In his first year as starter in 2001, Tom Brady led the New England Patriots to the first of their six Super Bowl victories with a 20-17 victory over the then-St. Louis Rams in XXXVI. Brady's achievements in his 20-year NFL career have earned him a spot in the NFL 100 All-Time Team as the second quarterback behind Joe Montana. During the reaction show after the NFL 100 All-Time Team announcement, Hall of Fame quarterback Kurt Warner, who was the Rams quarterback during that time, admitted that his team overlooked the fact that Brady could make a difference in the game despite his lack of experience on the big stage.

“In that Super Bowl back in 2001, as we preparing for that, he (Brady) was an afterthought. Who would have to worry about the quarterback. He’s not going to beat us,” said Warner. He said the Rams opted to focus their preparation on everything else, including the Patriots’ defense and what they do. “At that moment, I don’t think anybody had a glimpse that he would become the great Tom Brady,” admitted Warner.

Warner reiterates belief that Brady is the GOAT

With the game tied at 17-all with less than two minutes left in the game, Warner said they expected the Patriots to take a knee and take their chances in overtime. Instead, the young Brady displayed nerves of steel by engineering a nine-play, 53-yard drive that Adam Vinatieri capped with a 48-yard field goal as time expired, handing the Patriots their first Super Bowl win.

“Maybe that was the one little glimpse at that time that he had something different at crunch time and we have seen that throughout his career,” said Warner, who reiterated his belief that Brady is the greatest quarterback who has ever played the game. In that game, Brady completed 16 of 27 passes for 145 yards and a score while Warner completed 28 of 44 throws for 365 yards and a touchdown with two interceptions.

Mariucci says Brady serves as great lesson for scouting

In multiple interviews, Brady admitted that he was a San Francisco 49ers fan growing up and Joe Montana was his childhood hero. The 49ers had a chance of bringing in the hometown kid in the 2000 NFL Draft, but they opted to pass on Brady and take an athletic quarterback in Giovanni Carmazzi in third round.

Brady was later taken in the sixth round by the Patriots as the 199th overall pick. The 49ers have regretted their decision as Carmazzi did not play in a regular season game for the 49ers and was cut two years later while Brady was a huge success in New England. Steve Mariucci, the 49ers head coach then, said during the reaction show that Brady serves as great lesson for scouting and evaluation. “I was in the Draft room with the Niners…but when you start doing measurables and indicator if the guy’s gonna be great or not, that’s a big mistake,” said Mariucci, adding that they didn’t measure intangibles, such as mental toughness and leadership, especially for a quarterback. Earlier, Brady said that he used his NFL Combine photo serves as reminder of where he started in his journey in the pros.