The 199th pick in the 2000 draft, out of Michigan, Brady caught the eye of New England coach Bill Belichick with his accuracy (62% in two seasons as a college starter), intelligence and arm strength. Brady had almost bailed out on the Wolverines, however. After getting beaten for the starting job in 1996 by Scott Dreisbach and Brian Griese, then by Griese in 1997, he considered transferring. "I went in to see Coach [Lloyd] Carr," Brady recalls. "I was pretty unhappy. He said to me, 'You have to compete every day of your life, in everything. You compete if you're sick, if you're injured, if you don't feel like playing. It doesn't matter.' That's a crucial lesson Michigan taught me. It's helped me here."
So when Bledsoe was starting, Brady ran the scout team as if he were playing in the Rose Bowl. Belichick loved what he saw. So much so that he doesn't burden Brady with minutiae about the game plan. He trusts his quarterback enough to tell him, "Be a football player. Make the right decision." On four Sundays, Brady has done exactly that.
This Sunday, in Denver, Brady faces Griese in a Wolverines alumni grudge match. A month ago who'd have thought Brady might have the edge?
My Two Cents
Wolf the Man For Redskins
1. I see Ron Wolf in the Redskins' future. For a 3% ownership stake and a healthy salary, owner Dan Snyder can get the architect he needs to rebuild. Wolf, in retirement from the Packers, has settled in Annapolis, Md. He'd love the challenge.
2. The NFL is right to put more of a protective shield around quarterbacks, which it did earlier this month with a sternly worded letter to all teams from director of officials Mike Pereira. In the directive Pereira said quarterbacks should be left alone when they're clearly out of a play. "If we lose Kurt Warner for the year, yes, it hurts us," says Rams coach Mike Martz, "but it hurts the NFL, too. The league doesn't have many great quarterbacks."