Tom Brady is a great quarterback — we now know that. But apparently, Brady knew long before anyone else just how great he would become.
Brady, who became the Patriots’ starter in 2001 after Drew Bledsoe went down with an injury, has proven to be a Nostradamus of sorts, making good on something he promised after just two career NFL starts. Damon Huard, who was New England’s third string quarterback in 2001 and thus Brady’s first NFL backup, revealed in an ESPN.com interview an interesting exchange he had with Brady, during which the future Hall of Famer expressed a great deal of confidence.
“You know, Damon,” Huard reportedly recalled Brady saying, “I’ve been playing this game my whole life. I’ve started a couple games now, and it’s the same game, man. It’s no different. I kid you not, it’s not that hard. I’m going to be a great one. I’m going to be one of the best at this game.”
This, Huard said, came while the two quarterbacks were playing cards on the plane ride home from a 30-10 loss down in Miami. Brady threw for just 86 yards on 12 of 24 passing in that game, so it would have been easy to question Brady’s sanity at that point in time.
Huard, who was an established backup with the advantage of having played under Dan Marino, likely thought he had a chance to be thrust into action at any given moment. After all, Brady was a sixth-round pick who fought to stick around on New England’s roster and who grabbed the reins only when Bledsoe went down.
According to the ESPN article, four months later — just prior to the Patriots taking on the Rams in Super Bowl XXXVI — is when Huard finally realized he didn’t stand a chance when it came to unseating Brady as the Patriots’ starting quarterback. Brady reportedly turned to Huard and asked him how great it was going to feel in three hours, when the Pats were Super Bowl champions.
Brady made good on his promise that evening, and 11 years later, his legend continues to grow.