‘You don’t have to be special.’ Tom Brady, the sixth-round draft pick turned five-time Super Bowl MVP, tells fans how he became a legend

Photo by Nic Antaya/UFL/Getty Images

In Tom Brady’s closing remarks at his induction to the New England Patriots Hall of Fame on Wednesday, the seven-time Super Bowl champion imparted the secret to his success in life before a crowd of 60,000.

“To be successful at anything, the truth is you don’t have to be special,” he told fans who came to Gillette Stadium to celebrate his career. “You just have to be what most people aren’t: consistent, determined, and willing to work for it.”

Brady, who retired from the NFL last year, is widely regarded as the most decorated player in league history. The former quarterback of the New England Patriots and Tampa Bay Buccaneers finished his career as the all-time leader in passing yards and passing touchdowns, and more wins and Super Bowl championships than any other player in the history of the NFL. He'll be eligible for the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2028.

But the narrative of Brady’s career isn’t just one of unparalleled success: it’s also the classic story of an underdog who overcame one of the worst workouts in NFL combine history, was picked 199th in the 2000 draft, and sat on the bench as a backup for more than a year before developing into one the greatest players of all time.

“No matter who you are, there are bumps and hits and bruises along the way, and my advice is to prepare yourself,” Brady told the crowd. “Football teaches us that success and achievement come from overcoming adversity, and that team accomplishment far exceeds any one individual's goals.”

Brady has generated a whirlwind of headlines over the past few years, not all of which were related to his performance on the field. In 2022, during the tail end of his final season with the Buccaneers, the quarterback finalized his divorce with supermodel Gisele Bündchen. At the time, rumors were circulating that the split was caused by Bady’s refusal to retire from the NFL—he had retired from the league once before, in February of 2022, but changed his mind six weeks later. Bündchen has since denied the claim.

Both before and since retirement, the future hall of famer has launched a number of business ventures outside of football. In 2024, he merged his wellness company, TB12, and his Brady Brand clothing line with the Boston-based sportswear company NoBull, becoming its second-biggest shareholder.

Not every enterprise has been successful. At one point, he owned more than a million shares of the crypto exchange FTX prior to its collapse. He is also a minority owner in the UK soccer club Birmingham City, but the team struggled last year, falling from the second tier of English soccer to the third—unlike Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney’s Wrexham AFC.

In 2022, Brady also signed a massive $375 million, 10-year contract with Fox. The deal made the former quarterback the highest-paid sports commentator ever, and he’ll provide color commentary for the network at the start of the upcoming NFL season.

This story was originally featured on Fortune.com