If you need a reminder that the NFL draft is the most inexact of sciences, tune in to ESPN tonight at 5 p.m. The network is airing something called "The Brady 6," which details the often-told story of how quarterback-needy teams like the 49ers bypassed San Mateo native Tom Brady in the 2000 draft and - just as telling -- how Brady has never gotten over that snub despite three Super Bowl titles, six pro bowls, millions of dollars and one insanely hot wife.
The Brady 6 are the six quarterbacks taken ahead of Brady in that draft, and the feature looks at each of them. The second quarterback taken that year was Hofstra's Gio Carmazzi, who was selected by the 49ers in the third round. The 49ers were so jazzed about Carmazzi, a former star at Jesuit High School, that one of the offensive coaches at the time - I will spare him the embarrassment and not identify him - stood up on a table during a draft meeting and passionately extolled Carmazzi's virtues. He was the 49ers' quarterback of the future, the heir to Joe Montana and Steve Young.
Carmazzi, as any decade-long suffering 49ers fan knows too well, never threw a regular-season pass for the 49ers. He sufferedd an array of injuries, including a torn labrum following a stint in NFL Europe, and bulging discs in his neck. The Boston Herald, which had a sneak preview of the 50-minute feature, writes that "Carmozzi (sic) is now a yoga-obsessed farmer who has five goats. He was the only one who did not agree to an interview."
But it wasn't just the 49ers offensive coach who was convinced of Carmazzi's potential. The head coach, Steve Mariucci, was known as a quarterbacks guru and the general manager, Bill Walsh, had an uncanny eye for talent and had helped orchestrate some of the greatest draft classes in the league history. Carmazzi was an organizational decision.
Brady, meanwhile, was a skinny quarterback who seemed to lack the necessary athleticism to be an NFL starter much less one who could operate a West Coast offense. Says Mariucci in the ESPN feature: "We didn't open up his chest and look at his heart. We didn't look at that."
Brady, of course, grew up a die-hard 49ers fan, was the son of season-ticket holders and was in the Candlestick Park stands waving a foam finger - he was 4 -- when Dwight Clark made "The Catch" to propel the team to its first Super Bowl.
"I was complaining to my dad the whole first half because he wouldn't buy me one of those foam fingers," Brady said in a 2004 story. "So to finally shut me up, he bought it in the second half."
There's also something to be said of how a draft snub can fuel someone throughout their careers. Last year, Mike Singletary admitted that being drafted in the second round instead of the first irked him throughout his career and still ticks him off when he thinks about it today. Before playing the 49ers in January 2005, Brady said:
"I remember sitting in my living room as the 49ers were drafting that day ... and seeing them pick a quarterback (Carmazzi) in the third round. I was so mad. Any time you grow up and look at a team, you grow to love that team, and I loved those players. I had gone to a whole bunch of those games growing up. I had Joe Montana and Jerry Rice on my wall. It will be nice to play them. I have been looking forward to it for a long time."
Brady ended up finishing with a 102.9 passer rating in a 21-7 Patriots victory to close the 2004 regular season. Apparently, that win didn't dull Brady's hard feelings ...
Picked ahead of Brady:
The 49ers also took Tim Rattay in the seventh round, 13 picks after the Patriots selected Brady.
-- Matt Barrows