, Brady was selected by the New England Patriots in the 6th round (199th overall). Brady has won three Super Bowls as part of the Patriots team and two Super Bowl MVP awards. Additionally, Brady was one of People Magazine's 50 Most Beautiful People in 2002 and Sports Illustrated's Sportsman of the Year in 2005.

Born in San Mateo, California, Brady would be regularly taken to see the 49ers play in the 1980s, where he became a fan of quarterback Joe Montana. Since that time, Brady has mentioned Montana as one of his inspirations and an idol.

He played college football for and graduated from the University of Michigan, sitting on the bench his first two years, including a year as understudy to fellow UM teammate and future NFL quarterback Brian Griese who led the Wolverines to the 1997 National Championship. Brady battled for the first string quarterback position with Drew Henson and ultimately started every game in the 1998 and 1999 seasons under Michigan head coach Lloyd Carr. He was All-Big Ten both seasons and team captain his senior year. The Wolverines won 20 of the 25 games that Brady started and shared the Big Ten Conference title in 1998. In the 1999 season, Brady led Michigan in defeating Alabama in an overtime game in the Orange Bowl in which he threw for 369 yards and four touchdowns. Though Brady's college career was quite successful, he was by no means regarded as a superstar.

After being selected in the 6th round of the 2000 Draft, Brady served as a backup quarterback to Drew Bledsoe, going 1-for-3 during the season for 6 passing yards. All those came in one game, a 9-34 loss to the Detroit Lions at the Pontiac Silverdome. His first season, he was a fourth-string quarterback, behind Bledsoe, John Friesz and Michael Bishop. (Most teams carry only three quarterbacks.) By the beginning of the 2001 season, he moved up to second place on the depth chart.

His role changed on September 23, 2001, when the Patriots were playing against their AFC East division rivals, New York Jets at Foxboro Stadium. During that game, Drew Bledsoe suffered internal bleeding and a collapsed lung after colliding with Jets linebacker Mo Lewis. Bledsoe was taken out of the game, and it was announced he would be unable to play for several weeks. Brady was subsequently named the starting quarterback. In his first two games, Brady's quarterback rating was low, at 79.6 and 58.7 respectively. However, during a mid-season matchup at Indianapolis, Brady passed for a career-high regular season rating of 148.3 in a 38-17 win. Brady helped bring the Patriots to an 11-5 record and into the playoffs. He also passed for his third highest single season rating (86.5).

During a 2001-2002 divisional playoff game against the Oakland Raiders (played in January 2002), Tom Brady had been ruled as having fumbled on a pass attempt, with Oakland protecting a three-point lead. Citing the tuck rule, where a ball is ruled an incomplete pass if the ball falls to the ground after the quarterback starts any forward throwing motion, referee Walt Coleman overturned the decision after reviewing the instant replay, calling the drop an incomplete pass rather than a fumble (some analysts have claimed that Oakland should have been called for "roughing the passer" on that play, as the player who made contact with Brady hit his head). Brady, who threw for 312 yards in his first NFL playoff game, led the Patriots back from a 10-point fourth quarter deficit and engineered the winning drive in overtime to beat the Raiders. Brady suffered a leg injury during the AFC Championship Game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, and (in a happy role reversal) Bledsoe stepped in to lead the Pats to a 24-17 victory.

The Patriots were considered 14-point underdogs against the NFC champion St. Louis Rams in Super Bowl XXXVI. There was much talk that Bledsoe should play in Brady's place in the big game, but in the end, Brady was named the starting quarterback.

With less than two minutes left in the Super Bowl, and the score tied, sportscaster John Madden said that he thought the Patriots should let the time run out on the clock and look to win the game in overtime. Instead, Brady drove the Patriots offense down the field., completing 5 of 6 passes for 53 yards to advance the ball to the Rams 30-yard line with only a few seconds left in the game. The Patriots then won the game on Adam Vinatieri's 48-yard field goal as time expired. Brady was named MVP of Super Bowl XXXVI while throwing for only 145 yards and 1 touchdown.

Tom Brady and the Patriots finished the year at 9-7, tied for the New York Jets and the Miami Dolphins for the best record in the division. However the Jets won the division on the third tiebreaker, and the Patriots missed the playoffs.

Although posting a career-low single-season rating of 85.7, Brady threw for a league-leading 28 touchdown passes, though his 14 interceptions ties his worst total. Moreover, at Buffalo, Brady threw for a quarterback rating of 147.6, the second highest of his career.

Furthermore, Brady played much of the second half of the season with a shoulder injury, and New England head coach Bill Belichick has since indicated that if the Patriots had made the playoffs, Brady would not have been able to play in the first game due to that injury. Brady continues to suffer from shoulder complications, but it has not led to a missed start.

In the 2003-2004 NFL season, after a 2-2 start, Brady led the Patriots to 12 consecutive victories to finish the season and win the AFC East. Statistically, Brady's strongest game of the season was against Buffalo, when he achieved a season-high quarterback rating of 122.9.

In the first two rounds of the playoffs, the Patriots defeated the Tennessee Titans and Indianapolis Colts. On February 1, 2004, Brady led the Patriots to a 32-29 victory over the NFC champion Carolina Panthers in Super Bowl XXXVIII and was named Super Bowl MVP for the second time, completing a Super Bowl record 32 of 48 passes for 354 yards and 3 touchdowns, with 1 interception. With 1:08 left in the fourth quarter and the score tied at 29, Brady engineered a 37-yard drive to put the Patriots in position for the game-winning 41-yard field goal by Vinatieri.

During the 2004-2005 season, Brady helped the Patriots set an NFL record with 21 straight wins dating from the previous year. New England's 14-2 record matched that of the 2003-04 season and matched the best record ever for a defending champion. The Patriots also won the AFC East divisional title for the third time in four years. In the AFC playoffs, Brady led the Patriots to victories over the Indianapolis Colts and the Pittsburgh Steelers. Brady played his best game of the year in Pittsburgh despite requiring IV treatment the previous night when he had a fever of 103 degrees. Against the NFL's best defensive team, Brady recorded a quarterback passer rating of 130.5, his highest of the season.

2004 also served as Brady's best year statistically; his rating, at 92.6, was a career high. Brady's yards-per-attempt (YPA) statistic in 2004 was a career high 7.79 - almost a full yard better than his previous best of 6.88, set in 2001. The improvement was due in large part to the addition of running back Corey Dillon to the Patriots offense. Dillon's presence made opposing defenses respect the Patriot running game, which had not been the case the previous three seasons, giving Brady the opportunity to attempt and complete more downfield throws than he had been able to earlier in his career.

On February 6, 2005, the Brady-led Patriots won Super Bowl XXXIX against the NFC champion Philadelphia Eagles for their third NFL championship in four years. Once again, Brady had a superb performance, throwing for 236 yards and 2 touchdowns, with no interceptions. But this time, the MVP honors went to receiver Deion Branch, who caught 11 of Brady's passes for 133 yards.

During the 2005-2006 season, the Patriots were forced to rely more on Tom Brady's passing due to injuries suffered by running backs Corey Dillon, Patrick Pass, and Kevin Faulk. Brady also had to adjust to a new center and a new running back: Heath Evans. The results were positive; Brady finished first in the league with 4,110 passing yards and third in the league with 26 touchdowns. At 92.3, his 2005-2006 passer rating was the second highest of his career, although he tied his worst interception total (14). He also rushed for 89 yards and fumbled a career-low 4 times. Brady and the injured Patriots finished with a 10-6 record and obtained their third straight AFC East title. Some of the highlights of the season included another game with the Steelers, in which Brady helped lead the team on the game winning drive. When the Patriots visited the Atlanta Falcons, Brady achieved a regular season-high rating of 140.3. It was the fourth highest regular season single-game quarterback rating of Brady's career.

In the playoffs, Brady led the Patriots to a 28-3 victory over Jacksonville in the Wild Card Round. However, on January 14, 2006, the Patriots lost 27-13 against the Denver Broncos at INVESCO Field. Brady threw for 346 yards in the game and a touchdown with two interceptions, including one returned 100 yards by Denver cornerback Champ Bailey. It was the first loss of Brady's playoff career.

Despite not playing in the game, Brady was present at Super Bowl XL, as the official coin tosser prior to kickoff.

A couple weeks going into the offseason Tom Brady went under the knife and fans found out that in the middle of the season Brady had got injured and had a sports hernia. He is now currently working out with Reeche Caldwell and stated that he is working hard this offseason trying to help the team with its offseason losses. They have lost players such as Adam Vinateri, Willie McGinest, David Givens, and many many more.

There is considerable debate, both among football fans and sportswriters, as to where exactly Tom Brady ranks in the quarterback pantheon. This debate has existed and evolved for several years, from arguments over whether Brady was even better than average to current arguments that center on comparing Brady to only a few select and elite quarterbacks.

Most notably, comparisons are often made with Peyton Manning of the Indianapolis Colts, leading to fierce and bitter controversy. While Manning clearly holds the edge on Brady in terms of statistics, Brady holds the edge in terms of being on the winning team and clutch performances. This is why Brady is often compared to Joe Montana.

Brady's detractors have argued that he is a "system quarterback". They believe that many other quarterbacks would have enjoyed the same level of success playing for the Patriots. Brady's defenders argue that he is a clutch player.

A response to the argument that Brady is a system quarterback can be found in the statistics of the NFL-record 21-game win streak - matching a pace set previously by the '72 Dolphins by going 32-2 over the course of 34 regular season and playoff games, each winning two Super Bowls - Brady's statistics during this historic stretch seem to imply that he was a major factor in this.

During these games, Brady, on average, attempted 31 passes a game with 19 completions - when given control of the offense to a level similar to that of Peyton Manning, whose career numbers show that he attempts on average 33 passes a game with 21 receptions, Brady responded by consistently making good decisions in passing and was not often intercepted.

Under Tom Brady, the New England Patriots' regular season record is 48-17, and they are 10-1 in the playoffs and 7-0 in overtime. He has led the most (21) game-winning scoring drives in the 4th quarter or overtime in the NFL since he became a starter. While not known for his outstanding statistics, Brady is seventh all-time in passer rating, posting an 88.5 career mark through the end of the 2005-2006 regular season. Brady also led the NFL in touchdown passes in 2002-2003 with 28, and total pass yardage in 2005-2006 with 4,110 yards.

Still, some critics argue that Brady's clutch performances and postseason success would not have been possible without Adam Vinatieri, considered by many as the most clutch kicker in NFL history.

Looking at his statistics, one sees that the departure of offensive coordinator Charlie Weis, who became head coach of Notre Dame in 2005, did not seem to affect Brady. As previously mentioned, Brady finished the regular season with league-leading 4,110 yards passing. He also threw for 26 touchdowns. Even as his Patriots shifted through a league record 44 starters, including injuries to left tackle Matt Light and center Dan Koppen for the season, the Patriots finished with a 10-6 record and clinched the AFC East for the fourth time in five years. Brady finished third in the league in MVP votes for the 2005 season, behind Peyton Manning and Shaun Alexander. Alexander won the award.

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