I heard Tom Brady on Dax Shepard’s podcast a few months ago, and with the exception of maybe Tom Cruise, he was probably the dullest big-name guest I’d ever heard on in a long-form podcast interview. All he really talked about was his diet. He doesn’t eat tomatoes, he said, not just because they are somehow bad for him, but because he doesn’t like them. He’s a 43-year-old man who doesn’t like tomatoes. There’s nothing wrong with that, of course, but somehow that felt very telling — he’s so bland that not liking tomatoes is one of the more memorable characteristics of Tom Brady. (Also, he avoids fruits, mushrooms, peppers, eggplants, coffee, Gatorade, white sugar, flour, gluten, dairy, soda, cereal, white rice, potatoes, and bread, which leaves what exactly?)
He also spoke a lot about growing up in San Diego and eating a lot of junk food in his teen years — he returned to that a few times in the interview, as though Twinkies constituted the most adversity he’d ever faced off the field. “I used to eat Little Debbie snack cakes! And look where I am now!” Otherwise, he lived the life of a typical sports kid — his parents were supportive and loving and saw all his games. His sisters were also into sports, and there were sibling rivalries, but they were all very close. When he went to the University of Michigan, he was homesick, which is exactly what you want from your own kid. From the GOAT? Not much of a story, is it?
That, and leaving one model who was pregnant with his kid to be with a supermodel, with whom he has more kids, seems to be the sum total of Tom Brady’s life outside of the football field. He’s a very dull boy. Roxana wrote about his MAGA ties a few weeks ago, and weirdly, I think rightfully associating Brady with MAGA almost gives him too much credit. That would be a personality trait. He probably doesn’t know what MAGA really is, because he has blinders to that sort of thing. Donald Trump is probably his “friend” the same way that Bob Kraft and Ben Affleck are his “friends.” He seems like the kind of person who has very shallow friendships with very successful people — they’re never any deeper than their text conversations, either on text or in person — but he probably never had any real concerns about Trump because he didn’t affect Tom Brady’s life. Tom Brady is Tom Brady whether it’s Biden, Trump, Hillary, or Obama in office. It’s not that he doesn’t care, it’s that he’s completely oblivious, and that’s the way he prefers to keep it. Hearing about police violence, or poverty, or systemic racism would bum him out, and therefore affect his game. We can’t have that, can we?
Read the guy’s Wikipedia page: It’s just stats and diet, and also renting Derek Jeter’s mansion when he moved to Tampa Bay. He really kind of is the Tom Cruise of the NFL — hard-working, driven, ambitious, and kind of boring. His TB12 diet is his Scientology.
Tom Brady is not a terrible person (not when there have been guys like Ray Rice, Chad Wheeler, Ezekiel Elliott, and Greg Hardy in the league), but he’s not a good person, either. He’s just kind of there, isn’t he? It seems like such a shame to waste the “greatest of all time” designation on Brady (and as much as it pains me, I’m willing to concede he’s the greatest QB of all time, and maybe the greatest NFL player ever, too). And yet, he’ll also go down as one of the least liked players ever (outside of New England), because he is not particularly personable. He’s not known as being charitable. Or particularly generous (in fact, his charitable arrangements seem to be set up like those of Donald Trump — he works for one charitable organization, which pays Brady’s own nonprofit, which then funds his other charitable contributions, which is to say: Brady doesn’t seem to spend much of his own money). Brady’s just that guy who doesn’t eat tomatoes. Brady got all the championships, but Peyton got all the endorsements.
Mostly, though, it’s another reminder that the “good guys” don’t always win, and it feels like we’ve been reminded of that a lot in the last five years. There’s not going to be a comeuppance for Tom Brady. He’s 43. He has 7 titles. He could return next season and go 0-16, and he’ll still be considered the greatest QB ever. His legacy is set. Sometimes, the bad guys win. Historically speaking, in fact, the bad guys usually do.
Still, Patrick Mahomes has 15 more years to prove himself the better QB. In Kansas City, where he is known for his extreme generosity, Mahomes is already the better person.