I really do not like the New England Patriots. I usually get annoyed with the “greatest of all time” Tom Brady discussions. Yet the Patriots organization and Tom Brady continue to earn my grudging respect. Here are my Lessons Learned from Tom Brady Taking One for the Team!
You see, Tom Brady just signed a 3-yr, 27 million dollar contract extension. WOW, that’s a lot of money! But here is the kicker:
For a guy who has played in 5 Super Bowls, and won 3 of them, this contract puts Tom Brady at #9 amongst active NFL quarterbacks when it comes to team “salary cap hits”!
Brady restructured his contract to free up about $15M against the salary cap over the next two years. He understands that football is not a one-man sport, and he wants that extra money available to build a good team around him. His “sacrifice” allows the team to go after a premier pass rusher or re-sign one of Brady’s trusted targets: Wes Welker.
Even before Peyton Manning became a Denver Bronco, he was one of my favorite quarterbacks of all time. When Brady started getting the accolades after winning Super Bowls, I exclaimed “Peyton would win even more Super Bowls with those Belichick defenses!” But let’s look at what happened in 2005 – Peyton Manning was making over $14M, had yet to win a Super Bowl, and Tom Brady was up for contract negotiations after winning his 3rd Super Bowl. Rather than take the big payday, Brady established the precedent of taking less money personally to build a stronger team.
With Brady and Belichick at the helm, and a “team goals first” mentality, the New England Patriots have been the winningest franchise in the NFL. So here are those Lessons Learned from Tom Brady Taking One for the Team:
Team-First Cultures Thrive
Tom Brady had the highest profile, but he was not the only Patriot to defer a big payday to help build a team. Tedy Bruschi took half his free agent value to stay with the Patriots and build a winning dynasty. And as one sports announcer said, “how do you think his teammates feel when they know Brady took less money to make it available for THEIR contracts.” Brady earned as much respect with his selflessness as he did with his play on the field.
Lesson Learned: Sacrifices for the team build team loyalty and respect.
It’s Not Always About the Money
We, as average Joes, are always asking “how much is enough” when we hear about multi-million dollar contracts for athletes. Many athletes take a “me first” attitude when it comes to contract negotiation. In fact, some athletes want to re-negotiate their contract if they feel they provided TOO MUCH value. Players like Brady realize they will always have money – they are more interested in building a Hall of Fame legacy.
Lesson Learned: Sometimes it is worth it to consider non-monetary rewards versus always chasing the money.
Short-Term Sacrifices Reap Long-Term Rewards
I already mentioned this, but the New England Patriots are the winningest NFL team in the last 20 years. Tom Brady is considered the greatest quarterback to ever play the game. He would not have the prolific career without first leaving money on the table to pay for top-shelf receivers, running backs, offensive linemen to protect him, and a well-coached defense. His latest team-friendly contract also ensures he will retire a legendary New England Patriot – a scenario that did not happen for Brett Favre or Peyton Manning as they moved on to play for other teams in the twilight of their careers.
Lesson Learned: Keep your eyes on the long-term business/personal goals when faced with immediate short-term sacrifices.
It’s How You Deliver the Message
Check out the two highlighted tweets in this recent Mantis Pulse Analytics data collection for the New England Patriots (for demo purposes only). Perception and message delivery is everything! Tom Brady still has a huge payday, and the goodwill he earns with fans will ensure he gets plenty of endorsement opportunities. And did I mention he got a $30M signing bonus to go along with the fact that his wife currently makes more money than he does?!?
Lesson Learned: It’s all in the delivery! Craft your messaging and delivery to best represent your objectives while encouraging easy acceptance. Be a story-teller, deliver a compelling story, and then monitor the impact!
So what did you learn from the latest savvy contract moves from the New England Patriots and Tom Brady? Watch out NFL – the Patriots will be buyers in free agency, and they were already a perennial threat to win the Super Bowl!
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