Tom Brady does not care about combine metrics or the genetic code. Tom Brady had to outthink, outsmart, and ultimately destroy everything everyone ever knew about that. He needed to put an end to the shallow world of combines, athletic tests, and scouts in stands who never played the game, but somehow were given the keys to judge players anywhere and everywhere. No one thought he could do it. They said he was not athletic, too slow, too gangly, too weak.

Everything Tom Brady had to do, in front of millions of people, was beyond his control. How does anyone control their athletic ability? Their god-given muscle mass? The randomness behind height and speed? NFL scouts took this picture of him while at the combine the year he entered the 2000 draft:

The most shallow industry in is professional sports. They judge just about every player on physical attributes. Can he jump high? How long are his arms? How big are his hands? Can he bench press and what is the width of his shoulders? All of these questions, no matter how good or smart you are, come up in the world of sports. The NFL, especially. A machine obsessed with athleticism and looks. Strength and speed. A factory for those who won the genetic code. But guess what? Brady proved all of that wrong. He’s the reason why doors will open for countless players well into the future who never had a chance to win the strange phenom known as the genetic lottery. The pure luck of being born with some athletic gene that makes you stronger and faster than everyone else.

When this post was originally written, when it was researched, we looked into all the starting quarterbacks at the time. No one had a worst combine than him. No one had a worse 40-yard dash time. He was the slowest and in the world of sports, he should have been written off and excused before he even had a chance to get into a game:

No one could have predicted what happened next. Of all the starting quarterbacks in the NFL right now, and all of the ones listed above, Tom Brady has had the best career. He’s won more Super Bowls than all of them. He’s passed for more yards and touchdowns than every single one of them. He will be in the hall of fame. He will be the greatest quarterback to have ever played. More importantly, he will be the most influential athlete of our time, tearing down walls and stereotypes based on athleticism when the mind, the intelligence, and the work ethic can be far more effective. Only those who took the time to meet Brady, to study his game, and to follow his personal journey would have seen the potential he had.

The point is, we have set up barriers around sports, industries, schools, and just about every other institution that commands our attention. The so-called experts attempt to measure success, they attempt to wall off and protect their position, and they build barriers to defend themselves from you. It is perfectly normal to do this as people want to protect their jobs, social status, and positioning. The takeaway from this story, however, is to always remember that you can’t let their walls stop you from doing something no matter how many people or themes tell you it isn’t possible. You have to prove them wrong. You have to outthink them.


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If you missed it, I wrote about something similar to this called, Then and Now. On the slow grind of change and how sometimes it takes time for your message to be heard and understood.