Tom Brady may not be as quick as some other quarterbacks in the league, but don’t tell his mother that. She’s not buying it.
Tom talked about his mom’s unwavering support and his first experiences on the football field as part of a panel after the premiere of “Keepers of the Game” at the Tribeca ESPN Sports Film Festival on April 19. The panel, which was one of two, was hosted by the Dick's Sporting Goods Foundation through its Sports Matter initiative.
The documentary follows the Salmon River High School girls’ lacrosse team, comprised entirely of Native American girls from the Mohawk Nation. The team fights to raise money after its funding is cut and to gain support of a community that sees lacrosse as a sport for boys.
After the premiere, the two panels discussed the importance of youth sports and the impact being able to play as a kid had on their careers. The panelists included Serena Williams, Missy Franklin and Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred, among others.
In light of the film, Tom said he was lucky to grow up with parents who pushed him and supported his dreams – even if his mom believes in him a little too much.
“I’m so blessed that I had parents that never put limits on what I wanted to do and what I felt I loved,” Tom said. “My dad taught me that at a young age if you’re going to do it, give it everything you’ve got, and my mom was always the one that said ‘You can do it. You can do it sweetheart.’”
“She still does that. I would say, ‘Mom, guys like Cam Newton, Russell Wilson, they make all these great plays with their feet’ … ‘Well you’re just as fast as they are,’” Tom said, shaking his head and laughing. “I said, ‘Mom, I don’t know what you’re watching.”
Tom said that he was late to the game – literally – when it came to football, and his first team wasn’t exactly championship caliber.
“I was very much a late bloomer. I didn’t start playing football until my freshman year in high school. I didn’t even know how to put the pads in my pants when I showed up the first day of practice,” Tom said. “I was the backup quarterback on my freshman team, and we went 0-8, which tells you how bad our team was that I couldn’t even get in the lineup and we didn’t even win a game … I fell in love with the game when I played it that freshman year, and that perseverance to do something that I really felt like I loved to do.”
Four Super Bowl rings later, and we’re glad you decided to stick it out past freshman year.
Check out a clilp from the panel here.