Seven Times Tom Brady Defied The Odds
The greatest quarterback in the history of the NFL has retired. A sixth-round pick in the 2000 draft, Tom Brady’s career has defied the odds of even the best NFL betting sites many times over its 22-year span.
He spent 20 of those seasons with the New England Patriots, winning six Super Bowls in nine trips before claiming one more in Tampa Bay. That win made him more successful than any franchise in the league’s history, a feat that will surely never be matched by a player.
Now, he has brought the curtain down on that glittering run. What probably defines Brady as much as the glory is the way he could perform the seemingly impossible in the direst of circumstances.
With seven rings to his name, we thought it was worth looking at seven times the greatest signal-caller of them all pulled a rabbit of defiance from the hat of seeming inevitability.
1. Becoming The Patriots’ Starter
He entered the league as a weedy prospect out of Michigan on the third day of the 2000 NFL Draft, so you could argue the most stunning upset of Tom Brady’s career was earning the lead role in any offence at all.
Working his way to the back-up role in the 2001 season behind starter Drew Bledsoe, who’d just inked a 10-year contract extension before suffering a brutal injury in Week 2.
The initial prognosis was he’d be out for a month, but he was finished for good as Brady’s play convinced coach Bill Belichick that the unheralded 199th pick was the quarterback to lead his team forward.
Bledsoe would never start again in New England and was traded the following offseason to Buffalo. But, the Patriots could have never have guessed that they had a man who would spend a career rewriting Super Bowl betting odds on their hands.
2. Beating The Rams For His First Super Bowl
That move happened because Bledsoe’s understudy would go on to claim the team’s first Lombardi trophy that same year.
His team would defy the odds several times that season, including a stroke of luck against the Raiders in the tuck rule game that will still have many fans fuming, but Brady’s first Super Bowl wasn’t just about getting big breaks.
New England held the St Louis Rams’ stampeding offence to three points in the opening 45 minutes of the game before the defending NFL champions stormed back to tie-up Super Bowl XXXVI at 17-17 with 1:30 remaining.
Surely a sophomore QB with no timeouts remaining wouldn’t drive his team down the field in that time to get a winning score? Well, he did at +500 pre-game odds, and launched a dynasty.
3. 16-0 Undefeated Regular Season
Despite losing the Super Bowl in 2007 season, the achievements of Brady and his team have to be acknowledged. Brady threw for 50 touchdowns, breaking Peyton Manning’s record of 49 in a regular season, on his way to his first league MVP award.
He also posted a career-best completion percentage, QB rating and yards per attempt, while becoming the first passer to throw for three touchdowns in 10 consecutive games.
New England also posted the most points in an NFL season, a record number of touchdowns, the longest winning streak in any season ever, battering the odds and history as they ripped up a league specifically designed to promote parity among all teams.
4. Silencing The Legion Of Boom
It was a decade since Brady’s last Super Bowl win when he went to take on the Richard Sherman and Seattle’s celebrated Legion of Boom defence.
Pete Carroll’s team had humbled Manning’s record-smashing Denver Broncos offence in the league showpiece the year before, and, as the fourth quarter of Super Bowl XLIX ticked around it looked like they would also take down Manning’s fiercest rival too.
From 24-14 Brady led two straight touchdown drives in the clutch to edge the Pats ahead and then Malcolm Butler made possibly the most consequential interception in league history to deny Seattle back-to-back Lombardis, and launch a second era of Brady’s Patriots domination at 36.
5. The 28-3 Miracle
The most stunning aspect of the Brady mythos has to be the NRG Stadium revival that broke Atlanta's hearts in 2017.
Leading 28-3 halfway through the third quarter, those on the Atlanta Falcons sideline must’ve been trying on their “Super Bowl LI winners” merch as the previous biggest comeback in the season finale was just 10 points.
Once again, Brady took on history and won, beating odds of +1,600 on the best in-play betting sites in the process.
A touchdown, field goal, Matt Ryan fumble and another score made things interesting at 28-20 with 3:30 remaining, but Brady still had to drive his team 91-yards for another converted touchdown to level what looked like a blowout at halftime. Overtime was then a formality with the Falcons’ spirit crushed.
Brady set Super Bowl records for completions, attempts, and passing yards on his way to a fourth game MVP award (another record). Meanwhile, he also set records for the biggest comeback in Super Bowl history, the biggest in Patriots history, the third biggest in playoff history, and it was also the biggest comeback of Brady’s career.
Talk about rising to the occasion!
6. A Seventh Super Bowl
We’re all familiar with the story of the champ who never knows when to throw in the towel.
While no one would want to write off Tom Brady, you’d have been forgiven for thinking it might’ve been time to call it quits when he decided to part ways with the Patriots in the 2020 offseason. What nonsense!
He replaced Jameis Winston in Tampa at the age of 42 and the Bucs offence pillaged opposing defences, as surrounded by a cast of supporting offensive talent he’d never seen the likes of in New England, Brady ripped it up.
Posting 40 TDs for just the second time in his career, his 4,633 passing yards and 65.6% completion percentage bested many of his previous seasons despite the change of scenery and ridiculous age.
Performances against the Packers in the NFC title game and the Chiefs in Super Bowl LV saw him outduel Aaron Rodgers and Patrick Mahomes, and a fifth Super Bowl MVP award arrived with another slew of records and his seventh ring at 43.
7. Defeating Time
I mean, it catches up with us all, right? Except Tom Brady.
While he may have decided to hang up his cleats, his final season showed that, if he really wanted to, he could still go on.
He had 5,316 passing yards, 43 touchdowns, just six interceptions (six!), 312 yards passing per game in his final stand, the numbers are staggering as they best or come close to career highs.
In a sport where the average career length is just over three years, Brady has had at least two Hall of Fame careers during the two Super Bowl-winning eras at the Patriots and could’ve easily built another with the bounce of a ball in Tampa.
Even in his final game, he almost authored another trademark recovery against odds even Canadian sports betting sites would’ve questioned to rescue the Bucs against the Rams in the Divisional Round.
His mind is made up - for now - but the competitive spirit that drove him to claw his way to glory throughout his 22 years in the league will surely begin to itch when training camp for the 2022 season rolls around.
None of us would complain about seeing one more run at the Vince Lombardi trophy for the GOAT.
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