Tom Brady is a six-time Super Bowl champion, four-time Super Bowl MVP and three-time NFL MVP, making him arguably the greatest quarterback of all time. But before he was leading the New England Patriots to annual contention for the Super Bowl, he was playing under center for Michigan.
Here’s a closer look at Brady’s college career.
The vitals on Tom Brady
Weight: 225 pounds
Years active: 1996-99
Here are Tom Brady’s career stats in college. Scroll to the right to view the complete stats.
Where did Tom Brady go to college?
Tom Brady attended Michigan, choosing to attend school in Ann Arbor rather than Cal, after going to Juniper Serra High School in San Mateo, California.
What kind of prospect was Tom Brady in high school?
“Neither of the quarterbacks signed,” wrote Steve Kornacki of the Detroit Free Press, “Tom Brady and Johnson, was recruited with the purpose of competing for the starting job as a freshman.”
“(Michigan coach Lloyd) Carr said he would prefer to redshirt freshman quarterback Tom Brady of San Mateo (Calif.) Juniper Serra, and would likely play him only if Jason Carr and (Brian) Griese were injured,” wrote Kornacki. “‘Tom has very good potential and has done a very good job,’ Carr said. ‘He’s a smart kid and I expect him to do a good job. He’s certainly prepared to play. He doesn’t have the experience, but has the ability.'”
What was Tom Brady record in college?
In Brady’s four years at Michigan, the Wolverines went 40-9, including a 20-5 record when Brady moved into a starting role as a junior and senior. Michigan went 10-3 in 1998 and 10-2 in 1999.
Records set by Tom Brady
While Tom Brady doesn’t hold any FBS records, his name appears throughout Michigan’s record book.
- T-3rd in Michigan history in passing touchdowns in a game: Four touchdowns vs. Alabama, Jan. 1, 2000
- 4th in Michigan history in career 200-yard passing games: 15 games
- T-4th, T-9th in Michigan history in most 200-yard passing games in a season: Eight games (1998); seven games (1999)
- 5th in Michigan history in average passing yards per game in a career (min. 20 games): 172.6 yards/game
- T-5th in Michigan history in lowest interception percentage in a career: 2.67 percent
- 6th, 9th, 28th, T-42nd in Michigan history in single-game passing yards: 375 yards vs. Ohio State, Nov. 21, 1998; 369 yards vs. Alabama, Jan. 1, 2000; 307 yards vs. Illinois, Oct. 23, 1999; 285 yards vs. Michigan State, Oct. 9, 1999
- T-6th in Michigan history in most 150-yard passing games in a season: 10 games (1999)
- 7th in Michigan history in lowest interception percentage in a season (min. 100 attempts): 1.75 percent (1999)
- 7th in Michigan history in average passing yards per game in a season: 215.5 yards/game (1999)
- 8th, 10th in Michigan history in passing yards in a season: 2,636 yards (1998); 2,586 yards (1999)
- 9th in Michigan history in career passing yards: 5,351 yards
- 9th in Michigan history in career 150-yard passing games: 18 games
- 10th in Michigan history in career touchdown passes: 35 touchdowns
- T-10th in Michigan history in longest passing play: 76 yards to Tai Streets vs. Minnesota (1998)
- 11th in Michigan history in total yards gained in a career: 5,180 yards
- T-11th in Michigan history in single-season touchdown passes: 20 touchdowns (1999)
- 13th, 14th in Michigan history in total yards gained in a season: 2,539 yards (1999); 2,528 yards (1998)
- Responsible for Michigan’s longest passing play of the 1998 season: 76 yards to Tai Streets vs. Minnesota (1998)
What were some of Tom Brady’s best games in college?
As a junior at Michigan, Tom Brady set the school record for most passing yards in a game and it came on the road against rival Ohio State of all opponents. Brady completed 31-of-56 attempts for 375 yards, a mark that now ranks sixth in program history. “But the Wolverines had no ground game, gaining 45 yards rushing and losing 41 for a net of 4,” reporting the Lansing State Journal. “Michigan acknowledged the difficulty of moving on the ground, but thought its reliance on the arm of Tom Brady — he threw 56 passes, completing 31 for 375 yards with two interceptions— at least partly a matter of circumstance.”
In a road game against Minnesota in 1998, Brady found Tai Streets for a 76-yard touchdown, which was the school’s longest passing play of the season and it’s tied for the 10th-longest passing play in school history.
Brady threw for 369 yards in his final college game against Alabama in the Orange Bowl. He completed 34 of 46 passes, which ranked third in school history at the time and ninth in program history today. “How perfectly fitting. On the final day of its season, Michigan again trailed and rallied and astounded and frustrated,” wrote Bob Wojnowski of the Detroit Free Press. “And it again stood behind its senior comeback quarterback, Tom Brady, and pulled out an improbable victory. Brady’s 25-yard touchdown pass to Shawn Thompson on the first play of overtime was the difference, but it wasn’t the winner. The winner was a missed extra point by Alabama’s Ryan Pflugner, giving U-M a bizarre 35-34 Orange Bowl victory that won’t be forgotten for, oh, another millennium.”
“Every time the Wolverines have teetered under Carr, they’ve recovered, with this season one of the toughest tests,” wrote Wojnowski at the conclusion of Michigan’s 1999 season. “Carr was scrutinized weekly about his quarterback juggling. Ultimately, Tom Brady played well, and despite huge holes in the running game and secondary, U-M won big games.”
What awards did Tom Brady win in college?
- 1999 All-Big Ten honorable mention
- 1998 All-Big Ten honorable mention
What did people say about Tom Brady?
- Tom Brady on being the backup (Sept. 1996): “I knew (the situation) coming in. I’ll settle for that if that’s the case. I’m going to work my butt off and whatever will be will be. You never want to settle for second. You don’t win second place, you lose first place. Whatever role I play, whether it’s starting quarterback or demo quarterback, I’m going to work my butt off to help this team win the Rose Bowl.”
- Angelique Chengelis of the Detroit Free Press (Dec. 1996): “The father of backup quarterback Tom Brady apparently phoned Michigan coaches this week to inform them his son will return next season. ‘That’s what I’m told,’ Carr said. There had been a great deal of speculation concerning Brady’s future. The redshirt freshman, who alternated at backup with Brian Griese, played in only two games this season and completed 3 of 5 attempts.”
- Former Michigan coach Lloyd Carr (Sept. 1997): “Tom Brady has made tremendous strides. A year ago I think he entertained thoughts of leaving because he was very disappointed that he was not named the starter. He came into his sophomore year with great expectations. But he stayed, and he’s made a lot of progress.”
- Detroit Free Press (Oct. 1997): “(Brian) Griese’s backup, sophomore Tom Brady, will miss today’s game after undergoing an appendectomy Thursday. He will be out indefinitely.”
- Detroit Free Press (Sept. 1998): “And Tom Brady will start today – after a three-year wait – though he knows nothing is permanent here except the urgent drive to win.”
- Tom Brady (Sept. 1998): “You don’t get a starting job at Michigan by default. You go out and earn it.”
- Nicholas Cotsonika of the Detroit Free Press (Sept. 1998): “The Wolverines, defending national champions, are 1-2 entering the Big Ten season. But Brady isn’t the reason. No matter how uncertain the quarterback position was entering the fall after the departure of Brian Griese – or how uncertain it remains, with freshman Drew Henson pushing to start – Brady has emerged as solid and stable, confident and capable. By no means is Brady a star. He is still establishing himself as a leader, still smoothing the rough edges of his game. But he is doing what was expected of him – making steady progress – and he hasn’t become a focal point for criticism.”
- Detroit Free Press (Nov. 1998): “Late in the third quarter and into the fourth, Michigan quarterback Tom Brady made several big plays to maintain a lengthy drive for the Wolverines. He made a 21-yard pass to Tai Streets to get U-M from deep in its territory. He also lunged 2 yards on fourth down for a first down, and he recovered a fumble on the Michigan 47 by Anthony Thomas that could have proved costly.”
- Angelique Chengelis of the Detroit Free Press (Nov. 1999): “Fifth-year senior quarterback Tom Brady didn’t need to play the entire game to have it be the best of his career. Brady threw three touchdown passes for the first time in his career. He hit David Terrell for a 26-yard touchdown, Marcus Knight for 45 yards and Bennie Joppru for 11 yards. The touchdown to Joppru gave the Wolverines a 34-0 lead with 13 minutes left in the third quarter, and that was the last time Brady played.”
- Detroit Free Press (Nov. 1999): “With the victory, Michigan finished the 1990s with a 50-12-1 record at Michigan Stadium … Tom Brady threw a touchdown pass in all 16 of his Big Ten starts the last two years.”
- Tom Brady (Nov. 1999): “We’ve had our backs against the wall. When you do that, you can look at it two ways, you can say, ‘Oh, it’s too much pressure, we can’t handle it’ and fall apart. Or, you can tell yourself, ‘OK, no more mistakes.'”