Tom Brady, childhood 49ers fan and Bay Area native, knew exactly where he wanted to end up on draft night. So when the Niners selected another QB instead of him in 2000, it became personal.
Born in San Mateo in 1977, Tom Brady inevitably grew up as a huge San Francisco 49ers fan. He used to regularly attend Niners games at Candlestick Park with his father, Thomas Brady Sr.
Unsurprisingly, the budding QB was an admirer of Joe Montana, who was probably the greatest quarterback ever at that point (we all know who it is now). In fact, Brady was actually in attendance for one of the greatest moments in Montana’s career and in NFL history.
When Brady was 4, he was at the stadium for the 1981 NFC Championship game, when “The Catch” went down. Montana threw the game-winning touchdown pass to Dwight Clark, advancing the 49ers to the Super Bowl.
Considering all this, things were perfectly lined up for the 2000 NFL Draft. The 49ers were in the market for a QB, and Brady was available, although not very hyped despite his collegiate success.
Obviously, San Francisco passed on Brady – a decision they’ve surely regretted over the past 2 decades. But briefly, Brady was the one who needed to prove himself, and that’s exactly what he was determined to do.
Tom Brady and Michael Jordan Have Similar Mindsets
It’s no surprise that 2 athletes, who are arguably the greatest to ever do it in their respective sports, are wired similarly. When Tom Brady Sr. was interviewed for a mini-documentary for NFL Films a few years ago, he had an interesting way of summarizing his thoughts after SF selected Giovanni Carmazzi in the 3rd round.
“We had season tickets for the 49ers for 25 years,” Brady Sr. explained. “And we…we were just hurt. We kinda took it personally, if you will.”
Although this interview came out years before “The Last Dance”, the similarities pop out immediately. When the ultra-popular docu-series came out last year, some of MJ’s lines like “It became personal with me” and “And I took it personally” were instantly iconic.
Clearly, it’s the same killer mentality in both athletes that has contributed to their success. Just like Jordan still holds those grudges from 20+ years ago, Brady still feels as though he was wronged on his draft night.
Even though things turned out for the better, Brady still gets emotional talking about how he slipped so far in the draft. He and his family were expecting him to get selected much earlier, and trusted that the Niners would take a chance on him.
So when they didn’t, he remembered it, worked hard, and proved them so, so wrong. The QB that the 49ers selected instead of Brady, Carmazzi, simply couldn’t handle the pressure.
While Brady went on to win 7 Super Bowls and the consensus greatest player of all time, Carmazzi never played a single snap in a regular season game.