Nobody Needs A 10-hour Tom Brady Documentary
America just got done with watching The Last Dance, which is probably going to be the definitive Michael Jordan docu-series (until Jordan finds another time he needs to one-up LeBron James). And before we could even have just a few minutes to come down from the Air Jordan high, we got this stupid announcement.
There's a lot to unpack there, not the least of which is the sheer irony that he's naming his documentary after a speech by a badass president who famously fought for values contrary to everything this MAGA chud has attached himself to. I fully understand that by criticizing this trailer and taking time out of my day to illustrate how America needs a Tom Brady doc like we need a second Florida, I'm only proving the point behind that "Man in the Arena" speech. But the idea of a 9-part Brady documentary is so conceptually stupid.
First of all, Michael Jordan's origin story at least has some lore to it. He's a scrapper from North Carolina who was cut from his high school team and worked his way into becoming the greatest player of all time. Brady, on the other hand, was a well-off kid from California who got to sit and learn from a national championship-winning quarterback at Michigan. After Brady got the starting job at Michigan -- remember, the defending national champs -- he proceeded to get thumped by a flailing, Ron Powlus-less, Lou Holtz-less Notre Dame squad in the first game of the season.
At the end of college, Brady was just another middle-of-the-pack college QB. He got drafted to a New England Patriots team in the sixth round where under coach Bill Belichick he was just regularly put into positions to win. He didn't even win in fun, particularly enjoyable ways. He's like the kid whose parents forced him to take music lessons his entire life, so he's incredibly technically proficient but doesn't make you feel anything when you hear him.
If you're not from the New England area, chances are you don't even remember much about his wins, just that they happened. What you'll probably remember better are his Super Bowl losses to Eli Manning, which is probably where things started to really go downhill for him mentally. The first loss came a year after "Spygate," and the second came in 2011. A couple of years after that, Brady's getting started on "Deflategate."
The increased media scrutiny doesn't seem to impact his play, but off the field, he's starting to care more about Tom Brady, The Brand. He leans real hard into the whole Kobe-esque "I work harder than everybody else" bullshit, and puts together something sportswriters like to call "Manufactured Adversity." Because Tom Brady has never really actually had anything go wrong, that wasn't his fault somehow, he does things like release "199" clothing with UnderArmour as if to show the public that 15 years later, he's still angry about his NFL draft number and carrying that chip around on his shoulder. Boo-hoo, bro. He also does the first controversial thing of his career by having a "Make America Great Again" hat in his locker, only to apparently get chewed out by his wife Gisele Bundchen behind the scenes.
Honestly, she'd make a better documentary subject than her husband. But 10 hours of nothing but Brady? We'd rather watch this:
Yeah, there's no way a good Brady documentary will get into that descent into weirdness, and the first 10+ years of his 20-year career are already just the most vanilla stories you could write about an American football quarterback. Despite his assholery, Jordan had an entire Gatorade campaign about people wanting to "be like Mike" because of how much they loved him. And it worked. Brady isn't even likable -- he even looks like exactly what you picture when you think about a football player who bullies kids in high school. And to make it even less enticing, a lot of people noted how the Jordan doc didn't even have footage of half the crazy stuff they got into, and the Patriots have famously been one of the most secretive organizations this side of the CIA. What carrot can they possibly dangle to get us to care?
The stupidest part of all of this is that Brady's football career isn't even over. Can't we wait until he's 50 years old and surgically turned into a football-playing cyborg before we get a documentary?
Top Image: Andrew Campbell/Flickr