‘Brady is the gold standard’

Ahead of his 10th Super Bowl look, The Associated Press asked the very best of the very best — 8 present and previous champs from 7 sports — what impressed them most about Tom Brady.

Simply what he required: more reviews.

Any club with the similarity Michael Jordan, Serena Williams and Wayne Gretzky in the ranks is bound to be unique. Its members speak about Brady similar method the rest people do. None spilled trade tricks or applauded his foot speed. A couple of pointed wistfully to his durability or admired how he moved the NFL’s center of mass from New England to Tampa Bay in the middle of a pandemic without avoiding a beat. A lot of pointed out the exact same qualities — intelligence, management, competitiveness — that fans and opponents alike connected to Brady a long time back.

However there was a fascinating sidelight: All of them saw their own strengths shown in Brady, specifically those still playing and close in age to the 43-year-old quarterback. (The complete actions, gently modified and accompanied by profession highlights and keeps in mind, are listed below.)

So LeBron James, 36, zeroed in on Brady’s mileage-doesn’t-matter mantra, which dovetails perfectly with his own.

Manny Pacquiao, an unstinting fitness center rat at 42, revealed wonder at Brady’s commitment to remaining in shape.

Williams, 39, swears she saw Brady’s eye-of-the-tiger gleam while seeing his extremely first Super Bowl twenty years back, marking him, like her, as a big-game rival for years to come.

Gretzky, 60, went even further back, persuaded that Brady turned his love for the video game as a kid into a plan that would allow him to use into his 40s.

And even Jordan, who turns 58 next week and scrupulously prevented speaking openly about competitors for the majority of that time, sent out an action, albeit a short one. He selected to highlight Brady’s “unrelenting drive,” a subject he understands something about.

Not every professional athlete gotten in touch with — taking a look at you, Tiger Woods — responded. James’ reaction came by means of his “Goat talk” Instagram post. Williams’ response originated from a press conference at the Australian Open in Melbourne, where she made a point of stopping on her escape to inform AP Asia-Pacific Sports Editor John Pye that she enjoyed to get the concern.

On the other side, baseball excellent Derek Jeter stated through a representative, “We have received a few of these requests over the last week. Mr. Jeter has deferred to allow others a chance to speak about Mr. Brady.”

OK, then. Without additional ado:

— MICHAEL JORDAN (Played 15 seasons in NBA … Pro Basketball Hall of Popularity, six-time NBA champ, six-time finals MVP, five-time league MVP, two-time Olympic gold medalist, NCAA champ)

“I’ve known Tom for a long time, and to me, his intelligence and sheer determination to win are off the charts. That unrelenting drive is what truly sets him apart from anyone else in the game.”

— LeBRON JAMES (Currently playing 18th season in NBA … Four-time NBA champ, four-time Finals MVP, four-time league MVP, two-time Olympic gold medalist)

“(Brady’s appearance) lets me know and lets both of us know that we can still play this game at a high level. No matter how many miles, how many games. No matter how many doubters. No matter the statistics in our prospective professions at our age, we can still dominate our sport.

“And also, we can bring together groups that we may not have been around for a long period of time. And just our professionalism … We gravitate toward people who gravitate toward us because we have one common goal, and that’s to win and win at the highest level.”

— SERENA WILLIAMS (Turned pro in 1995 … 23 Grand Slam songs titles, a lot of by any gamer in the Open Age … Four-time Olympic gold medalist in songs and doubles … She and older sibling Venus bought a little ownership in the NFL’s Miami Dolphins in 2009)

“The guy is a champion, and I’ve said it since he beat Kurt Warner back in, I want to say — what was that, 2000 (actually 2001)? It was that crazy Super Bowl. He was the underdog and they beat the Rams. Clearly I’m a football fan (laughing) … and I always thought, ‘This guy is impressive.’ … To do what he’s done outside of New England and to come into Tampa, I mean, he just should have came to the Dolphins, really. Seriously, Tom, what were you thinking? …

“I was actually talking about (Brady’s leadership) the other day after watching the game. I said, ’It must be so inspiring to be either a wide receiver or a lineman for him … or just on the team in general, because it’s like, ‘This guy has won so many rings, he obviously knows what to do.’ And to have that inspiration, they must be so fired up for every game. Especially the postseason, they must be like, ’Oh, my God, this is our chance, we’re with the greatest. …”

— MANNY PACQUIAO (Turned pro in 1995 … just eight-division world champ in boxing history … member of the Senate in the Philippines)

“Tom Brady is an inspiration to me. We are both in our forties, competing in sports that are dangerous and physically and mentally demanding. But that may be where the comparison ends. What he has accomplished, and is still accomplishing at his age is beyond anything I can remember.

“In 2019, I became the oldest fighter to win a welterweight world title. It was HARD. I was forty and knew … I could not cut one corner in training camp. Run that final mile, crunch that last set of sit-ups, rest even when you do not feel tired — it all has to be done. Tom Brady does that every day. He has no offseason. … That takes superhuman dedication and discipline … Tom Brady is always in the back of my mind during training camp and between fights. Because Tom Brady is the gold standard.”

— WAYNE GRETZKY (Played 20 seasons in NHL and in WHA … Hockey Hall of Popularity … Four-time Stanley Cup champ … Nine-time league MVP … still NHL’s leading profession objective scorer and help manufacturer)

“I don’t think it happens overnight. You start thinking about this at a young age, how much you love the game. So I’m sure that at a young age he loved it so much that he was very mature probably for a 23-, 24-year-old … making sure that his training habits, nutrition and diet were as good or better than anybody’s … Consequently, he’s done all the right things over 20 years to be able to sustain where he’s at both mentally and physically. … That takes a lot of dedication and hard work, and ultimately we’re seeing the results at his age …

“He’ll have a bad game, which we all do as athletes, and when you’re young, people say: ‘Well, he had a bad night, bad game, bad week. He’ll rebound.’ When you’re older, the first thing that people want to point to is, ‘Well, I think he had a bad game because he’s old.’ And for him, that’s not the case. When he has a tough night, which we all do, he bounces back even better the next week and everybody sort of says, ‘Well, OK, I guess he’s not that old.’ … I think the proof was that he won three road games in the playoffs, which in football is very difficult to do.”

— JIMMIE JOHNSON (Competed in NASCAR for 18 years … Seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champ … Will be a 45-year-old novice in IndyCar this season)

“His leadership brought out the talent of others. He plays as a team and not an individual. … Being humble can help a person cut through layers of adversity, ego, and creates this ability to energize those around you with the same goals — it helps people pull in the same direction. What he has accomplished is a lesson for us all.”

— LANCE ARMSTRONG (49 … Seven-time Trip de France champ; removed of all titles in 2012)

“He’s doing something we’ve never seen before. He’s playing one of the toughest games around and what is maybe his greatest strength has been his ability to keep a 43-year-old body as healthy as he has. This has nothing to do with genetics or luck. He must spend an incredible amount of time focusing on this: flexibility, mobility, pliability, and simply put, longevity. The world of sports has never seen anything like him and probably won’t for a very long time.”


AP Sports Writers John Pye, Stephen Whyno, Jenna Fryer and Steven Red wine added to this report.


More AP NFL protection: https://apnews.com/NFL and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL

Jobber Wiki author Frank Long contributed to this report.