How to be Like Tom Brady

Full disclosure– I am a two-time Michigan alum. I try to make it to Ann Arbor every year to see a game and catch the Detroit Tigers the next day. But not even the most ardent wolverine fan who watched Tom Brady play in college would have guessed that he’d turn into Tom Brady– He is quarterbacking his ninth Super Bowl as I write this post. If he wins, it will be win No. 6. (Bradshaw and Staubach each went 4-0. ) A win today makes it hard to argue that he’s not the G.O.A.T (greatest of all time).

It’s not just the appearances and wins. It’s that he has been doing this for 19 years. Maybe it’s his crazy diet. Maybe it’s because he is one of the most competitive people on the planet. Maybe it’s his humble leadership style ( e.g. he walks up and introduces himself to every new person in the locker room by saying: “Hi, I’m Tom Brady.” Message– everybody here puts their pants on the same way, me included.). Or, his willingness to take less in salary so he can surround himself with better talent (besides his wife makes more anyway).

But more than anything else, Tom Brady is adaptable. He leads a team willing to change what they do to exploit their opponent’s weaknesses. It doesn’t have to be about him, it’s about winning. And as he has gotten older, Brady has changed the way he plays to compensate for his declining athleticism. To be the G.O.A.T., you have got to change with the circumstances and times. That’s true whether you are a QB, student, faculty member or business leader.