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Tom Brady’s approach at quarterback is the same now as it always was

Gotta earn the job.

Bill Belichick Talking With Tom Brady Photo by Dominic Chavez/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Does anybody else ever wonder how smart you’d be if X percent of your brain wasn’t filled with an encyclopedia of obscure Patriots facts that only come in handy at trivia night? Like, could you be the next Tony Stark if your mental hard drive wasn’t full of stuff like “On the game winning drive of the 2001 Super Bowl Tom Brady threw 3 completions to JR Redmond, one to Troy Brown, and one to Jermaine Wiggins to set up Adam Vinatieri’s immortal field goal”?

Or you can explain exactly what went down scheme-wise on Malcolm Butler’s Super Bowl interception? Or when someone’s talking trash about SpyGate and you automatically know “Well ACTUALLY, my uneducated and salty compadre, they weren’t fined for taping signals, they were fined for taping from the sidelines, which was made illegal in the 2006 season and was in fact common practice for many teams until then.”

Fortunately, every once in a while that part of the ol’ brain comes in handy - like today when we were probably all slacking off at work and saw Tom Brady’s surprisingly straightforward answer about whether he’s “territorial” about the QB position.

(TL;DR - yes, he is. Who would’ve thunk!)

From NBC Sports Boston:

“I think that’s the nature of this position,” Brady said. “I think it’s a great privilege. I’ve always felt when a team trusts you to be the quarterback and they put the ball in your hands, it’s a great show of trust that they have in you and I think you need to earn it every day. So I don’t think you can rest on things that happened in the past or things that people may project on you. You’re tasked with a big burden to help the offense be in the right play, you know, you touch the ball on every play. So you have the opportunity to distribute it as you see fit. With that trust comes a lot of responsibility, and I think that’s a big responsibility I take with me.”

“Well, I was a young player once too,” Brady said. “And I had a lot of older players that I worked with, so I think I learned from those experiences and I had some great mentors, you know, people that really taught me how to play the position. It was great at a young age to have John Friesz and Drew [Bledsoe]. And then to have Damon Huard. And then to have Vinny [Testeverde]. And to have Doug [Flutie]. Then all the sudden it flipped and it got Matt Cassell, to Brian [Hoyer], to Jimmy [Garoppolo] ... so I played with so many great guys over the years, and I think for a quarterback it’s my belief that when you play a team sport, the best guy plays because that’s what’s best for the team, and then the other guys support that position.”

If that last part sounds familiar, it’s cause it’s almost word for word what TB12 said about his competition with Drew Bledsoe in 2001 in the ‘01 episode of the NFL Films “America’s Game” series, which is pretty much constantly locked and loaded on the DVR in this guy’s house for every time you get home late from the bar but you’re not quite ready to call it a night just yet.

You can watch the whole thing here if you want some weapons-grade nostalgia, but here’s what Brady had to say about his thoughts in 2001 when Drew Bledsoe got rocked so hard that....well, you know.

About the Mo Lewis hit:

“When you’re one of the backup quarterbacks, any time the quarterback runs out of the pocket, you’re buttoning your chinstrap up.”

On getting the call to start once everyone learned that Drew was probably out for a while:

“I’ve always told myself, if you ever get this opportunity, cause you never know how many you’re going to get, and when you do get your opportunity, you better be ready to take advantage, especially with how competitive this league is and how good every team you play is”

On Drew Bledsoe coming back after Brady had won a few games:

“The thing about playing quarterback is only one guy gets to play, and I want to play, and Drew wants to play. And who wouldn’t want to play?”

It’s basically the exact same thing, almost exactly 20 years apart, except like a lot of us, Brady’s a little more eloquent these days than he was at 23. QB’s the most important position in American sports, and nothing else is really close in terms of one dude making or breaking the team, so just like TB12’s been saying since back in the day, only the best guy gets the rock on Sundays, and that’s that. You just gotta work hard, learn as much as you can, and hope that, like Brady says earlier in the movie in a very old-timey football guy quote, the proof’s in the pudding.

Also worth noting, for the Jimmy G Stans and anyone thinking Bill messed up when he traded Jacoby Brissett, what Brady says about the whole QB competition thing at a press conference after Bill named him the starter:

“It’s almost like if you like one person, you have to dislike the other, and that’s not the way it should be and that’s not the way it is!”

Definitely a very early-20s way to put it, but a solid “we’re a team” sentiment nonetheless.