Jarrett Stidham, the second-year pro in line to replace Tom Brady as starting quarterback of the New England Patriots, has his work cut out for him.
There might not be bigger shoes on the planet to fill than Tom Brady’s during the 2020 football season.
That’s the unenviable task 23-year-old Jarrett Stidham faces as the presumptive new starting quarterback of the six-time champion New England Patriots.
Stidham not only needs to play quarterback — the hardest position in professional sports — at the highest possible level. He also needs to play it well — and he needs to play it well enough to make fans forget about the greatest player to ever do it.
Now that Brady’s with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Patriots job is Stidham’s to lose, the former Auburn Tiger is bound to see his life change completely (if it hasn’t already). Almost overnight, he’s gone from being a curiosity most New Englanders aren’t too concerned about to the guy everyone is going to be watching and following religiously for the next year.
So far so good, at least.
ESPN’s Mike Reiss reported Sunday that Stidham has been impressing his teammates thus far by showing up as regularly as he can to Gillette Stadium this offseason to work on his craft.
Obviously his ability to do so is limited by the coronavirus outbreak and the NFL’s rules and regulations in lieu of it, but he’s still doing what he can to prepare himself for the upcoming 2020 season.
That’s exactly what he should be doing right now.
Stidham needs to be the shining example of work ethic in the New England locker room as well as both on and off the field. That classic, cliche phrase of being “the first guy in and the last guy out?” That needs to be Jarrett Stidham for the rest of this calendar year (and beyond).
Part of the reason Tom Brady endeared himself to his teammates for 20 years was because he always operated from a place of humble, quiet motivation. He worked just as hard — if not harder — than every other guy on the team, despite all the accomplishments under his belt.
Stidham doesn’t have any of Brady’s accolades, but he’d do well to emulate his behavior and mentality.