Tom Brady delivers powerful message on hard work during Patriots Hall of Fame speech: ‘No shortcuts’

After the New England Patriots and all the great names that made that franchise a dynasty had welled with pride and tears and shown bravado and humility in front of about 60,000 fans at Gillette Stadium on Wednesday, the limelight fixed where it ultimately always went for two decades.

On Tom Brady.

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Former New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, right, greets former Patriots head coach Bill Belichick, left, on stage during Patriots Hall of Fame induction ceremonies for Brady at Gillette Stadium, Wednesday, June 12, 2024, in Foxborough, Mass.  (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

And the greatest quarterback of all time, in the house to accept a red blazer as the newest member of the Patriots Hall of Fame, did what he so often did during his career.


He delivered.

Tom Brady Nails It As Usual

Brady spoke for 20 minutes as he humbly accepted owner Robert Kraft’s announcement that No. 12 would be retired, and a statue would be commissioned and erected outside the stadium. 

In becoming the 35th player to be inducted into the Patriots Hall of Fame, Brady spoke of his teammates, coaches, and family. He spoke of his friends and competitors. He thanked them all.

He also thanked and hugged Kraft and former coach Bill Belichick before praising the kitchen staff and people who cleaned the players’ locker stalls. He covered all the bases.

And in typical Brady fashion, it was an outstanding performance.

“To be successful at anything,” Brady said, “the truth is you don’t have to be special. You have to be what most people aren’t: consistent, determined, and willing to work for it. No shortcuts.

“If you look at all my teammates here tonight, it would be impossible to find better examples of men who embody that work ethic, integrity, purpose, determination and discipline that it takes to be a champion in life.”

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Former New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady waves to the crowd at the conclusion of the Patriots Hall of Fame induction ceremonies for Brady at Gillette Stadium, Wednesday, June 12, 2024, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

Brady Tells Belichick It Was Us

I’ve obviously not heard all the great sports speeches ever delivered. Not even close. But I’ve heard great speeches delivered at Pro Football Hall of Fame inductions and other ceremonies. Delivered before and after NFL games. Delivered in retirement. And delivered amid laughter and tears.

Brady’s speech was the best.

The best.

This speech did it all. It addressed Brady’s curious relationship with Belichick and the ongoing narrative that it was Brady who was responsible for the Patriots’ success rather than Belichick’s coaching. 

“It wasn’t me,” Brady said. “It wasn’t you. It was us. Our hard work, our love of the game and the way we worked for one another, that’s what it was all about.

“Let me make this crystal clear, there is no coach in the world I would rather play for than Bill Belichick.”


It is obvious Brady has wondered about and even asked himself some poignant, hard and even deep philosophical questions.

He has also arrived at some answers.

“Twenty years,” he said. “Seventeen division titles, six Super Bowls, how did we do it? What can we learn? And how can we apply those things going forward?

The foundation of a successful team, a family or business is asking what you can do to support the mission. The Patriots embodied that. Everyone was committed to winning. Everyone was selfless. Everyone was always asking, ‘What can I do to help the team win?’”

Play The Game, Brady Says

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Former New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, left, speaks with Patriots owner Robert Kraft as they arrive for the Patriots Hall of Fame induction ceremony for Brady at Gillette Stadium, Wednesday, June 12, 2024, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

Brady made hundreds of millions of dollars playing football and the question now that he’s retired is whether sons Jack and Benjamin will follow in his footsteps.

“My response,” Brady said, “is that I’ll support them in any of their dreams. Whatever makes them happy, makes me happy.”

But …

“I would encourage everyone to play football for the simple reason that it is hard,” he added. “It’s hard when you’re young to wake up in the offseason at 6 a.m. to go train and work out, knowing all your friends are sleeping in and eating pancakes. 

“It’s hard when you’re on your way to practice weighed down with all your gear and it’s 90 degrees out, while all the other kids are at the pool or at the beach. And your body is already completely exhausted from workouts and two-a-days.

“It’s hard to throw, catch, block and tackle and hit kids when they’re way bigger and way more developed than you. Only to go home that night bruised and battered and strained, but knowing you have to show up again the next day for just the chance to try again.

“But understand this: Life is hard … My advice is to prepare yourself. Because football lessons teach us that success and achievement come from overcoming adversity and that team accomplishment far exceeds anyone’s individual goals.”


Tom Brady: ‘I Am A Patriot’

Brady addressed Patriots fans, thousands of whom began arriving for the 7 p.m. ceremony three hours ahead of time – as if it were an actual game day.

“Am I proud of our championships? Yes,” Brady said. “Am I proud of our winning records over the years? Yes. But what I am proudest of is the people’s lives who we impacted here and across the country. They might have cheered for us or against us. Some may not have liked us, but they certainly ended up respecting us.

“Sometimes when I ask myself why me? The answer is that I’m the messenger here to tell the world how amazing Patriots fans really are.”

And, of course, Brady deflected attention off himself and onto his teammates. He did this multiple times.

“Every stitch and every single thread of this beautiful red jacket is woven together by the experiences and adversities we endured,” he said addressing the 100 or so former teammates in attendance. 

“Every single one of you made my life better. If you thought you learned a lot from me, the reality was I learned way more from you. We fought together, we bled together, we cried together, we celebrated and won together. And I would go to battle with any one of you guys because I know what you’re all about.”

Brady ended this emotional night with a message. His blue eyes filled with tears, his voice cracking, he told the crowd:

“You humble me. You make me proud. And I am eternally grateful. I am Tom Brady. And I am a Patriot.” 

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