As Tom Brady continues to fill up his personal trophy case like it’s a Scrooge McDuck-ian vault, Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh believes it’s time for Michigan to give the New England Patriots quarterback one of the highest honors a college can bestow.
The Michigan football head coach said on an episode of his podcast Attack Each Day published Tuesday that’s it time for the Wolverines to build a statue of Brady somewhere on campus.
The quote, via Sports Illustrated:
“I think it’s time, don’t you, for a Tom Brady statue to built right here,” Harbaugh said. “Right in front of Schembechler Hall, or do you put it in the stadium? Where would you put the Tom Brady statue? … The tunnel? Maybe the tunnel? Where do you put it? Maybe some of the listeners can tell us.”
While Brady will almost certainly receive a statue somewhere and someday in the New England Patriots organization, the idea of a statue in Ann Arbor presents an interesting question.
Does Tom Brady deserve a Michigan statue?
Few will argue that Brady isn’t the most athletically accomplished alumnus in Michigan history, but so much of what made Brady’s career compelling was that he went from not really sticking out in Ann Arbor to becoming a six-time Super Bowl champion.
In his two seasons seeing serious playing time, Brady passed for 4,644 yards and 30 touchdowns while ceding occasional snaps to Drew Henson. During that span, the Wolverines went 20-5 with wins in the Citrus Bowl and the Orange Bowl. That’s a solid career. He didn’t win a national championship or a Heisman Trophy, but he was good. However, as so many NFL fans can now recite off the top of their heads, Brady would go on to be picked 199th overall in the 2000 NFL draft. Expectations weren’t high for Brady in the NFL.
We all know the story from there: six Super Bowls, thee MVPs, 14 Pro Bowls and the reverence and hatred that comes from being one of the world’s most famous athletes. But none of that came while he was with Michigan, which has had quite a few accomplished players in its football program.
Tom Harmon, Desmond Howard and Charles Woodson don’t have any statues at Michigan, and they all won the Heisman. There’s a statue of former Wolverines center Gerald Ford, but that was obviously erected for a very different reason. The only football statue you’re going to find on Michigan’s campus is Bo Schembechler, and you can imagine Michigan fans might be hesitant to put Brady on the same level as Schembechler.
Then again, sports might be the only area where “he didn’t do much in college” is a valid argument against a statue. Politicians, scientists and artists are all usually honored for what they did after college, but we treat athletes on a different curve. Maybe that’s fair, but it’s different.
Michigan can certainly take pride in Brady’s legacy away from home and Wolverines players can look up to his accomplishments, and perhaps that’s all that matters. At the end of the day, we should probably just be happy Harbaugh didn’t call for a statue of himself. We can start preparing for that day when/if he beats Ohio State.
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