What made former New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady such a great player?
It would take a while to list each one of his special skills.
Some that immediately come to mind are his ultra-high compete level, his extreme dedication and preparation, his arm strength, his ability to move around in the pocket, his football IQ and his ability to perform in the clutch under lots of pressure.
Manning makes surprising admission during Brady's new podcast
One of the hallmarks of an all-time great player is his/her ability to make their teammates better. And according to Patriots head coach Bill Belichick, that was Brady's "greatest skill."
"Tom always found a way to make his players productive,” Belichick said Monday on Brady's "Let's Go!" podcast. "So it didn’t matter who the receiver, who the tight end was. He could understand what would make Rob (Gronkowski) more successful, what would make Troy Brown more successful, what could Wes Welker do. Not ‘what did I do with Troy that I want to do with Wes Welker?’ but ‘how do I make Wes Welker successful?’ How do I make Randy Moss successful?'
"Those players were all great players, but they were all very different, and they had different skills, and Tom could always bring out the best of their skills. So, it was James White, the running backs -- whatever the position was -- Kevin Faulk. He made all those players great by understanding what their strengths were, and he understood how to use their strengths.
"Very similar to what Bill Russell talked about in terms of using the other teammates on the Celtics -- how to get those guys shots, how to get those guys points. I think of all the things that Tom was great at -- which is a long, long list -- his ability to make players around him better and more productive was ultimately his greatest skill."
Emotional Tom Brady opens up about relationship with Belichick
Brady definitely played with some great players, but it's not like the Patriots offense always had an elite running back, an elite wide receiver or an elite tight end.
In fact, he won his first three Super Bowl titles without any elite talent at wide receiver or tight end. He found ways to make players like Deion Branch, David Patten, David Givens, Troy Brown, Daniel Graham and others really successful, especially in clutch playoff moments.
Sure, it helps to have Hall of Fame-caliber teammates like Randy Moss, Rob Gronkowski and Julian Edelman, but any quarterback can make it work with those types of players. Brady was able to win at a historic rate with pretty much anyone because he knew how to maximize the strengths of his teammates.
It's one of many reasons why he holds so many league records, including the most Super Bowl rings with seven.