- Tom Brady is known for being hard-working and coachable.
- According to Patriots coaches, that also puts pressure on coaches to be as knowledgeable as Brady, because he’ll know if a coach isn’t as informed as he is.
- Brady studies football so intensely that it permeates throughout the Patriots as others try to match his work ethic.
At 40 years old, Tom Brady may make football look easy, but behind his success is a huge amount of work and preparation for the game.
While that’s a blessing for any organization, Patriots coaches also say that Brady’s work ethic and knowledge of the game can be difficult to manage.
According to Houston Texans coach and former New England Patriots offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien, coaching Brady is “one of the most difficult jobs you can have as a coach.”
O’Brien told Mike Meltser and Seth Payne of CBS Houston in a radio interview that coaching Brady is challenging because Brady wants to be coached and is so well-versed in football that it, in turn, puts pressure on the coaches.
“One of the most difficult jobs you can have is coaching Tom because he wants to be coached. You coach him every single day, every minute of the day, and all year round because he’s all football. He’s a phenomenal guy and the reason why he is what he is, is because he’s obsessed with football. He’s a great family guy, don’t get me wrong, but I mean, he’s obsessed with football. So when you’re coaching him you better be ready to go at a moment’s notice whether it’s for a meeting, or practice or game, and it made me a much better coach when I was fortunate enough to coach him.”
O’Brien continued saying that Brady’s knowledge of the playbook and reading defenses means that he could pick apart good and bad play calls.
“If you called a play in the game – a lot of our plays are choices, you can run this or this – and either choice stunk, he would be able to in two seconds, change that to what he saw, boom, and this is what we’re running, and he did that. You can’t do that with everybody. And he did that with his own brain power, based on his own experience … He’s one of those guys, if he wasn’t a football player, I always say he could be a surgeon, a doctor, a lawyer, whatever, he’s that type of brain power.”
O’Brien isn’t the only coach to say this. Patriots assistant quarterback coach Jerry Schuplinski also told USA Today’s Henry McKenna that coaches have to be just as prepared, if not more so, than Brady because he’s going to fire questions at them.
“He sets the bar really high. If you’re going to have a meeting with him or present something to him, you’re going to have to be prepared because he’s going to have a lot of questions for you, and it’s because he’s done his homework already, and he’s seen a lot of the film. So he might ask you about a specific look or something along those lines. He’s just a tireless worker, and who knows a lot about the ability of the opposing defense all the time in addition to our offense.”
Former Patriots quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo also said he began picking up Brady’s study habits because Brady would be so far ahead of the rest of the team.
“He’d come in and already be a day ahead of everybody,” Garoppolo told McKenna. “If we were on third down, he studied third down yesterday.”
While any coach in the NFL can only dream of coaching a player like Brady, that doesn’t make the job any easier. In fact, like many great athletes, if a coach isn’t up to Brady’s standard, he’s going to know right away.