Mindset or Muscle?

According to some statistics I saw recently, the average NFL broadcast (American Football) contains only 8.3% gameplay.  The other 91.7% is made up of players standing around in between plays, camera shots of the crowd and coaches, replays and commercials.

To put that into perspective, if you’re watching a 3-hour game, the TOTAL amount of action you’ll see is a tick under five minutes an hour! (Americans, feel free to dispute/justify that as the case may be!)

For that reason, I’ve never really been interested in American football, haven’t bothered to learn the rules, don’t know which teams are which; and didn’t pay too much attention earlier this month to Super Bowl LI (51 for the non-romans).

For the record; the Patriots pulled off the greatest comeback in Super Bowl history, clawing their way back from 19 points down in the final quarter to take the game into overtime with less than a minute to play and going on to win 34-28.

American Football revolves almost entirely around the position of quarter-back, and the Patriots are fortunate to have the player who many are now calling ‘The Greatest of All Time’: Tom Brady.

Tom Brady has won five Super Bowls, the most of any quarter-back.  He’s been named MVP in 4 super bowls, the most of any player.  He’s led his team to more divisional titles than any other quarter-back in NFL history, he’s won more play-off games than any other quarter-back, and he’s BEEN in more play-off games than any other player – period.

With a career like that; it would be fair to assume that he was in high demand when he arrived on the scene at the 2000 NFL draft.  Surely he was one of, if not THE first picks on the night?  After-all, he’s the best in the world now.

Well he wasn’t.  In fact, he wasn’t even the first quarter-back picked.  Tom Brady was finally selected by the Patriots, in the sixth round of the draft.  198 other players were picked ahead of him, including 5 quarter-backs.  If you had asked every NFL team to compile a list of their top picks for ‘most promising player’, Tom Brady only just sneaks into the top 200.

There was nothing obviously special about Tom Brady, in fact – there seemed to be a lot of things obviously wrong with Tom Brady.

According to his draft report he was: ‘Skinny’, ‘Lacks Mobility’ and ‘Lacks a Really Strong Arm’.

In other words he was: too weak, too slow and too skinny!

But there was one thing he DID have, which made all the difference: Attitude.  Tom Brady is famous for his mental toughness.  Then-member of the Patriots personnel staff Jason Licht said at a press conference prior to the season: “We were looking for the mental makeup … we did a lot of homework on him, on his mental makeup.”

The Patriots saw something that no other team saw that day (eventually) – and it’s won them 5 Super Bowls.  Attitude is what determines your altitude.  Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard.  Tom Brady isn’t the biggest.  He’s not the fastest and he’s not the strongest – but he is the best.

If a slow, weak, skinny quarter-back can turn himself into the best NFL player in the world by working on his mindset; what could you achieve?

“If you don’t believe in yourself why is anyone else going to believe in you?” – Tom Brady

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