I recently got the chance to interview all-time great quarterback Tom Brady. Tom needs absolutely NO introduction but for anyone who has been living under a rock for the last 7 years may want to know that Tom has won three Super Bowl rings with the New England Patriots, including back to back Super Bowls in 2004 and 2005 and is regarded as one of the best quarterbacks of today and all time.
This past year he led his team to an unblemished regular season record of 16-0 and set the single season touchdown record with 50 touchdown passes! In a Bodybuilding.com exclusive interview Tom sits down to chat with us for one of his first interviews after Super Bowl XLII.
You are still a young guy, but you have already won three Super Bowls and played in countless playoff games. Is there one win in your career that really stands out in your mind and has special meaning?
Well honestly we've had so many big wins over the years; I tend to remember the losses more so than the victories. Obviously, last week's game is still fresh in my mind and that really stung, but you try to move on from it and use it to motivate yourself for the next year.
The NFL is known as a league where there is so much parody that many people consider dynasties almost impossible to develop. What is it about the Patriots that allows your team to be consistently at the top even though they have similar turnover to all the other teams?
I really think that it starts at the top and goes all the way down. We have the best coach in the league, probably the best coach in the history of the game, one of the best owners in game, and management does an incredible job drafting, bringing in free agents, and getting together the right coaching staff and personal to maximize our performance.
Everyone all the way from ownership down to the training staff is just great at what they do and there is so much consistency in the organization that everyone feels very comfortable in the system we have in place.
Speaking of coach Belichick, I have never heard a current or former player of his to ever have anything bad to say about him, but he gets slammed in the media all the time. Why do you think he has such a negative image in the media and what's it like playing for a great coach like that?
I respect coach Belichick immensely as a coach and as a person, I can't speak for all the other guys but I know I just love playing for a guy who cares so much about winning. I have known plenty of coaches who have a great public image but were not good coaches. I think any player in the NFL is going to want to play for a great coach that cares about winning above all else.
This past season is going to be very difficult for you all to improve upon given how successful it was. Is there any aspect in particular that you feel you can improve to be even more effective next season?
We had a great year on paper but we didn't accomplish the goal we set out with. Our goal was not to go undefeated; it was to win the Super Bowl. We did not do that so obviously we have some things to improve upon next season in order to win the Super Bowl next year. We made quite a few mistakes against the Giants that didn't really come up earlier in the year and so we'll need to improve upon that.
The media made a big deal out of how this year's team seemed to try and really stick it to anyone who said anything negative about the Patriots. Did those negative comments from other teams ever truly make a difference in motivation or were the big win totals just a function of you doing everything you could to win?
Those things didn't really matter. Every time we took the field we just played the absolute best we could. We ran the plays that were called and the plays that were called were put in place because we felt they gave us the best chance to win. When you have a good game plan and you execute it well you are going to put points on the board regardless.
It seems like the teams that played you close this year and gave you trouble (Colts, Eagles, Ravens, Giants, Chargers, Jaguars) all had a good pass rush. Is working to combat that something you think will be a focal point this off-season?
You know I think every good team in the NFL says, "We have to rush the QB." The best defenses out there constantly hit the QB. If you give an NFL quarterback time to sit back in the pocket and get comfortable you aren't going to win many football games.
The Giants are a great team and they played a great game, that's why they are Super Bowl champs. I never went into any games this year thinking we were unbeatable. We just came out each week and played our hardest and we made enough plays to win during the season and also had a few things go our way. In the Super Bowl we just didn't make enough plays to win.
In football injuries occur frequently, in your case the well publicized ankle ordeal this past year. What do you do to rehabilitate injuries in-season and do you feel the injury was well taken care of; enough that it didn't affect you?
Over the course of six months of football you are going to get a lot of bumps and bruises. I think each player works to find a way to keep himself healthy as best he can for games and for practice because if you can't practice consistently you aren't going to improve.
I felt that this was my best year in terms of staying healthy. I had no major injuries. When I do get injured I make sure to get treatment for it using the training staff at my disposal to help with my recuperation. I also started using Myo-Med to help with the aches and pains from injuries as well as to help speed my recovery. Right now less than a week after the season I feel just as good as when it began so I really feel like it made a big difference for me.
Can you give us a brief overview of your weekly training in terms of weight lifting & cardio work and how does that differ from in-season to off-season?
During the season I typically lift weights four days per week: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. I take off Wednesday, Saturday and obviously we play most Sundays. I also do 40-60 minutes of cardio six days per week in order to improve my conditioning.
I try to mix up my cardio using a variety of machines like the stepper, precor, as well as some running. In the off-season I still do cardio six days per week 40-60 minutes per day but I do more running than in-season. In the off-season I also switch my weight lifting over to a routine more so orientated toward strength and my sessions are usually about 25% longer since my body isn't beat up from playing.
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I always try to eat clean, as a professional athlete; I feel that's what my body demands. I have never been much of a junk food eater; I just try to get enough quality protein in along with healthy snacks like fruits, veggies, granola and nuts.
You seem to have a knack for being able to take a few steps and avoid the pass rush. Do you do any particular drills or exercises to work on your mobility?
I was never blessed with great speed so in order to avoid pass rushers I have always done a lot of work on improving my mobility. I do a lot of drills involving shuffling and sliding as well as quite a bit of jump rope to improve my quickness and shiftiness.
I also do footwork drills to improve my coordination as well as hand eye coordination drills.
Do you use any supplements? If so, which ones?
I'm sure you've taken some shots in your career, but does any particular hit stand out to you where you just got absolutely rocked?
Yes! In the game against the Eagles this year there was a hit where I didn't see the guy coming and he flew in parallel to the ground and just absolutely leveled me and landed on top of me. I didn't suffer an injury from it but I wanted to rub Myo-Med all over my body after that one (laughs).
Well Tom, I really want to thank you for doing this interview and for your insightful answers, we really appreciate it.
No problem Layne, thank you.