“You can’t survive in the NFL without giving lifestyle an emphasis,” says Connolly, who just completed a soon-to-be-published book on sports science titled Game Change, “and for a long career it has to be all aspects.” In that sense, Brady’s longevity is more than just luck. His all-encompassing approach to the variables that he can control has made Brady the master of his own destiny, making his desire to play into his mid-40s all the more realistic.
Very few people become professional athletes. It’s not enough to have good genes or develop some good skills to get into the big leagues. You have to work hard and train. To be an NFL player takes dedication and personal application. To be an NFL player who last more than a few years takes even more dedication and training. To be an NFL champion requires even more than that (plus some luck). To be a Pro Bowler and a Hall of Famer takes even more. But what Tom Brady is doing is unprecedented.
Most pro athletes train outside of their regular seasons, on their own. They hire training staff and even go to sports physiology training centers. But Brady has gone even further by orienting his whole life around his drive to succeed in his profession. Everything he eats, everything he drinks, every way he schedules his days, the way he works out, the way he recreates. Everything is oriented to the goal. You don’t find that sort of single-minded, uncompromising dedication very often today.
As a Patriots fan, I’m very pleased to think that Tom Brady will play for years to come. But I’m also inspired by the way he lives his life and what a role model he can be for others.