Best Quotes from the Man in the Arena: Tom Brady Documentary


  • This ESPN+ series is a largely autobiographical retelling of Tom Brady’s career from the University of Michigan to seven Super Bowl championships. This documentary’s title borrows from Theodore Roosevelt’s 1910 speech “Citizenship in a Republic“, which includes the famous “Man in the Arena” quote: “It is not the critic who counts…”
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“That particular quote (The Man in the Arena) was a Theodore Roosevelt quote that was in the weight room in Michigan when I first got there. I saw it every day for five years.”

Realizing my potential has been what my career has been all about. Things that I’ve dreamed about have actually come true. Things have happened in my life as I’ve kind of hoped they would happen.”

“I was born to be a football player.”

“I went to a college that was very focused on the team. And the roots of the Michigan program were built on what Bo Schembechler said:”

  • “No man is more important than the Team. No coach is more important than the Team. The Team. The Team. The Team.” — Bo Schembechler

“It’s about the team. And we ran out as a team and we celebrated in the end zone as a team. Because a team is a culmination of talent. And what can you add on a daily or weekly basis to get your team to win?”

Working hard is a very sustainable trait, part of your character. If you don’t have that, at some point the talent does wear off and you’re drafted based on your talent and your potential, but the sustainable part about talent and potential is working hard.

“Guys who were ahead of me were always physically way more gifted than me. I had to make up a lot of ground physically in order to catch them.”

Bill (Belichick) always used the line “you can’t win until you can keep from losing.” And that was a good lesson for us. If we could keep from losing, I think our defense was going to keep us in every game.”

“I love the bad weather because I feel like it slows everyone down, so my mind processes quickly but the game slows down, so my physical attributes as a player kind of match everyone else’s, slow and sluggish.”

[RE: Tuck Rule Game] “Without that play, there’s a lot of lives that are changed and trajectories of careers that are changed.”

[RE: 2002 Super Bowl] “I remember the people who run logistics for the league said… ‘this is the most secure place probably in the USA right now… There’s nothing that’s going to happen. You guys just feel free to play the game.’ And I think at that point we recognized like ‘wow, this is bigger than us.'”

“If you’ve never played in a Super Bowl, it’s super long. Like when you run out of the tunnel, it’s a different time frame. And you can over exert yourself… I went over to Tom and I just pulled him close and I’m like ‘bro, calm down. This is the biggest game ever. We need you. Just calm down and relax.” – Willie McGinest

“I think for Tom, it was an important lesson that you have to fight to stay in that position, to never give it up. You’ve got to do whatever it takes to continue to do what you do at a high level. Because there’s always that thought that the way I got my job, and what I went through to get it, there’s always someone knocking.” – Willie McGinest

You’ve got to be ready when your opportunity presents itself. I don’t think I was physically prepared. Was I mentally and emotionally ready? Absolutely.”

“I had a confidence in me. I always felt like, even going back to Michigan, I always said ‘man, if they put me on the field, they’re never going to take me off.'”

“I remember I was eating breakfast in Ann Arbor after a game one day senior year and my parents were in there with me… and I said ‘one day I’m going to be a household name.’ And I said it as a joke, but man I think I look back… fucking 23 years later and I go ‘fucking household name.’

“It’s like anything. It’s progress, and it’s evolution. It’s a series of small steps that seem so insignificant at the time that you’re making them but when you look back you realize the distance traveled.

“It’s been incredible for me to love what I’m doing. And to chase something for so long. And I’m still fucking doing it.”

Published by Neil Thanedar

Neil Thanedar is a scientist, entrepreneur, philanthropist, and activist. He is the founder & CEO of Air to All, a 501(c)3 nonprofit medical device startup designing low-cost respirators and ventilators for COVID-19 and beyond. He is also the co-founder and CEO of Labdoor, a consumer watchdog that independently tests and ranks supplements and other health products for its 20M+ users. He previously co-founded Avomeen Analytical Services, a product development and testing lab acquired for $30M+ in 2016. He has worked with community organizations since 2007 and political campaigns since 2016 to fight for better education and economic opportunities in Michigan.