Tom Brady’s got four Super Bowl rings, two MVPs and one illustrious career. But the Patriots QB did not become great by accident. He studied tape and worked at his craft, determined to outperform his draft position of No. 199 back in 2000.
He also couldn’t have done it without the help of a dishwasher in Michigan. Seriously.
Jay Flannelly, a dishwasher at two restaurants in Ann Arbor, was a student assistant who stood by Brady when he was a backup on the Michigan football team some two decades earlier. And Flannelly was one of the few people who believed in the budding superstar when he was taken in the sixth round of the draft in 2000. And of course, Flannelly proved to be right.
Now, Flannelly’s role has changed a bit, but he still helps Brady in scouting each week. He watches film and sends Brady his thoughts on the Patriots’ upcoming opponent.
And so now Flannelly, a native New Englander, watches video of the Patriots’ upcoming opponent—the All-22 version, or coach’s cut—every week. Then he sends Brady a scouting report. The dish-washer tells the four-time Super Bowl champion which cornerback is vulnerable to double-moves, what kind of blitzes the coordinator prefers, or how a team’s defensive front is usually aligned. He advises Brady that the defense’s “concepts are pretty consistent” and that a hobbling defensive player “is not right and can be handled.”
The emails are only a couple of paragraphs. Brady does not respond at length, but he usually replies, using Flannelly’s childhood nickname, a reference to Leave It To Beaver: “You’ve got it, Beav,” or “Thanks, Beav.”
Flannelly’s scouting reports have now become required reading in Brady’s weekly preparation.
“If I didn’t send it to him, he would get mad," Flannelly said.
Needless to say, Brady’s almost certainly the only quarterback in the NFL getting scouting reports from a dishwasher, but if it ain’t broke, why fix it?
“My relationship with Tom goes back 20 years,” Flannelly said. “I know how to get him going.”