If Tom Brady applied, would you realize it?

TJ Wolf

If Tom Brady applied, would you realize it?

Picture of Tom Brady.Cian Leach/Unsplash

Please pardon the sports analogy with Tom Brady.

But as you may or may not have heard, he is generally regarded as the greatest Quarterback of all time in the National Football League (NFL).

And if you don't like Football, then insert one of the following Sports GOATs...

  • Babe Ruth
  • Michael Jordan
  • Sheryl Swoopes
  • Wayne Gretzky
  • Usain Bolt
  • Serena Williams
  • Secretariat

...and yes I'm sure my GOATs list is debatable.

And most likely someone will say so in the comments.

And yes the last one is a Horse.

That was for fun.

Please note the article is intended for you to envision your GOAT applying to work with you.

Instead of GOAT, let's call that person the GOAT-E (Greatest of All Time Employee).

So let's say the next GOAT-E applied for a position at your company?

Picture of 2 people interviewing a candidate at a meeting table.Christina @ wocintechchat.com/Unsplash

Would you...

  • speak with that person?
  • recognize that person's potential?
  • know to hire that person?
  • be uncertain and take a chance?

You might be reading this saying "of course I would, I know talent when I see it."

Are you sure about that?

"Well, a person's resume speaks about them. Plus I do aptitude and skills testing, check references, social media connections, etc. I am very thorough in my hiring processes."

Ok, all winners and world-beaters then?

"Well...um...mostly...for the most part. Can't get them all right of course."

Fair enough.

Back To Brady

If you don't know the Tom Brady draft story it goes like this...

Picked in the 6th round of the NFL Draft by the New England Patriots in the year 2000

He was the 199th player picked, meaning NFL teams picked 198 players ahead of him.

He also did not perform well in the "tests"...

Brady ran his 40-yard dash in 5.2 seconds,...

  • well-below where quarterbacks should be
  • Of the 13 quarterbacks to run at the 2014 NFL Combine, none ran as slow as Brady
  • Only three ran slower than 5.0 seconds

But the Legacy is still going...

Six quarterbacks were drafted ahead of Brady in the 2000 draft.

  • Those six quarterbacks combined started 191 games in the NFL
  • 16 fewer than the number Brady has started in his career (as of 2015)

Source: Business Insider article: How the Patriots pulled off the biggest steal in NFL Draft history and landed future Hall of Famer Tom Brady in the 6th round, by Cork Gaines Feb 1, 2015, 10:15 AM

So after that fateful, lucky, destined, well researched...well whatever hindsight term people will use...Tom Brady has now worked for 2 employers in 21 years, having made a company change in 2020 with a relocation to Tampa Bay.

During his career at these 2 employers, he set a massive and almost unparalleled list of performance reviews and records.

For a complete list see Tom Brady - NFL Career Records

So What's The Point?

What are you a Pats or Bucs fan or something?


Let's say I'm someone that frequently gets drafted #199 in the hiring process.

Two people interviewing a job candidate.Tim Gouw/Unsplash


No. I am glad about the experience.

I think it helps my leadership and management style.

And on behalf of all the other #199s out there, I write this as a successful manager and leader who has learned through empathy, trial and error, and metaphorical blood, sweat, and tears. I've learned that your pick or candidate on paper or by interview performance (yes, performance, but as in acting) is many times, not the one who wins the day for you, your team, and your company.

I find the humble, hungry, and smart* GOAT-Es out there usually fly under the radar.

*humble, hungry, and smart credited to The Ideal Team Player written by Patrick Lencioni.

The GOAT-Es many times come without Ph.Ds., MBAs, Masters Degrees, or even College Degrees. They come without expecting entitlements based on education or experience, they come ready to roll up their sleeves to help, work, and lead. They bring character and/or school of hard knocks experience with them. They talk to everyone the same, whether the CEO or someone sweeping the parking lot. They don't expect the biggest office nor to be instantly anointed Vice President of widgets.

Do I have data to back this wild claim?


I have 25 plus years of observation, plus my own biases on the topic. Those biases of course admittedly skew my hypotheses.

PS - I haven't met very many highly educated Vice Presidents that even admit they have a personal bias or want to discuss the subject.

Perhaps recall past GOAT-Es in your prior jobs or current GOAT-Es where you are now.

Picture of two people shaking hands.Christina @ wocintechchat.com/Unsplash

What are the traits they possess?

Sure they can have an MBA and still be the GOAT-E.

But does being the GOAT-E stem from the MBA or who they are as a person?

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My primary mission is to spread awareness about the disease Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE) and many of its comorbidities. Given most physical activities cause me pain nowadays, I've taken on writing as a new hobby, form of therapy, and method to interact with others. You will find I also experiment with articles related to business and careers.

Atlanta, GA

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