By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) – Throughout his endless career, Tom Brady has shed a few tears on a few memorable occasions. In the “The Brady 6” documentary, he famously cried while remembering what it was like to sit with his family and watch 198 players be drafted in front of him in the 2000 NFL Draft. He was also strangled during a Super Bowl media day in 2017 after telling a young fan that his father is his hero. (Longtime Patriots haters will add that No. 12 has cried to judges on countless occasions, but it’s neither here nor there.)
In the finale of his ESPN + documentary series “Man In The Arena”, Brady added another tearful moment to the catalog. And it once again involved his feelings for his father.
Early in the 10th episode – which was added to the initial nine-episode project after Brady and the Bucs won a Super Bowl in their first year together – Brady reflected on the commitment his parents gave him when he started playing sports. . . Now apparently even being a father, the conversation hit Brady pretty hard.
Here’s what Brady said while unable to hold back his tears:
I will not get too emotional here to begin with, but you know there is a big commitment that your parents make. And my dad made every commitment to me that was… you know, a great dad. There was never a moment when he did not have time to support what I wanted to do and try to achieve. Because it’s a difficult thing to do.
From when I was a kid, whether or not I wanted to be a professional baseball player, we came home and he took me out on the field and hit me with balls until the sun went down. And when I wanted to learn to play quarterback, it was him who kept pu – he did not pressure me. He held me up a little.
Brady’s father – who was the guest interview subject for this particular episode – said he was often on his way to work at 6 p.m. 5:30 so he would be able to attend all of his children’s sporting events.
“We felt that if they were on the field,” Brady Sr. said, “we wanted to be on the field.”
As he discussed how his relationship with his father developed when he became a professional athlete, Brady became even more emotional.
Our relationship has always been strong, but that changed because we were not close to each other. And the one person who always made an effort to continue the relationship was my father. So he would come to every match. Early in my career, you know, it was hard. He wanted to fly to Buffalo. He wanted to fly to Cincinnati. He knew I did not have many other people out there, so my dad would be there when I left the field to make sure I got a hug, that I had someone who cared about what I was doing.
By that time, very early in the interview and episode, Brady was already emotionally used.
“God, you started out with a banger,” a red-eyed Brady tells the interviewer outside the camera. “Holy s-.”
The episode ended where it also began, with Brady reflecting on his relationship with his father and parents.
He has done his part to preserve all that we had together as a father. And I think every day I’m out there, I try to represent our family, and I try to represent all the different things that he committed to me. When people love you and care about you and commit to you, you will not let them down, you know?
I’m 44. I have a family that I have. I am the father of some amazing children. And when I think of being a father, I think of him, because of what my father meant to me. And I know I’m not as good a father to my children as my father has been to me. And I use them as my example of how to keep a family together, and to care and support and love.
In recent years – and specifically this year, when he briefly retired – Brady has talked a lot about the importance of the family and how much it weighs on him. Considering that he retired after just one month, many have rejected the family talk which does not matter much anymore. However, this episode shows the depth to which Brady carries that weight – both positively and negatively.
More on that though in a bit. Here’s what else stood out in the “Man In The Arena” finale.
A rare glimpse of Brady’s cockiness
Brady made sure to drive the full range of emotions early in this episode, going from emotionally vulnerable to direct jaw-dropping in a matter of minutes.
When Brady discussed his free agency in the spring of 2020, Brady offered a real insight into what he expected to be of interest to him from teams around the league.
“Unless you have one of the probably best guys you know, I would expect people to be interested,” Brady said. “In my mind, I think if you’re another team and you’re not interested in having me as your quarterback, for example, what the hell is wrong with you?”
Brady has apparently let that thought process slip out before – both with his very speculative comment pronounced on “The Shop” and in a comment said to Jim Gray in the summer of 2021. Yet it is not often that they button-up, always afraid to say the wrong Tom Brady just lets it tear like that. So it is always interesting to observe.
Plus, you know he’s right. He is certainly right.
The Gronk Reunion… With the help of Kevin Durant
You probably remember that Tom Brady was part of the Celtics’ contingent when Boston tried to woo Kevin Durant to Boston during the NBA star’s free agency in 2016. Interestingly, Durant played a role in the reunion of Brady and Gronk as teammates .
Brady said that when he was in New York, he contacted Durant and asked for a place to train. Durant set it up. Brady, who knew Gronkowski was in New York at the time, called his old friend and had a little throwing session. Things clicked.
“He looked like Gronk … and I think both of our juices flowed a little bit,” Brady said. “We realized we have a chemistry that you can not copy.”
At the time, Gronkowski – who said he had not seen Brady or talked to him much for several months – told the quarterback he would be willing to play again if Brady decided to play somewhere other than New England to “change it up, see how it is somewhere else.”
Earlier in the episode, Brady shared a similar desire to face another challenge as he sought to “grow and learn in ways I could never have learned if I had not left New England.”
Gronkowski also admitted that there was some motivation to prove that their success did not depend on playing for the Patriots.
“I just felt like Tom and I, we had a different connection,” Gronkowski said. “We both wanted to prove we could win outside of New England, we wanted to prove to everyone that we could still play, that Tom could still play, that I could still play, we’re still worthy.”
That reunion clearly ended in history book form, with Gronkowski capturing two touchdown passes from Brady in their Super Bowl victory.
As for his departure from the Patriots, Gronkowski said there was nothing dishonest about his decision to walk away from the sport after winning Super Bowl LIII with New England.
“Right on the spot – literally the second we won the Super Bowl, I knew I was done,” Gronkowski said. “I did not have such a good season, I did not run fast, I felt slow, I felt beaten down, tired. I definitely retired, 100 percent. I knew I needed it. I mean, “I beat my body, nine years in a row in the NFL, operations, big hits. My body was just trying to catch up, just like I’m done.”
Not much AB
Brady was clearly instrumental in adding Antonio Brown to the Bucs’ roster. And even though they won a Super Bowl together, the whole relationship ended pretty ugly.
It was therefore no surprise that there was very little AB in this episode. His Super Bowl touchdown was shown, like an excerpt or two from the regular season, but he was not discussed and was only in the episode for a few seconds more than the long snapper and assistant equipment manager showed up.
A cameo from Bill Belichick… A kind
Bill Belichick did not participate in the documentaries. It is unlikely that he was asked to attend. This was Brady’s project.
But the man who helped shape Brady made a very remarkable appearance in this episode, and it came at a very interesting time.
As the team went through ups and downs in the regular season 2020, the episode stopped at Bucs’ farewell week, where the team had a mediocre 7-5 and had not yet figured out exactly how to play to its abilities. That was at the time when a montage showing clips from Brady’s Patriots days appeared on screen, with some audio excerpts by Bill Belichick saying “do your job” and offering other different coaching points that played below. A short clip of Brady and Belichick also appeared on screen.
Brady said how important it was to “ignore the noise.” Gronkowski said he knew what the Bucs were going to do, based on what he learned in New England.
Hearing Belichick’s words echo in this episode felt like hearing the call from Obi-Wan Kenobi echo in the head of Luke Skywalker when the young Jedi was alone. (Eh. Sorry?)
It was fascinating, because just as much as the story of Brady and Belichick desperately wanting to win without the help of the other, giving juicy talk (and certainly being able to provide an extra motivation to some of the most competitive people on the planet), it is logical. The reality is that both Brady and Belichick benefited immensely from each other during their 20 years together. Without Belichick, Brady will not be BRADY. The same goes the other way.
That that reality received a tacit recognition at this particular stage of Brady’s own documentary project was quite revealing.
The section did not mention Brady’s retirement at all. However, it had this one quote at the end, which was apparently added to address why he still plays football.
“I know there’s time for me to sit in the stands and I know there’s time for me to do other things, but there’s still a desire to win,” Brady said. “And when you are the man in the arena, there is no such excitement.”
A unique perspective on winning (and losing) with patriots
In the end, Tom Brady is a winner. It has been his legacy since the early 2000s and it will remain his legacy forever. No one has ever won like Tom Brady has won and no one will ever.
Therefore, his thoughts on winning and losing were interesting.
“Because we had great success, it became more routine to win than to lose,” Brady said. “The pain of losing far outweighed the joy of winning. When you expect to win and you win, it’s more of a relief as opposed to, ‘What an incredible achievement.’ In the end, we would not celebrate anything like a Patriot, unless we won the Super Bowl. “
Brady has touched on it before, but nonetheless, it shows a unique perspective on winning and losing that no other player could really have.
On a similar note, Brady opened up about the weight of football, and he actually expressed a hope that his children will not inherit a compulsive focus for something that he has for football.
“I think maybe what I would like for my kids is to find something they really love to do, as I have done. But I also think I have taken it to the extreme. There are imbalances in my life. , and I hope they do not take things as far as I have taken them, “said Brady.” I want them to experience great success no matter what they do, but there is a pain in me that I do not want them.”
Damn. “A torment about me“A bit of a dark ending to a 10-part documentary series focusing on the most successful football player ever. But again, glory does not come without personal pain and sacrifice, and no one has ever experienced more glory than Tom Brady.
You can send an email to Michael Hurley or find him on Twitter @michaelFhurley.