BLOOMINGTON, Minn. – Sometimes, John Romero, a police officer in Oakland, Calif., likes to surprise his friends and acquaintances, those who know him only so well.
They’ll be talking about football, and Tom Brady’s name will come up, because it’s difficult to talk about football without mentioning Brady. And of course, if you are familiar at all with Brady and his accomplishments, you are familiar with his incredible backstory: that he was once the longest of long shots, that the Patriots selected him in the sixth round of the 2000 NFL draft with the 199th overall pick. The 198 players selected ahead of Brady included Courtney Brown, a defensive end from Penn State, the draft’s first pick. They included a future Hall of Fame linebacker, Brian Urlacher, and six quarterbacks, none of whom had a career remotely comparable to Brady’s. And they included seven players drafted by the Eagles, among them defensive tackle Corey Simon and wide receiver Todd Pinkston.
The final player the Eagles picked that year was John Romero, a center out of the University of California-Berkeley. The Eagles chose him with the draft’s 192nd selection – seven picks before the Patriots took Brady. And when Romero tells people this, their eyes widen, because the story of Tom Brady is tethered to the stories of those 198 players,