Tom Brady tells top NFL rookies don't let social media, branding come first: 'You're not going to win'

Every NFL rookie heads into their inaugural season in the league hoping to take the right steps forward toward glory, but Tom Brady warns this journey isn’t just an individual one. 

Fanatics CEO Michael Rubin hosted a luncheon with six first-round NFL Draft picks from April, and Brady, alongside rap mogul Jay-Z, dished out key pieces of knowledge for them heading into their new professional lives. 

The attendees were Chicago Bears No. 1 pick Caleb Williams, New England Patriots quarterback Drake Maye, Washington Commanders quarterback Jayden Daniels, Denver Broncos quarterback Bo Nix, New York Giants receiver Malik Nabers and Las Vegas Raiders tight end Brock Bowers. 

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One of Brady’s key concerns for young players entering the NFL is how they seem to take too much about their own personal accomplishments and brand instead of the team as a whole. 

“When you have 53 guys on the team, you think it’s about you. It ain’t about you. It’s about us,” Brady said sternly in a video shared by Rubin. “And the biggest problem I see with a lot of the young players today, you guys are making it too much about I and me. Because of social media, because of branding and all that. It’s fine… you’re not going to win.”

Brady added: “There was a difference between being a star and being a champion.”

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Brady has said something to the same effect in the past on the “DeepCut with VicBlends” podcast last month, explaining his pet peeve with the younger generation of athletes. However, college sports has allowed name, image and likeness brand deals to occur for these top-tier student-athletes, who already have personal branding on their minds when they enter the league. 

But the seven-time Super Bowl champion is the epitome of someone who achieved NFL stardom, but cared only about the team’s success. That’s how he had two decades worth of winning in New England, and in his first season with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, he secured that seventh and final ring before his eventual retirement. 

Success doesn’t have to be measured on a field, though, which is why Rubin invited Jay-Z to speak about how his hustle got him to where he is today well beyond the music business.

“Your talent gets you there,” the 24-time Grammy winner said. “Your work ethic and your discipline takes you to where you want to be.”

Rubin echoed Jay-Z’s statement about what work ethic can do for you no matter the area of expertise. 

“I’m unrelenting, like I will not quit in anything I do and I never got there on, you know, educational background and never got there on skill. It was work ethic and hustle,” he explained. 

Each rookie was attentive when their elders were speaking, and Brady dished out more advice about how he went about his work ethic at any given moment on the field. 

“Every day of practice is important. You know why? Because when I was on the Patriots, and we had 20 years of winning, every day was a big day. I treated a preseason game, I treated a regular-season game like it was a Super Bowl. So, when I got to the Super Bowl, it was just another day for me.

“There should be nobody in your life that should have higher expectations for you than you.”

Each of these rookies will be tasked with making an immediate impact on their teams in 2024, especially the quarterbacks, all of whom are expected to start for their respective franchises in Week 1. 

Hearing and learning from those who have reached the top of their fields in business, sport and music can go a long way in establishing the proper mindset and core values needed to achieve greatness at the professional level. 

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