Undoubtedly one of the highlights of the 2023 Vault Conference was Patrick Bet-David’s nearly two hour-long interview with football’s GOAT Tom Brady.
“This is now kinda my home town,” Brady started off. “I’ve been bouncing around to a lot of different places over the years: grew up in California, went to school in the Midwest, played in Boston for 20 years, and then in Tampa.” Much of Brady’s interview centered around his upbringing in San Mateo in the San Francisco Bay Area and his ascent through high school and college football, zeroing in on the importance of discipline above all.
“I grew up in a very sports-centric family, I had three older sisters who I always say were better athletes than I ever was. I was just like their punky brat little brother that would follow them to their softball games,” Brady said. Humility was a key theme which Brady kept implicitly coming back to as he worked through the interview questions. He also discussed going to the batting cages and golf courses with his father. He credited his supportive family members and the “60 to 70” neighborhood kids that instilled in him a lifelong love for sports.
“I didn’t know how to put the pads on in my pants when I tried out for freshman football, I mean I had never played until that point except in the streets,” Brady said. “My freshman year, I didn’t even play. I was the backup quarter back for a team that went 0-8.” The audience laughed, Pat included. “That says a lot. I couldn’t get on the field, and we never won a game anyway. I mean it’s one thing to be the starting quarterback and to lose; if they don’t even think you’re good enough to be a starting quarterback on a team that’s 0-8 you must really suck.” Tom said the only reason he got promoted was because the quarterback quit.
Tom then went into the hard work and grit that self-improvement requires. He talked about working out at 6:00 AM before school, doing rope drills and hills, saying how he was one of the three guys who would show up every single day. He said he pushed himself to grow in physical prowess, where he was lacking: “because naturally no one’s good at everything, that’s just not the way life works […] But we can really continue to improve our weaknesses if we’re humble enough to identify them and we can build on our strengths.”
“But a lot of that has to come with this understanding about yourself, that what you know is very limited, and what you don’t know is limitless.”
Tom talked about the importance of who you surround yourself with. Beyond his family, whom he repeatedly credited for his success, he talked about a high school coach Tom Martinez, one of his “great mentors,” as well as coaches Bob Vinal, Perry Carter, and Joe Hesh later in his high school days when he was junior varsity quarterback.
Things started all over when Brady went off to college at the University of Michigan, which he chose because of the greatness of its stadium and sports program. He underscored how important it was that he chose a school for the opportunities it would give him rather than a more comfortable option like a California school where it would be warmer, closer, and where his mom could do his laundry for him.
Then, when his optimistic hopes were dashed after being numbered the 199th pick in the sixth round of the NFL Draft, Brady had to get serious. “What did I learn? I wasn’t the prodigy. I learned about work ethic, I learned about resilience, I learned about gaining the trust and the respect of my teammates and my coaches to name me captain, I learned about how to dig deep within myself a long way from home without a ton of support.”
He talked about how Bill Belichick saw something in him when he showed up as the fourth quarterback in line for the New England Patriots. He also talked at length about his team culture and how crucial it was to have good team members: “you need people that drive the culture when you turn your back […] Willie McGinest, Tedy Bruschi, Mike Vrabel, Troy Brown, Wes Welker, Kevin Faulk, Matt Light […] We all drove the culture and then no one was gonna f**k it up,” Brady said.
According to Brady, a restless desire to achieve Excellence-in-itself is what truly drove him. “Money didn’t motivate me, fame didn’t motivate me, I didn’t give a sh*t about any of that, I always took less money because I wanted a good team around me. I didn’t care about going to all these different places and doing those things, I just wanted to be my best and go out there and the team believed in me and I didn’t want to let them down. Every year was different, just like in your business,” he motioned to the crowd. “Every year was different. You can’t sit there and say, “God we had a great year, let’s just do the same shit!” Like, you don’t think everyone’s watching? The whole competition is watching — especially if you’re good.”
He returned to the concept of discipline and the importance of not resting on one’s laurels: “Discipline, and I would say consistent discipline, would be one of those prodigy like-strengths that I had,” rather than throwing arm, speed, or size that other players had. “But I did have something inside of me that no one could see from the outside, this level of discipline that I could accomplish something that was really important and really special.”
Brady also showed love for famous athletes in other sports, naming Barry Bonds (whom he noted also went to his high school), Lionel Messi, and Michael Jordan among his heroes.
In his introduction before the interview started, Bet-David make a point to express how important the athlete is to his family. “In our family, everybody was required to watch “Man in the Arena,” everybody,” he said, referring to the ESPN+ documentary on Brady’s career. “All my kids that are in the back catching a ball with him, they’re enamored with him, because they’ve watched “Man In the Arena” over and over and over again.”
Bet-David and his sons passed a football around with Brady. “Just another day running routes for @TomBrady” Patrick joked, adding that the “sit down with him was unbelievable. He was on fire.”
Just another day running routes for @TomBrady.
Todays sit down with him was unbelievable. He was on fire. pic.twitter.com/hG2ka6tFVq
— Patrick Bet-David (@patrickbetdavid) September 2, 2023
To cap off the great interview, Bet-David unveiled a gift for Brady: a 600-pound painting depicting the course of Brady’s outstanding career.
PBD surprises Tom Brady with a unique gift.
His reaction is priceless! pic.twitter.com/zCCnxOxTq7
— Valuetainment Media (@ValuetainmentTV) September 4, 2023
Tom Brady retired from the NFL in February 2023, ending a 23-season career that has led countless journalists to name him the GOAT. Brady secured more Super Bowl titles for one team (tied with the Pittsburgh Steelers) and won more Super Bowls than any other player in NFL history, with six for the New England Patriots and one with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
He also won the Super Bowl MVP five times, more than any other player, and is the record holder for the most passing yards, the most passing touchdowns, the most quarterback wins, and the most Pro Bowl selections in league history. Brady is the “only player to win a NFL title in three different decades and is the only starting quarterback to win a Super Bowl with two different franchises in each conference,” according to CBS Sports.
Overall, Brady’s regular-season record boasts 251 wins and 82 losses, and his 35-13 postseason record is 19 more than his childhood idol Joe Montana’s, who has the second greatest postseason record. He also defeated every single team in the NFL at least once, one of only four players to do so.
Valuetainment continues to punch far above its weight, even as we relentlessly progress onwards and upwards. Patrick’s ability to score such outstanding guests should serve as a constant source of inspiration to aspiring writers and broadcasters everywhere, just as the love and loyalty from our fans inspires us to keep the good content coming. The best is yet to come, and as always, The Future Looks Bright.