Tecmo Bowl Games at Tom Brady’s First Condo Massachusetts used to be so vicious and competitive that the loser had to stare naked through the quad of the condo. Brady himself faced this punishment at least once, running buck-naked on a cold Northeast night among pizza bottom slices, beer cans, and piles of hot wings.
Yes, Tom Brady was once a normal, Tecmo bowl-playing, wing-devouring brother like his fans. It was a tumultuous time for those first months in New England, just days before Tom Brady arrived. After that, in the final few weeks before becoming nationally, and then internationally, famous, Brady could just kick back and enjoy life… for a few minutes at a time, at least. .
Beneath that backwards-ballcap, X-body-sprayed exterior made a disgruntled, inspired heart beat, even then. As Seth Wickersham wrote in “Better to Be Fear,” his extraordinary bio on Brady and Bill Belichick—including the aforementioned Tecmo-streaker anecdote—was a tireless worker even when Brady arrived at the stadium at 6 a.m. Used to leave at 7 o’clock. To pick up dinner at the condo, then at 9:30 p.m. to study a movie or throw a ball at the late night practice facility.
Brady spent his entire life trying to prove others wrong, trying to live up to some absurd ideal for himself. In high school, he vowed to play college ball. In Michigan, he swore that his name would be mentioned among the greats. One evening in New England, he told owner Robert Kraft—who had mistakenly called him “Kyle”—”It’s one of the best decisions you’ve ever made, choosing me.”
He was right, of course. Brady hit all his marks – surpassed them, in fact, by such a wide and incomprehensible margin that he is the undisputed goat of the NFL. Seven rings with two different teams, against MVP-caliber players two decades his junior, all the fame and admiration and approval that a human being could want… at least, in theory.
The point is, when your whole existence is based on proving you guys wrong, what happens when there’s no longer a need to do so? What do you do when everyone believes you are the best ever? When you reach the top of the mountain, the only person still around to fight is you.
There’s a meme going on right now Which shows a salvo, sunken-cheek Brady next to a wide-eyed, consciousness-circled-Saturn Aaron Rodgers. “It’s not worth it guys,” reads the meme, “eat ice cream.”
On the one hand, it’s a cheap laugh at what two of the best players to play football have done to themselves at this late stage of their careers, from extreme diets to mind-altering, to themselves from simple pleasures in life like ice cream. Depriving… and, perhaps, wings, pizza and Tecmo Bowl.
But on another level, it’s also sad as hell. It is a look at what you have to surrender to be the best, how much you have to sacrifice yourself to defeat whatever demons are inside you. Watch Brady’s demeanor as he runs against the Saints in Sunday’s game:
This is a person who looks exhausted both mentally and physically. And it’s only 2 weeks! The victory lap of a celebratory career is looking like a slog.
Brady won that game the same way he won Week 1’s marquee showdown against the Cowboys: with relentless, hit-the-marks professionalism, displaying as much passion and effort as a concert pianist playing “Chopsticks.” The only real time he showed up on Sundays in New Orleans was when the Saints got irritated, or when Bux’s drive broke out:
Brady may or may not have marital problems, If you believe the tabloid media and “sources close” to wife Gisele, all is not so well in Brady’s house, and it hasn’t happened since they decided to move back in the spring. Regardless, Brady is dealing with “personal” issues off-field – his words – and gave a quick glimpse behind the scenes when he returned from an extended training camp absence, looking drawn out and exhausted: “I’m 45 years old. I am, man. There is a lot going on s-t.”
Just this week, word came that Brady would be pardoned from Wednesday’s practice for the entire season, a highly unusual arrangement. Brady has enough rings that he can do whatever he wants – he can probably only show up on Sundays and still beat half the teams in the league without even knowing the names of his teammates – but when a man who once in the morning What used to work before sunset starts to take a full day off, somewhere along the line something important has changed.
Marital issues are none other than Brady’s. The problem is that the Tom Brady man is now in direct conflict with the institution Tom Brady. Like the Rolling Stones, Tom Brady is not only a human being, but an entire enterprise unto himself—the quarterback of a Super Bowl-caliber team, the future Fox Sports personality with a contract worth a third of a billion dollars. And so, like the Rolling Stones, Brady must put aside his personal issues while playing Tom Brady. A lot has already been invested in that. The animal must be fed, even if Brady passes out on Wednesday.
Whatever happens in his personal life, Brady has a long, difficult road ahead. Every professional athlete, driven by the forces in the stands, faces the moment the road ends. Brady has avoided it for the longest time, but the end is coming, no matter how much he may want to rage against it. He’ll need to figure out how to lose this final battle with grace, because the fight against time is one that even Tom Brady can’t win.
Brady may still have something to prove to himself, something he still needs in his mind to achieve greatness. If he does, he is the only one on earth who still needs to be explained.
From Jay Busbee at email@example.com or on Twitter @jaybusbe. contact onI.