Brady, in a wide-ranging interview with ESPN's Ian O'Connor, disagreed with the talk he has surpassed his boyhood hero, former San Francisco 49ers legend Joe Montana, as the GOAT of quarterbacks in the game's history.
Montana won four Super Bowl rings and Brady collected his fifth in February when the Patriots overcome a 25-point deficit in the third quarter to defeat the Atlanta Falcons in overtime of Super Bowl LI.
"I don't agree with that," Brady told O'Connor of the GOAT talk, "and I'll tell you why. I know myself as a player. I'm really a product of what I've been around, who I was coached by, what I played against, in the era I played in. I really believe if a lot of people were in my shoes they could accomplish the same kinds of things. So I've been very fortunate. ... I don't ever want to be the weak link.
"I was the backup quarterback on an 0-8 team in my freshman year of high school. I got to Michigan, I was seventh (string), and I had a hard time getting to be No. 2, and when I finally got to No. 1 there was someone else (Drew Henson) they wanted to be No. 1. I got to be a sixth-round pick behind a great player, Drew Bledsoe, and then I got an opportunity, and I'm still trying to take advantage of it. Part of who I am now is very much who I was, and that was cultivated growing up."
Brady, who turns 40 in August for his 18th NFL season, remains humble despite being a five-time Super Bowl champion, four-time Super Bowl MVP and two-time league MVP.
O'Connor made a case that if Brady can win one or two more titles in his 40s, he would be chasing the legend of American sports as the greatest: six-time NBA champion Michael Jordan.
"I was in awe of Michael Jordan," Brady said, "and I still am in awe of what he was and what he meant. ... He was such an effortless player. He put a lot of effort in, but there's an art and a beauty to the way he played the game. That was a very inspiring thing."
"The great part is the next one for me is No. 6," Brady told O'Connor, "and I'm not on No. 1. I'm trying to reach No. 6 and I'm on No. 5. If I got to No. 6, that would have great meaning to me. It's not trying to keep up with my idols. It's not Magic, Jeter, Mariano (Rivera), Kobe, Duncan, guys more my age who I always admired.
"I just want to win because I owe it to my teammates. I'm working this year like I have none, and hopefully it results in a magical season."