After playing college football for the University of Michigan, Brady was drafted by the Patriots in the sixth round of the 2000 NFL Draft. Due to his late draft selection, Brady is considered to be the biggest "steal" in the history of the NFL Draft. In Brady's 16 seasons as a starter, he has quarterbacked the Patriots to eight Super Bowl appearances, the most for any player in history.
Brady has been honored with four Super Bowl MVP awards (Super Bowl XXXVI, XXXVIII, XLIX, and LI), the most ever by a single player, has won three league MVP awards (2007, 2010, 2017), has been selected to 13 Pro Bowls, and has led his team to more division titles (15) than any other quarterback in NFL history. As of the end of the 2017 regular season, Brady is fourth all-time in career passing yards, tied for third (with Drew Brees) in career touchdown passes, and third in career passer rating. His career postseason record is 27–10, winning more playoff games than any other quarterback, and he has appeared in more playoff games than any player at any position. Brady has never had a losing season as a starting quarterback in the NFL. His combined regular-season and postseason wins are also the most of any quarterback in NFL history. Because of his accomplishments and accolades, many analysts and sportswriters consider Brady to be among the greatest quarterbacks of all time.
For his alleged involvement in the highly publicized Deflategate football tampering scandal, Brady was suspended for the first four games of the 2016 NFL season. Subsequently, Brady went on to win Super Bowl LI and was awarded Super Bowl MVP that season.
Brady was born in San Mateo, California, the only son and fourth child of Galynn Patricia (née Johnson) and Thomas Brady, Sr. He has three older sisters, named Nancy, Julie, and Maureen. He was raised Catholic. His father is of Irish descent, while his mother has German, Norwegian, Polish and Swedish ancestry. Brady's great-great-grandparents on his father's side, John and Bridget Brady, were Irish refugees from the Great Famine who moved to San Francisco from Boston prior to the American Civil War. They were accompanied by Bridget's sister Ann and her husband Lawrence Meegan, the parents of the 19th Century American Major League Baseball player "Steady" Pete Meegan. Brady's great uncle, Michael Buckley Jr. was, also, the first American prisoner of war during World War II.
In the 1980s, Brady regularly attended San Francisco 49ers games at Candlestick Park, where he was a fan of quarterback Joe Montana; since then, Brady has mentioned Montana as his idol and one of his inspirations. At the age of four, Brady attended the 1981 NFC Championship against the Dallas Cowboys, in which Montana threw The Catch to Dwight Clark. As a child, Brady attended football camp at the College of San Mateo where he learned to throw the football from camp counselor and future NFL/AFL quarterback Tony Graziani. He grew up as a Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics fan.
Brady attended Junípero Serra High School in San Mateo, where he graduated in 1995; the ceremony was held at St. Mary's Cathedral. He played football, basketball, and baseball in high school. He played against Bellarmine College Preparatory rival Pat Burrell in both football and baseball. Brady's football career started as the backup quarterback on the Padres junior varsity team. At first, Brady was not good enough to start on the 0–8 JV team that had not scored a touchdown all year. However, when the starting quarterback went down with an injury, he ascended to the starting position. He became the varsity starter his junior year and held the position until he graduated. By Brady's senior year, he struggled getting on the radar of college coaches. He created highlight tapes and sent them out to schools he would consider attending. This led to strong interest from many football programs around the nation.
The process of recruiting was much different during Brady's time, and athletes' rankings were not as prominent. In terms of recruiting in the 2000s, Brady would have been considered a four-star recruit. In essence, he was a highly rated prospect. Brady was also on Blue Chip Illustrated as well as a Prep Football Report All-American selection. Following his recruiting process he narrowed down his list to five main schools. "Probably the ones that we did hear from and ultimately pared the list to were Cal-Berkeley, UCLA, USC, Michigan, and Illinois," his father said. As a Cal fan, his father hoped that Brady would attend the nearby Cal, where Brady was a silent commit, and be able to watch his son play.