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Friday, November 10, 2006

Was Tom Brady Unhappy at Michigan?

One of our readers left us this link in the comments section. It's from ESPN.com and contains the excerpt below from the new book, Moving the Chains: Tom Brady and the Pursuit of Everything by Charles P. Pierce.

"This is the journey Tom Brady has taken on. It began in a family wherein the spirit and documents of the Second Vatican Council mean as much to his development as any playbook. It moved along to college, where the whims of incompetent coaching nearly brought it to an end. It proceeded into the NFL, where it benefited by a brutal injury to another quarterback and where it has arrived, finally, at the opening game of the 2005 season. A Thursday night at home, September 8, 2005, against the Oakland Raiders."

Incompetent coaching, huh? Was this simply the writer's opinion because Brady wasn't the full time quarterback until his senior year? Or was this something Brady implied if he co-operated with the writing of the book? I'd really like to know because, from everything that I've read, Brady is very supportive of Lloyd and his staff. Furthermore, the impression I've always gotten from him is that the time spent fighting so hard and competition to become the starting QB at U-M helped mold him into the great pro QB he is today.


Jim Harbaugh - The Return said...

Incompetant coaching such as winning the national championship and the orange bowl and the citrus bowl during his stint at Mich.

Anonymous said...

Tom Brady is a putz.

screwa2 said...

wow - how quickly the UM faithful turn on their 'Golden Boy' QB.

hard pill to swallow if he truly feels this way - huh?

Andy said...

The fact is... Tom Brady was treated badly here. Most M fans I know wanted Drew Henson to play more during his Brady's 2 years as starter.

I have no issue with him expressing his feelings on his time in A2 and will continue to cheer for him in the NFL.

Q1Go said...

Tom Brady's final year was my freshman year at Michigan, and I was at every home game, 2 away games, and the bowl game (yay Marching Band), and Tom Brady functioned more as Drew Henson's QB coach than as a quarterback in his own right. There was a lot of discussion among football fans that year about whether he'd go pro or go into coaching because he was very good at that. He did get somewhat rudely pushed aside for the ingrate Devil spawn, but at the time, it was about preparing the program for later years. Everyone just bet on Henson sticking around. If we had known then what we know now....

Other Andrew said...

I really get sick of NFL media personalities saying that "Brady wasn't even the main guy when he was in college - he had to fight Drew Henson for playing time." This is technically true, but Brady started every game, and Henson pretty much got ever second quarter. It seemed to me that this was done primarily to keep Henson from going to baseball. I thought it was the right idea, but Henson screwed us anyway. Note that we only lost two games that year - Illinois and Michigan State. The losses in those games were not Henson's fault, but had Brady played the entire games, I think we would have won them both (vs. Illinois, Henson engineered one TD drive which was 100% running plays, then took a bad sack to take us out of field goal range - the team choked in the second half and lost by eight - but it was really one as they let Illinois score a TD to get the ball back). Vs. MSU, Henson got both the second and third quarters as the offense with Brady at the helm didn't do much in the first. Brady came back in the fourth and nearly brought Michigan back to the lead, scoring (I believe) two TDs, but there was not enough time to complete the comeback.

At the time, it all made sense. "Well, it sucks that we lost those two games, but if it keeps Henson around so we don't have to play some random redshirt freshman from Wisconsin, it's worth it." I never rooted for a Michigan alum to fail in the NFL until Henson came along...

Anonymous said...

Are we sure he was really unhappy? Everytime I have heard him speak of his Michigan days he has never sounded like he was unhappy. A lot of players fight for the starting position, that does not mean he was unhappy. Plus, I have seen him at a few games on the sidelines. If he hated Michigan would he do that? Plus, if he was "unhappy" that is his own problem. If he wants to be like the rest of the ego-maniacs in the NFL then that is his problem, but I am not convinced that is the case.

js said...

I don't really care what TB has to say about his stint at Michigan*, but he should have told his writer to keep the philosophical waxing to a minimum?

Success is an anodyne. Adulation is a powerful anesthetic. It deadens the pain of that moment when the physical destruction of the sport darkens the heart and bleeds the soul.

*) I always think that he looked quite unhappy for having to "share" the QB jow with Drew Henson, but even then he looked like an NFL caliber quarterback. Just look at the numbers: As a two-year starter, he finished with 5,351 career passing yards and a .623 completion percentage. In his two years as a starter, he averaged 202.8 and 215.5 yards per game while sharing the backfield with the A-Train. When he left, he held the school record for most attempts (350) and completions (214; twice) in a season. He threw 56(!) times at OSU and 41 times at MSU. In his final game, he threw for 46 times vs. Alabama. How much more should the coaches showcase him? It's not the Michigan coaches' fault that NFL scouts (almost) completely missed out on him.

From Michigan Daily:

Carr reminisced that early into Brady's Michigan career he was struggling and actually considered transferring. But those thoughts lasted just one day.

"He came back the next day and said, "Coach I love it here at Michigan. I'm going to stay here. I'm going to prove to you what kind of quarterback I can be." "

Anonymous said...

Brady might still be riding pine if Bledsoe didn't get hurt while at New England.

Whatever happened with that accusation from Bonds' juice trainer that he and Bledsoe met? I thought it was just a red herring to get them off Bonds back for a few weeks, but I never heard any more of it.

Anonymous said...

Even if he ws unhappy (which I don't think he was) who cares? I mean so you may not have been the sole starter years ago in college, but you are one of the top QB's in the NFL, make millions of $$ & date a hot model. It's history, move on.

Can't spell Lloyd without 2 "L's" said...

I can't imagine Brady being too bitter; look how things turned out for him. I'm sure that the last thing he's worried about when he's banging a hot chick on a bed full on Benjamin's is how he got screwed at Michigan.

I pretty much felt all along he should have been the starter. Brady did really well at U-M, and that's with his rhythm being disrupted continually by the "need" to put Henson in. I wouldn't really blame Carr, but I also don't think it was fair to Brady. I felt he was a clear #1.

Anonymous said...

Tom Brady never said that and never even spoke to the guy that wrote the book.

Anonymous said...

Anon 7:26 (mem) meant to say Bonds' trainer claimed he met (or was goingto meet) with Brady... not Bledsoe like my original post said.
I thought it BS, but just never heard what came of it. I can;t give Brady too hard of a time since he's been my fantasy QB for the last 2 years.

Benny Friedman said...

I don't know if there's anything there with Bonds and Brady. They did go to the same high school (Serra HS in San Mateo, CA) though.

OCBlue said...

Brady did get jobbed at Michigan his senior year. If he would have played every game, all game instead of doing the quarterback shuffle to keep Drew Henson placated, Michigan would have won the National Championship that year. Playing a star recruit just to keep him happy is not the Michigan way where the whole team is comprised of Bluechippers and all the guys have to fight for PT and wait their turn.

Michigan lost to Michigan State and Illinios because of LLoyd's experiment. In both those games Brady nearly salvaged victories.
Take a look at the 1999 roster some time and see how many NFL players (majority still playing today!)were playing for Big Blue that year and you'll cry in your beer.
David Terrell
Jeff Backus
Steve Hutchinson
Tom Brady
Larry Foote
Ian Gold
Dhani Jones
Cato June
James Hall
Victor Hobson
Aaron Shea
Bennie Joppru
Tommie Hendricks
Rob Renes (the only All American)
Are you kiddin' me!
I'm loyal Blue through and through but I think I could win a National Title "coaching" these guys

Lichty said...

Heres a story from Sid Hartman in Minneapolis who interviewed former Michigan QB Benchwarmer Jason Kapsner about Brady after he destroyed the Vikings on MNF.


Sid Hartman, Star Tribune

Jason Kapsner, who played his high school football for Mike Grant at Eden Prairie and then collegiately at Michigan, looked back at his days in Ann Arbor and said he recalled that Tom Brady, now the great quarterback of the New England Patriots, considered transferring because he was so deep on the Wolverines depth chart.
"Tom was a year ahead of me, and when I first got to Michigan, Brady, frustrated by not playing, was ready to transfer to another school," said Kapsner, who is very friendly with Brady and had Brady in his wedding.

"I think basically he was really kind of the last quarterback on the depth chart. [The coaches] really weren't that hot on him at all. He [runs] very slow and he still is, to this day, not really a great athletic quarterback. He really had to earn all the stripes and show himself in practice every day.

"Finally, the coaches really couldn't ignore how well he was doing, and obviously that's how he continued to grow over his career."

What a show Brady put on Monday night at the Metrodome, when he completed 29 of 43 passes for 372 yards and four touchdowns in New England's dominant 31-7 victory over the Vikings.

Kapsner, a backup quarterback during his four years with the Wolverines, said the Michigan coaches essentially ignored Brady in 1996 and '97. In 1998, Drew Henson, as a freshman without taking a snap, moved ahead of Brady, then a junior, on the depth chart.

"To me, quarterbacking isn't about being a great athlete or anything like that. Quarterbacking's all about your leadership ability and your mental capacity," Kapsner said. "Brady went through a lot of hard times at Michigan and had to fight for every down he got to play. He deserved and he earned every ounce of playing time because, quite honestly, the coaches didn't want to play him; they were trying every way, I think, not to play him. The coaches really wanted to play Henson, so that kind of mental toughness [by Brady] translated very well into the NFL."

After redshirting as a freshman, Brady rarely played his first two years of eligibility before starting his junior and senior years.

Kapsner had been recruited by Minnesota when Jim Zorn was on the Gophers staff. Zorn later became the Detroit Lions quarterback coach.

Kapsner said before the 2000 NFL draft that he and Brady worked out the same day for the Lions. Kapsner tried to encourage Zorn to get the Lions to draft Brady.

"I really didn't grade him out that high," Zorn told Kapsner about Brady. Kapsner said he recalled telling Zorn he was making a mistake, and as it turned out, Brady has developed into one of the NFL's greatest quarterbacks, with three Super Bowl victories.

"He's just a great leader. That is what quarterbacking's all about," Kapsner said.

Brady made one college appearance against the Gophers, with Michigan winning 15-10 at the Metrodome. Brady was sacked four times in that game, going 19-of-27 for 282 yards and one touchdown. He also recovered a key fumble when the score was tied 10-10 in the fourth quarter.

BaggyPantsDevil said...

This is one of those areas where a college coach falls victim to the Bart Simpson paradox: you're damned if you do and you're damned if you don't. If a coach has a lot of players go on to great success in the NFL, the question is, "why didn't you win national championships with those guys?" If a coach has few players go on to success in the NFL, the question is, "why can't you adequately develop your talent?"

It's not like Tom Brady is the only athlete who was vastly underrated by the NFL (and we shouldn't forget that they've overrated quite a few as well). Here's a list of some Hall of Fame quarterbacks and the draft rounds they were selected in: Norm Van Brocklin-4th, George Blanda-12th, Bart Starr-17th, Sonny Jurgenson-4th, Fran Tarkenton-3rd, Roger Staubach-10th, Dan Fouts-3rd, Joe Montana-3rd, and Johnny Unitas-9th. Yes, Johnny Fucking Unitas was the 5th player taken in the 9th round and 101 other players were taken before him. Were all these quarterbacks also victimized by "incompetent coaching" as well?

And as for the "incompetent coaching" comment, hasn't it been a complaint of us Michigan fans that the "Tom Brady Years" represent the peak of Lloyd Carr's coaching career? Let's take a look, shall we.

1997: 12-0 #1 AP Poll
1998: 10-3 #12 AP Poll
1999: 10-2 #5 AP Poll

Yeah, I wish I could be so incompetent.

Tom Brady going in the 6th round speaks less about how he got mishandled at Michigan and more to what is wrong with how the NFL evaluates its players. I was shocked when no one selected Brady until the 6th round because he was an excellent quarterback at Michigan. What he did in his first Super Bowl was the same thing he did in the Orange Bowl against Alabama or against Penn State earlier that season. Brady's strengths are his team ethic, competitiveness, and intelligence decision making when under pressure. The NFL Combine evaluates none of those. That's why the NFL misses the mark on many quarterbacks.

I think writers are simply trying to create drama in the Tom Brady story by turning his fairly steady progression into an outstanding NFL quarterback into a story about how he was so poorly treated and miserable at Michigan that he almost quit the game but endured great adversity and triumphed over evil. Kind of like Dan Devine being turned into the villain in "Rudy."

I guess Lloyd Carr can look forward to a scene in "Moving the Chains: The Tom Brady Story" where the cinematic Lloyd Carr forces the cinematic Tom Brady to crawl face down through the mud in a downpour while berating him and calling him a worthless failure ("You're no Drew Henson, Tommy!!!"). As Lloyd walks off, leaving Brady to run up and down the bleachers 5000 times, the camera zooms in to Brady, glaring defiantly in Lloyd's direction, as he says "I'll show you." In fact, golden-boy Henson—as well as all the Michigan fan who wanted him to start—makes an excellent sidekick for "evil" Lloyd.

I've often wondered if the stories are true since I haven't seen any comments from Brady contradicting them. Of course, doing so and saying something like, "the only reason I got drafted so low is because the NFL is run by morons and they wouldn't know a good quarterback if he drilled 60 yard throws into the backs of their empty heads" wouldn't be in his best interest and would also go against his team ethic since his is currently employed in the NFL. I also think a man as successful as Brady doesn't feel a whole lot of bitterness towards anything that has happened in his life.

surrounded in columbus said...

just a couple of thoughts on tom terrific-

his "struggle" began before he got to A2. despite winning a ton in high school, he was very little recruited and michigan was the only "big" school to offer him a scholarship.

having arrived relatively unheralded, he was redshirted behind dreisbach/Griese, then sat behind Griese two more seasons. while Brian wasn't hall of fame material in the pros, as a college starter he was 17-5 overall, 3-0 against tosu, and won everything in '97. not too many guys would have broken into the line up in that situation.

the real controversy was '98-'99, and i think it's hard to judge those events fairly knowing what we know now. we all know now that Henson is a quitter, can't hit curve balls, and is destined for ignominity (except maybe as a trivia question like "name the two players drafted ahead of michael jordan", etc.) and that brady is a 3 time sb mvp. but then, brady was a slow drop back passer (how many times do we read the same complaint about henne/navarre?) and henson a fast, multi talented athlete.

looking back, the platoon system seems silly. at the time, it seemed like a great way to bring henson along.

in reflection, the two are mirror opposites- brady has always had talent and has always struggled to get people to see it- not just carr, but all the ncaa & nfl coaches that passed on him.

henson, the evil, opposite twin, has always had people drool over his talent- the reds/yankees, every ncaa coach, the nfl (mkjr included), and then after the failed baseball, jerry jones- and has never lived up to his promise.

Anonymous said...

I vividly remember that game against MSU in 1999. When Brady was yanked after the 1st quarter Michigan trailed 7-3. The offense continued to sputter under Henson (mostly because it's hard to get into a rhythm when you keep changing QBs who have very different playing styles!!). And then Drew threw a deadly INT that lead to a TD and 27-10 lead for Sparty. Brady was then brought back into the game but it was too late. Despite a furious and heroic comeback, replete with 3 TD passes, our sieve of a Defense (thanks Herrmann!!) couldn't keep Sparty out of the endzone. Alas, 34 points was just too much to overcome, as time expired with Brady driving his team down the field yet AGAIN.
Carr never gave Henson as much meaningful PT in a close game again that season.
The Illinois game was just a terrible meltdown, and in fact Brady may have been the biggest goat (besides our sieve Defense) in that game. He threw 2 crucial INTs late in the game that sealed an Illini victory. That loss cost us any chance at the MNC, and if anything it was as much Brady's fault as anyone else.

Lichty said...

To me Brady defined himself with the 1999 comeback against Penn State. That final drive from deep in our territory was masterful.

I don't remember when Brady put Henson on the bench for good, but even I who was looking forward to more Henson, agreed that Brady was the man.

His win against Bama was the exclamation point. I am surprised that Brady has done this well, but not surprised that when given the chance he has done well. The guy always came up big under pressure and he was fun to watch in 1999.

OCBlue said...

It is absolutely ridiculous to platoon your quarterbacks. That system has never been successful.
I don't think anyone would argue that Brady should have played in 1997, but by 1998 with Greise gone it should have been unquestionably his team.
Henson appeared in 8 games in 1998 and 10 games in 1999. How can you have a cohesive offensive system when you're switching out your quarterbacks by the quarter like it is some sort of NFL preseason game?
Henson should have only been brought in for mop up time with the game well in hand to gain experience. You don't platoon your quarterbacks by the quarter to season them with real contested games on the line.
Brady clearly was the better quarterback and he proved it becasue he was the quarterback who was playing late in the game when we were down. He would bring the team back only to be rewarded with the platoon system the following game. I think LLoyd was finally convinced after the overtime game with Alabama.
It made Brady a better and more resilient quarterback for the future at the expense of some potentially alltime great Michigan teams.

1201 S. Main St. said...

Brady got hosed by UM's love of Henson. Though I like Henson getting PT, I was one of the few banging the drum to go with Brady and stick with him. For the most part the team played better with Brady in...however, I don't think anyone would've predicted his future NFL success.

Don't hate Henson - he was offered $17 million which included a $4.5m signing bonus. That's alot of money to turn down for a 20 yr old kid. Hate tOSU alum and major football booster George Steinbrenner. Basically a tOSU booster found a way to take UM's Heisman hopeful out of the equation. For a few million Steinbrenner bought OSU a victory over UM the following year. Hate Steinbrenner.

Rick_Leach_7 said...

Now, am I completely out of my tree, or didn't Brady miss a significant part of the 1997 season with an illness (possibly mono)?

If that's the case, his limited playing time during that campaign certainly can't be blamed on Coach Carr.