When Tom Brady started working on BRADY, his new performance apparel line, he didn’t have the option to partner with college athletes. But when new rules were adopted last year, allowing student athletes to profit off of their name, image and likeness, Brady knew he wanted to get involved in some capacity.
He launched the brand in January, and announced NIL deals with Michigan Wolverines quarterback Cade McNamara, Jackson State Tigers quarterback Shedeur Sanders, Georgia Bulldogs wide receiver George Pickens, Coastal Carolina Chanticleers quarterback Grayson McCall and a handful of other athletes from other sports.
Brady just launched his performance and tech-focused golf collection on Tuesday, and continued working with college athletes as the line will feature Texas golfer Cole Hammer and Wake Forest golfer Michael Brennan in the campaign.
Brady said he remembers when he was in college, trying to get by on his $400 scholarship check every month, having to get a job and scrape by. This was an opportunity for him to help student athletes in a way he wasn’t able to take advantage of when he played at the University of Michigan.
“Both from an awareness standpoint, what they’re trying to accomplish, and hopefully inspiring them and getting to know them, but also putting some money in their pockets,” Brady told ESPN. “I was a kid like that not too long ago and I remember if someone would have come to me with that opportunity, I know how cool that would’ve been. So, I just love having them involved and I think it’s added so much soul to what we’re doing.”
Brady said he has enjoyed spending time with the younger athletes, who are eager to listen and learn from someone like him. Sharing different aspects of what has made him successful and passing that on to the athletes his brand has signed has been an unintended bright spot of starting his apparel line.
“Whether it’s how to prepare physically, [or] a lot of the mental, emotional challenges … some from being very successful and some of it is how do you work through challenging moments in your career, too,” Brady said. “Part of my career beyond football, as I look forward, is going to be helping other athletes achieve their dreams. I’ve really been the beneficiary of so many amazing people that have come in to my life at the right time to give me the right type of advice and the right support and the right motivation to allow me to be the best I can be.”
The NIL deals weren’t the genesis of the apparel line, but have become an integral part of the business. The brand has continued to add to its collections and now has golf as an option for consumers.
Brady has played golf with his father, Tom Sr., since he was three years old and helped develop the golf collection based on his wants and need from a performance standpoint. He has had apparel specifically crafted for his movements and comfortability on the football field and wanted something similar for the golf course.
“If you look at some of the real classical golf shot of Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and Sam Snead, it was very formal golf attire and I think we’re looking for more performance, functional golf where the clothes move with you,” Brady said. “They’re structured in a way that they look good, but then when you’re going through your golf swing, they’re very unrestricted. It’s got some protection, it breathes well, it moves well; I wish it helped my golf swing, but it definitely helps with my look.”
The launch of his collection comes only days after it was announced that Brady and Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers will play a 12-hole exhibition match on June 1 against Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen and Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes in this year’s version of Capital One’s The Match.
It was originally thought that Brady would have more time to play golf this spring and summer when he announced he was retiring from the NFL on Feb. 1. He then made a surprising decision and unretired on March 13, announcing he would come back and would play this upcoming season with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Brady told ESPN that he felt he had time to reflect and spend time with his wife and kids once he retired. They talked about the decision to retire and what it would look like, but at the start of free agency, he started to think about what he had left behind.
“I knew my body, physically, could still do what it could do and obviously I have a love for the game, I think I’ll always have a love for the game,” Brady said. “I do think physically I’ll be able to do it. I just felt like there was still a place for me on the field.”
He then spoke with people in Tampa Bay and thought about the relationships he has within the organization. But more importantly, he thought about how much he loves the competition on the field.
He said last season ended on a bitter note and that the team has to make a lot of corrections to improve and succeed. Brady isn’t disillusioned, though, and understands that time is not on his side.
“I know I don’t have a lot left, I really do. I know I’m at the end of my career,” Brady said. “I wish you could go forever, but it’s just not and football comes at too high of a cost now. My kids are getting older and it’s just getting harder and harder to miss these things.
“But, I wanted to give myself and my teammates and our organisation another incredible opportunity to accomplish something that we’d all be very proud of.”