With college football returning in the not too distant future, let’s take a look at one of college football’s great stories: the beginning of Tom Brady‘s Hall of Fame career.
From 1995 until 1999, Tom Brady attended the University of Michigan. In his first two years as a Wolverine, Brady filled the role of backup quarterback. In spite of playing few minutes, in this role he was a part of the undefeated 1997 team, within which quarterback Brian Geese led the team to a Rose Bowl victory and the National Championship. With Geese’s success at the helm of the team, Tom had a lot to do in order to replicate his performances.
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In 1998, it was finally time for him to get his opportunity. However, with local star Drew Henson in the mix, Brady once more had competition for the starting role.
This season was pivotal in shaping the legendary player we all know today. He set Michigan records for pass attempts and completions in a season, totalled at 214. To cap off the 1998 season, the Wolverines shared the acclaim of the Big Ten Conference title with Wisconsin and Ohio State. Furthermore, Brady led his team to a 45-31 win over Arkansas in the Citrus Bowl.
In 1998, head coach Lloyd Carr was unsure of who to select for starting quarterback. Firstly because Henson was a dual-sport athlete in high school, thus the thinking was that if Henson wasn’t given appropriate minutes on the field, then he’d elect to play baseball for the school instead. During the first half of the season, the pair interchanged. Brady would start, leading to Henson taking over for the second half.
After winning their first five games, the Michigan Rivalry marked a vital stage in Brady’s collegiate career. Henson took over at the half, as per usual, however after a poor performance by Henson, Brady was reactivated into the huddle. Down by 17, Brady fell short of retrieving the victory, despite his efforts. The game ended 31-34.
The next game, the Wolverines lost to Illinois. However, Brady amassed 307 yards which was enough to impress the coach.
As captain of the team, Brady solidified his starting role on the team.
The true beginning of greatness
After Coach Carr made the decision to go solely with his man, Brady truly took his game to a whole new level.
Tom led his team to many comebacks through his tenure as starting quarterback. His 31-27 win over Penn State Nittany Lions is one example of this.
Brady led his team to a nail biting 24-17 victory over Ohio State in the last game of the season in front of a crowd of over 110,000 people.
Tom Brady and co. journeyed to Pro Players Stadium for the Orange Bowl. Here, they faced the 10-2 Alabama Crimson Tide. After a somewhat turbulent game for his team, Brady threw for four touchdowns, including the game-winning pass in overtime.
In just two seasons as a starter, Brady had accomplished more than most. He ended his career at collegiate level with 35 touchdowns, 442 completions, 5,351 passing yards and an exquisite record of 20-5.
The rest is history
In the 2000 NFL Draft, Brady was selected 199th overall. With six quarterbacks selected before him, Tom was once again undervalued.
Despite this, Brady has surpassed all of the quarterbacks selected before him in his illustrious career. In the process he has won five Super Bowls and consolidated his legacy as the Greatest Player Of All Time.