Love him or hate him, Tom Brady is the best quarterback in the NFL right now, and he may end up being the best ever. He is a deadly accurate passer, a smart decision-maker, an inspiring leader and most of all, a winner. He has done it all in this league from winning two NFL MVPs, two Super Bowl MVPs and three Super Bowl championships. In addition, he was one circus catch away from leading the Patriots to an improbable 17-0 record and finish off what was already a record-setting season. But one thing that sets Brady apart from the rest of the quarterbacks out there is how human he actually is.

Some of the things he is able to do on the football field may make you think otherwise, but Brady is about as down to earth as you’re going to get. Obviously, I can’t say that for sure having never personally met him or had a conversation with him. But judging from the special ESPN aired on him last night, “The Brady 6”, it sure seems as if he’s a stand-up guy. I have to admit, the crying was a little much, but it shows how much he truly cares about the game and being able to live out his dream. It’s actually pretty refreshing for a guy like Brady, who has already accomplished so much in his career, to still be as passionate about playing the game as he was when he was young.

It’s hard to figure out exactly why there were six quarterbacks (Chad Pennington, Giovanni Carmazzi, Chris Redman, Tee Martin, Marc Bulger and Spergon Wynn) taken before Brady in the 2000 NFL draft. Odds are that the scouts were looking more at the physical ability of the player instead of the character of the person, which is understandable because it happens a lot especially with quarterbacks. Unlike other position players, a lot of what makes quarterbacks successful in the NFL, as opposed to high school and college, is their decision-making abilities as well as their leadership qualities. These are natural characteristics that you can’t teach, and Brady was exceptional at all of them.

It still amazes me to hear Brady’s story and see how hard he worked to get to where he is now. He had confidence in himself throughout his athletic career, even when he was backing up Drew Henson at the University of Michigan. But instead of transferring to Cal because of his lack of playing time, he decided to work harder and stay at Michigan. Brady handled the situation with class and instead of whining about his playing time, he took it as a challenge and became the quarterback and, more importantly, the person he is today.

A lot of people in his situation probably would’ve just transferred because it was the easy thing to do. But that’s what sets Brady apart from the other quarterbacks and puts him in a level all his own. He is exceptional at handling pressure and rising to any challenge put in front of him. He is able to earn trust from the people closest to him, such as his teammates, because of his personality and the fact that they can trust him no matter the situation.

Even though it may look as if he is being a crybaby and yelling at his teammates on the sidelines, he is just trying to get the best out of them because that’s what great leaders do. They wear their emotions on their sleeve even if it elicits criticism every once in a while. And I’m sure if you ask any of his teammates if they respect him, there’s no doubt their answer would be yes. And let me tell you, when you see your leader being that passionate about a common goal, you want to play even harder for him because you sure as hell don’t want to be the one to let him down. Sure, Brady may have cried on national television and let people see a side of him that they’ve never seen before. But he sure as hell has earned some more respect from me as I’m sure he has from a lot of other people too. You don’t have to like him, but you do have to respect the man for all he’s accomplished despite all he’s been through.

Submitted by Steve Giles