August 6, 2008

THE SCARY THING IS... (pointless profanity alert):

Just Throw the Damn Ball, Tom Brady: New England Patriots Quarterback Tom Brady will go down in history as the greatest football player never to go down in history. And he's still smiling. (Tom Chiarella, 8/06/08, Esquire)

Question number one is more like: When you've won three Super Bowls, gone undefeated in the regular season, when you've broken the record for most touchdown passes--when you've done all that, why aren't you the face of the game? Why don't old ladies (outside the rusty ZIP codes of New England, anyway) know who the hell you are on sight? Why aren't you Jordan?

He speaks. He laughs. He wants none of the granola. "Very different game," says Tom Brady. "I play a complicated position in an intensely team-oriented game. A basketball player has to play defense. I'm not even on the field half the time."

Huh. Who then to compare oneself to? Here, the Brady makes a first little frog step to predictability, giving props to his secret sharer, his umbral twin, his shadowy other. "There's one guy whose game I love. That's Peyton," he says. Of course! The sole equal. "Being in the system I've been in for eight years, with the same coach and the same offense, when we call a play, I've run it hundreds of times. Peyton and I share that. When you practice an entire NFL season, that's 123 practices. A hundred and twenty-three practices with sixty plays a practice, you know, that's six thou--that's a lot of plays. And then you have all the game situations, and that's another eight, nine hundred plays a season, so I know where all those mistakes come in. I mean-- [Beat.] I have a memory, and I can just eliminate mistakes when they come up because I've already made them." There it is. The first of the blindingly clear declarative statements, the stunningly abstergent, one-size-fits-all axioms that consistently dot the wisdom of the Brady.

Like so: The Brady says he admires his father above all others. Calls his father "selfless." Yet his reasoning isn't couched in anecdote or childhood memory. He doesn't seem to be talking about a person at all, really, instead skipping over the man to generate a life lesson. "We all have experiences in our lives that change us, and we all learn from people, like my dad, but at the end of the day, it's only us. And we're only responsible to make ourselves happy. Too often in life, something happens and we blame other people for us not being happy or satisfied or fulfilled. So the point is, we all have choices, and we make the choice to accept people or situations or to not accept situations. If someone lies, well, you had a choice to trust that person or not. I think the way my father raised me, well, he trusted everybody. And that worked for him."

He is wary, the Brady. That must be why he outlines a position paper on trust rather than tell a simple story about fishing with his pop. There's a wedge of hurt behind his pronouncements, or anger. He's overly level. It's hard to say what burned him, what turned him into a man so inclined to openly burnishing his emotional calluses. And who can ask, what with the ashy-hot 405 unspooling beneath the chassis? "I trusted everybody for a long time," he says. "Over the last, whatever, fifteen years of my life, that doesn't make me as happy."


...the Pats schedule is so easy this year he may be in line for his best season.

Posted by Orrin Judd at August 6, 2008 3:43 PM

He''ll push 40 TDs, but I think last year was his career year.

Posted by: Bartman at August 6, 2008 4:57 PM
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