In June, New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and countless other quarterbacks across the country were informed via Facebook that their mentor, Tom Martinez, had only one month to live.
The outlook brightened drastically as a combination of changing his medications and resetting his pacemaker allowed the legendary coach from San Mateo to benefit from dialysis while awaiting a kidney transplant.
Brady, who attended Serra High School in San Mateo, posted a plea for his coach, friend and go-to guy on his own Facebook page by directing “friends” and fans to www.matchingdonators.com.
Ten thousand “looks” and 60 potential kidney donors later, Martinez is optimistic that a compatible match will be found, and that he’ll receive a life-saving transplant at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore.
“There are still many things I want to accomplish,” said Martinez, 68, who notched more than 1,400 wins during his Hall of Fame coaching career at College of San Mateo. “There is a lot to do, and I’d like to be part of what there’s left to do.”
Martinez’s immediate task at hand is helping his most famous protégé prepare for what Brady hopes will be his fourth Super Bowl victory in five appearances on Sunday.
Considering their 21-year relationship, Martinez sees what the rest of us may not. Brady turned in a 57.5 passer rating, two-interception performance in the Patriots’ AFC Championship Game victory over the Baltimore Ravens. On paper, at least, it was considered a down day for the superstar — particularly when compared with his six touchdown passes in the rout of Denver Broncos the previous week.
But it wasn’t a bad game, according to Martinez, who gave Brady a B-minus grade when the two spoke after the game.
“A lot of things Tom Brady does on the field, no one notices,” Martinez said.
Martinez looks for patterns of behavior when evaluating Brady’s play.
“If I see him doing things consistently I comment to him, and we talk, how to get out of the bad habit,” he said. “I’m a mechanical guy.”
The New York Giants’ Eli Manning comes second to Brady in terms of mechanics among current NFL quarterbacks (Drew Brees is a close third), according to Martinez, who looks forward to a high-scoring affair in the covered confines of Indianapolis’ Lucas Oil Stadium.
He and Brady will speak after the game as well as during the offseason.
“I tell him every year before it starts that there isn’t a man in the world who wouldn’t trade places with you,” Martinez said. “Appreciate where you are. Enjoy every year.”
WHO: Tom Martinez
WHAT: Quarterback coach and tutor whose most notable protégé is New England Patriots QB Tom Brady
SCHOOLING: Was All-City quarterback at San Francisco’s Polytechnic High School in 1961; played football and baseball at San Francisco State
COACHING: Coaching stops included College of San Mateo and San Francisco State
HIGHLIGHTS: Inducted into CSM Hall of Fame in September. ... While coaching women’s basketball, women’s soccer and football at CSM, Martinez compiled more than 1,400 combined wins.