For 20 seasons, Tom Brady only knew one way — the “Patriot Way” — but it took just one additional season to realize that it wasn’t the only way to achieve success.
“When you’re in one place for 20 years, you think that’s the only way,” Brady told ABC’s “Good Morning America” in an interview that aired Wednesday. “And I think when you go to a different place, you realize, ‘Wow. There’s another way that people do things.'”
He later added: “I was the new guy for the first time, you know. And that was a really different experience.”
Those new experiences resulted in a familiar outcome, as Brady won another Super Bowl championship — his seventh overall — in his first season with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He signed with the Bucs as a free agent last offseason, leaving behind the legacy he built with the New England Patriots
“I think that’s a great part about football,” Brady told GMA. “It’s not really about what you did last year. It’s kind of, what you’re going to do this year. So, for me, it was what I was going to do for the Bucs last year. I still feel that way.”
“That’s a big part of what I understood last year: Things are gonna be different. I try to work within what’s currently happening, but still try to do the best I could do. All of it was really, really amazing – obviously with the way the season ended – so it was a great year.”
It was also the first season that he had played for a head coach other than New England’s Bill Belichick.
“[Bruce Arians] is a great motivator,” Brady said of the Bucs’ coach. “He’s got a great feel for the team … a great pulse for what’s going on in a locker room, great intuition, great evaluation of talent.”
And at age 43, Brady relied on motivation to keep his competitive fire stoked en route to winning his fifth Super Bowl MVP award.
“I was always kind of motivated by people that say, ‘You can’t do it,” Brady said. “You know, ‘you’re not good enough, you’re not fast enough, not big enough, not good enough arm.’ I’ve had a body of work over a period of time and … quickly you forget.”
That body of work isn’t finished. Brady is tied with the Bucs through the 2022 season after agreeing to an extension this offseason that saved $19 million against the salary cap for 2021. And with that money, the Bucs kept the band together, with all 22 starters on offense and defense returning to the team to defend its title.
“I don’t think proving it, for me, is the motivation,” Brady told GMA. “I still want to play. I got like a little sickness in me that just wants to throw a frickin’ spiral, you know what I mean?
“Once you stop, you can’t go back and do it. I got some more football [left in me]. I mean, not a lot – and I know that. But what I got left, I’m gonna go and give everything I got.”