With nearly every sports organization on the planet on pause at the moment as the world deals with the COVID-19 pandemic, we feel it’s an opportune time to reminisce about some special moments in sports history
On this day in 2000, the New England Patriots used a sixth-round compensatory pick to select a young Michigan Wolverines quarterback 199th overall at the NFL Draft. That player’s name was Tom Brady.
It’s regarded as one of the best bang-for-your-buck draft picks in professional sports history considering Brady went on to win six Super Bowls, make 13 AFC Championship appearances, earn three MVP Awards and set numerous franchise and league records in his two decades in New England.
Brady, who also played baseball in high school and was even drafted by the Montreal Expos in 1995, didn’t necessarily blow people away during his time at Michigan. He redshirted as a freshman at Michigan and was sparsely used in 1996 and 1997 before starting in his final two years at the school. In 1998 he threw for 2,427 yards, 14 touchdowns and 10 interceptions and 2,217 yards, 16 TDs and six INTs in 1999.
He went 20-5 as a starter but wasn’t expected to be a high draft pick. In fact, six quarterbacks were taken ahead of Brady in 2000.
On paper, nothing about Brady stood out and his infamous performance at the NFL Scouting Combine that year didn’t help his cause.
A physical specimen he was not.
19 years ago today the @patriots took a chance on the guy in this photo: Me (199) . Thank you to EVERYONE who’s helped me to prove them right!
Also, did they stop taking these photos after mine?? pic.twitter.com/qxBoCc0F1H
— @tombrady (@TomBrady) April 16, 2019
Here’s what Brady’s official draft bio from the respected Pro Football Weekly had to say about the San Mateo, Calif., native.
Positives: Good height to see the field. Very poised and composed. Smart and alert. Can read coverages. Good accuracy and touch. Produces in big spots and in big games. Has some Brian Griese in him and is a gamer. Generally plays within himself. Team leader.
Negatives: Poor build. Very skinny and narrow. Ended the 1999 season weighing 195 pounds and still looks like a rail at 211. Looks a little frail and lacks great physical stature and strength. Can get pushed down more easily than you’d like. Lacks mobility and ability to avoid the rush. Lacks a really strong arm. Can’t drive the ball down the field and does not throw a really tight spiral. System-type player who can get exposed if he must ad-lib and do things on his own.
Summary: Is not what you’re looking for in terms of physical stature, strength, arm strength and mobility, but he has the intangibles and production and showed great Griese-like improvement as a senior. Could make it in the right system but will not be for everyone.
Clearly, all the doubters and any negative or skeptical press he received helped motivate Brady throughout his career and back in 2017 the 14-time Pro Bowler reflected on his pre-draft assessments.
Brady ranks first in all-time wins by a wide margin, second in passing yards and touchdowns behind only Drew Brees and was named to the NFL all-decade teams for both the 2000s and 2010s.
Brady left the Patriots in March and will begin the second chapter of his career with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. It all officially began on this day 20 years ago.