What Tom Brady Does When He Meets New Patriot Players for the First Time Is What Most Famous People Never Do
And that’s a shame, because Brady’s approach is the perfect start to a better professional — and personal — relationship.
PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images
I've met a lot of really famous people, and they tend to fall into two basic camps.
In most cases -- even if the whole point is for us to sit down together, like for a scheduled interview -- it goes something like this:
I walk in the room. Other people in the room look up, notice me, and make eye contact. Most smile or nod. The famous person doesn't look up. He's (it's always a he) "busy" even if he's not actually doing anything.
I walk over to introduce myself to him. "Hi," I say, "I'm Jeff Haden. It's great to meet you."
We shake hands. Occasionally he makes eye contact. But he doesn't introduce himself. After all, I know who he is, right?
While you hold that thought, imagine that you're Patrick Develin. You played college football, didn't get drafted by an NFL team, managed to play one game in the Arena Football League, made the Bengal's practice squad for a year and were then let go... where professional football careers are concerned, you're as fringe as fringe can be.
But then by great good fortune you find yourself signed to the practice squad of the New England Patriots.
Surely, when you walk into that locker room, you feel shy and insecure. And surely, when you walk onto that practice field for the first time, you feel like a very small fish in a very, very large pond.
And then a very familiar figure walks all the way across the field to greet you. ""Hi, I'm Tom Brady," the Patriots quarterback says.
"Obviously," Develin says, recalling that moment, "I knew who he was."
As Dan Wetzel writes, Brady's goal wasn't to make sure Develin, now a key member of the Patriots, knew his name. Brady knows that every football player knows his name. But NFL rosters constantly change; each year -- and even during the season -- a major portion of the team is new: The average NFL player's career spans less than four years.
That means Brady, just like the leader of any successful team, needs to build new relationships extremely quickly.