New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady rose from being an unknown to being the greatest of all time (GOAT) in his 20 years in the NFL. Before he achieved his current status as a six-time Super Bowl champion, Brady literally worked his way from the ground up. Coming out of Michigan, Brady was drafted 199th overall by the New England Patriots in the 2000 NFL Draft.

At that time, Brady was remembered for his unflattering image and his forgettable performance in the NFL Combine, where he tallied 5.2 seconds in the 40-yard dash, the slowest time among quarterbacks. Brady was hoping to be selected by his hometown team, the San Francisco 49ers, but Steve Mariucci, the team’s head coach then, said he was not impressed by the quarterback’s throwing ability, describing him as having just an “OK arm.” “There were some other guys that could shoot it,” said Mariucci during an episode of "NFL Films" about Brady.

Mariucci laughed at Brady’s Combine photo

Mariucci also laughed at Brady’s combine photo, describing him as “tall, gangly kid, looked like he’d never seen a weight room.” Looking for an athletic quarterback, Mariucci decided to pick Hofstra signal-caller Giovanni Carmazzi in the third round with the 65th overall pick.

Brady landed with the Patriots after head coach Bill Belichick took a chance on him after seeing his potential. Brady had the last laugh as Carmazzi never played a down in a regular season game for the 49ers and was cut after just two years with the squad. Brady, for his part, emerged as starter in his second season with the Patriots and has won six Super Bowl titles in New England.

Brady says Combine photo shows where his journey began

When asked about his Combine photo during the “NFL 100 All-Time Team” finale on NFL Network, Brady said he was not embarrassed by it at all. “It’s actually a great thing for me to see because it reminds me of where I started,” said Brady, per a report by Adam London of New England Sports Network (NESN).

The 42-year-old signal-caller said all NFL players have their own story to tell and the Combine photo showed where he started in his journey where he was a young player looking up at everybody. With a lot of help and support, Brady said he persevered to get better and better, which he is still doing until now.

Brady’s hard work has certainly paid off as he has won six Lombardi trophies since taking over as the Patriots starter in 2001. Recently, Brady was named as the second quarterback in the NFL 100 All-Time Team, behind his childhood idol, former 49ers quarterback Joe Montana. Brady called his inclusion in the NFL 100 All-Time team as an “incredible honor” even as he paid tribute to Montana, whom he looked up to while growing up as a 49ers fan. He was also picked by Sporting News as the NFL Athlete of the Decade and has led the NFL.com’s 2010s All-Decade Team with his three Super Bowl wins from 2010 to 2019.

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