Patriots' Tom Brady was almost a San Francisco 49er 

click to enlarge Tom Brady, the 199th player taken in the 2000 draft, is now flourishing. - GETTY IMAGES FILE PHOTO
  • Getty Images file photo
  • Tom Brady, the 199th player taken in the 2000 draft, is now flourishing.

INDIANAPOLIS — It could be better for Tom Brady. He could be playing for the 49ers, his team when he was a kid. Such a Niners fan.

“I’d run around the parking lot at Candlestick in my Joe Montana jersey or Steve Young jersey,” Brady said. “Throwing the ball. There were some great times.”

These aren’t bad times. On Sunday, for a fifth time, Brady — the one known as “Tommy” when he was growing up in San Mateo — will be playing in a Super Bowl. That it will be for the New England Patriots is perhaps the only part of the story he would amend.



Twelve years ago, and Tom Brady Jr., quarterback from the University of Michigan, graduate of Serra High School, keeps slipping in the NFL draft. First round. Second round. Third round, the Niners take ... no, not young Mr. Brady, but Giovanni Carmazzi.

Tom is brokenhearted. Carmazzi, also a Californian (from Sacramento) is elated. He never plays a down. Now he’s a farmer north of San Francisco. Brady is a superstar and a celebrity, and with a win against the New York Giants in Super Bowl XLVI, he would equal the record of four victories that Montana shares with the Pittsburgh Steelers’ Terry Bradshaw.

Steve Mariucci, the 49ers’ coach in 2000, now a commentator for NFL Network, has said the Niners only had 45 minutes to see Brady in a workout. They weren’t impressed with his delivery. What they ignored was his presence, his ability to respond to a situation.

The situation he’s in now, at age 34, seems ideal. He sat in his little booth Monday at Lucas Oil Stadium and responded to questions the way he would to a blitz, knowing what was expected. Not exactly painting by numbers, but very close.

“Look at this,” he said, motioning toward the two dozen cameras and four dozen reporters spread in front of him. “You never take this for granted. It’s pretty cool to think as a kid growing up that a bunch of young people would come to watch us play a football game.”

Tom Brady Sr., an insurance man, had four season tickets to Niners games. His wife, Galynn, one of the couple’s three daughters — each older than Tom — and Tom would attend home games, the girls rotating.

“We’d sit on the press box side at Candlestick,” Brady said, “about the goal line, about 10 rows from the top. There was always the same group of people sitting around us. There were some great times rooting for the 49ers then. They were winning so many games.

“It was really great growing up in the Bay Area at that time and watching two of the greatest quarterbacks who ever played. I began to love football. Football is such a big part of that community out there, and certainly because the 49ers were winning so much.”

Winning helps, but the 49ers, the hometown team, the one which was created in 1946 in San Francisco and didn’t move from New York or Philadelphia, always held a special place in the hearts and minds of Northern California. When the Super Bowls began to arrive in the 1980s, a dream was realized.

Now Brady, the 199th player taken in the 2000 draft, is trying to realize his own dream. Unfortunately, it’s not with the 49ers.

Art Spander has been covering Bay Area sports since 1965 and also writes on www.artspander.com and www.realclearsports.com. Email him at typoes@aol.com.

About The Author

Art Spander

Art Spander

Bio:
Art Spander has been covering Bay Area sports since 1965 and also writes on www.artspander.com and www.bleacherreport.com. Email him at typoes@aol.com.
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