The timing of Tom Brady's new documentary can't be a coincidence, can it?
Last week, the Patriots dynasty was in shambles….well, at least according to Seth Wickersham. The sports world’s very own Fire and Fury, Wickersham’s explosive, yet largely unsubstantiated ESPN expose painted the picture of a super-ego triumvirate pulling apart at the hypotenuse—a passive-aggressive power struggle between the most successful coach-quarterback tandem in NFL history with management (and a modern-day witch doctor) caught in the middle.
“For Kraft, Brady and Belichick, is this the beginning of the end?” the headline suggested rather than asked. If not now, then soon, was America’s probably hopeful consensus.
But if Foxborough is tearing itself apart from the inside, you wouldn’t know it to watch the trailer for Tom vs Time. An intimate, unprecedented, and unabashed new documentary with Tom Brady at its center, Tom vs Time seeks to do what no one else has been able to—shed light on the greatest quarterback to ever play the game—by going where no one else has—from his Brookline living room to Costa Rican bungalow and everywhere in between.
In just over a minute, the trailer—aided by director Gotham Chopra’s unhindered access—seems to dispel any rumors of Tom Brady’s demise, portraying a driven, focused, and secure human being at total peace with the sacrifices of his profession. His supermodel wife waxes poetic on how no one loves anything as much Tom loves football. His children run chortling into his arms. He gives coaches high-fives and sweats youthfully in exotic jungle gyms.
Squint hard enough, though, and the cracks Wickersham alluded to begin to show. The footage portrays Tom as family man, but his voiceover suggests he gave up family for football. He appears as a mere mortal, but the film’s title—in concert with the Patriot legend's own quotes—suggest something similar to what Wickersham already has: That the inverse relationship between Brady’s performance level and age, almost religiously attributed to TB12 “pseudo-science,” has turned one of sports' most humble men into a walking, talking, toxic ball of hubris.
Tack on a New York Times report that suggests Bill Belichick and the Patriots organization were never made more than peripherally aware of the project, and that Josh McDaniels, not Belichick, is portrayed as Brady’s primary coaching influence, and suddenly Tom vs Time becomes essential viewing for the countless Jets/Bills/Dolphins/Colts/Steelers/Falcons/Seahawks fans the Patriots have either totally railroaded or rightfully crushed over the past 16 years.
Given Chopra’s background—he’s the son of New Age self-help guru Deepak Chopra—and Brady’s hook/line/sinker relationship with Snake Oil ph.D Alex Guerrero, there’s a very real chance this turns out to be just another barf-tastic, agenda-driven puff-piece, with purported scenes from Brady’s Montana bro-cation with Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola doing little to reduce the nausea level. But given the timing and the context and the man himself, perhaps Tom vs Time is what we're hoping for after all:
An unapologetic, uninhibited glimpse into the life of the most dominant athlete in American history, who would rather be incinerated by the sunset than ride quietly into it.