- REUTERS/Adrees Latif
- Tom Brady told Howard Stern that one of the most influential people in his life was a psychologist named Greg Harden, who helped him through some difficult times while in college at Michigan.
- Brady said that Harden helped become “more of a man,” and encouraged him to focus on what he could control rather than dwell on what he couldn’t change.
- “It was just a big shift in my mind, from me bitching and complaining all the time that I wasn’t getting what I wanted, to stop bitching and complaining and doing something about it,” Brady said.
- Brady credited Harden’s guidance as a key factor in him eventually winning the starting job at Michigan, as well as an inspiration for the Patriots epic comeback against the Falcons in Super Bowl LI.
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Tom Brady is known for his hyper-competitive nature and desire to win at all costs. It’s an intensity that helped him become the winningest quarterback in Super Bowl history, leading the New England Patriots to six titles and nine Super Bowl appearances over 20 years with the team.
While plenty of Brady’s coaches and teammates were key aspects of building the greatest dynasty the NFL had ever seen, Brady also credits a key figure from his college years at Michigan for the success he’s found in his career.
Speaking with Howard Stern, Brady talked about a psychologist named Greg Harden, with whom Brady remains friends to this day. Brady began working with Harden while adjusting to life in Michigan after growing up in California.
“I started working with a psychologist, who was really an amazing influence on my life,” Brady said. “It’s a little emotional. It was a very vulnerable time in my life. I was kind of questioning who I was because I had gone from California to Michigan. I was a long way from home. It was a different environment.”
“His name was Greg Harden. He helped me kind of grow up from this kid in California to really being more of a man, and being more on my own, and taking more personal responsibility for my life, because he wasn’t going to let me be a victim.”
Brady had come to Michigan under some rough circumstances. The coach who recruited him to play for the Wolverines had been fired, meaning Brady had to make his own case for a role with the team. Brady said that Harden helped him to recenter himself, focusing on what he could control rather than complaining about what he couldn’t change.
“It was just a big shift in my mind, from me bitching and complaining all the time that I wasn’t getting what I wanted to stop bitching and complaining and doing something about it,” Brady told Stern.
Brady said that with Harden’s help, he was able to focus on making the most of every opportunity he was given.
“If they only give you three repetitions in practice, do the best you can with those three. And then if you do well with those three, they’ll give you five. If you do well with those five, they’ll give you 10. And if you do well with those 10, they’ll give you 20,” Brady said. “I would only complain that I got three. ‘How could I prove myself if this guy is getting 30 and I’m getting three?'”
“And then finally I started doing great with those three. And then I did great with those five. Then I did great with those 10. Then I ended up being the guy who was getting 30, and the other guys were getting three.”
When Brady finally earned the starting job at Michigan, he led the Wolverines to a 20-5 record over two seasons, including wins at the Citrus Bowl and Orange Bowl.
Harden’s teachings continued to impact Brady’s career well beyond his college days. As Brady explained to Stern, Harden’s mantra of focusing on what you can control was a key component of the Patriots epic comeback in Super Bowl LI.
“We were down 28-3 in a Super Bowl against Atlanta in Super Bowl 51,” Brady said. “You could look at that situation and basically quit, and say ‘F— it, we have no shot at winning.’ Or you can say, ‘This is going to be an amazing comeback when we come back from this, this is going to be the defining moment in our life. The defining moment in our professional career.’ And I think when you shift your mind to think that way, it becomes very empowering, as opposed to very discouraging.”
Brady and the Patriots went on to erase that 28-3 deficit, defeating the Falcons in overtime 34-28, the fifth of six championships that Brady would win in New England.
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