Tom Brady’s success rooted in family, community pride

He makes $10 million per year. He is arguably one of the greatest football players of all time. He appears on national television for simply walking down a New York City street with a walking boot on his foot.

But for Galynn Brady and Tom Brady Sr., their son Tom Brady Jr., 30, issimply known as “Tommy.”

And to the San Mateo community, the star quarterback’s proud parents are regular residents who have just as much to do with their son’s success as New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick.

“They’re not a celebrity family — and more importantly, I don’t think they think of themselves that way,” said Tom MacKenzie, who was the coach when the younger Brady played varsity football as a junior and senior at Junipero Serra High School in San Mateo.

The couple, who still live in the same Portola Drive home where they raised Tom Jr. and his three sisters, instilled a fiery competitive nature in their son, said Paul Aguirre, who baby-sat for the family.

Aguirre said that Tom Jr.’s upbringing has carried through to his illustrious career in the NFL.

“His mother and father hate to lose, and you see it in Tom as well,” said Aguirre, who still speaks with the player on a weekly basis.

Those who have followed Tom Jr.’s humble career — this year’s NFL MVP rarely says anything publicly about his accomplishments — should not be surprised that the Bradys are known to attend local sporting events and chat with other residents.

“They’re everyday people,” said Mike Peterson, who was Tom Jr.’s principal at Serra. “I don’t know what it is, but they got their feet firmly rooted on the ground. They’re proud as a peacock, but they’re very humble people.”

Even with Tom Jr.’s consistent success — he has won 100 of his first 126 regular-season and playoff games — Galynn and Tom Sr. still admit having anxiety while watching Patriots games.

“Every game, we’re passionate about it the same way he’s passionate about it,” Tom Sr. said. “We don’t take any of this stuff for granted.”

Like a family speaking in unison, his wife echoed those remarks.

“I don’t think we’ve ever taken a Super Bowl ho-hum,” Galynn said. “It’s a lot of hard work."

Passion? Not taking achievements for granted? Hard work? Sounds like a certain quarterback loved by New Englanders and San Mateans.

“It never got the point where Tom changed as a person,” Aguirre said. “He sees that in his own parents.”

mrosenberg@examiner.com

Five most recognizable Bay Area Super Bowl participants

1. Tom Brady, quarterback, Junipero Serra High School (San Mateo). Played in Super Bowls XXXVI, XXXVIII, XXXIX and XLII for the New England Patriots.

2. Lynn Swann, wide receiver, Junipero Serra High School (San Mateo). Played in Super Bowls IX, X, XIII, XIV for the Pittsburgh Steelers.

3. Larry Allen, offensive guard, Vintage High School (Napa). Played in Super Bowl XXX for the Dallas Cowboys.

4. Jim Plunkett, quarterback, James Lick High School (San Jose). Played in Super Bowls XXV and XXVIII for the Oakland Raiders.

5. Amani Toomer, wide receiver, De La Salle High School (Concord). Played in Super Bowls XXXV and XLII for the New York Giants.

Five least recognizable

1. Jim Harris, defensive tackle, Berkeley High School (Berkeley). Played in Super Bowl III for the New York Jets.

2. Eric Bjornson, tight end, Bishop O’Dowd High School (Oakland). Played in Super Bowl XXX for the Dallas Cowboys.

3. Je’Rod Cherry, strong safety, Berkeley High School. Played in Super Bowls XXXVIII and XXXIX for the New England Patriots.

4. David Binn, center, San Mateo High School (San Mateo). Played in Super Bowl XXIX for the San Diego Chargers.

5. Chidi Ahanotu, defensive end, Berkeley High School. Played in Super Bowl XXXVI for the St. Louis Rams.

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