New England Patriots: ‘Tom vs Time’ reveals a dark truth


With Super Bowl LII a week away, New England Patriots fans have been feeding their football appetites with Facebook’s new Tom vs Time mini-series.

No one, and I mean no one, likes watching behind-the-scenes preparation videos more than I do. So when Facebook dropped Tom vs. Time, a mini-series about Tom Brady’s life off the football field, I was excited. Besides, how often do we get an inside look at how the New England Patriots prepare for their games?

After watching episode two of Tom vs Time, I want to reflect on one major theme I’ve noticed. Despite a clear upward trajectory, the series has had somewhat of a negative vibe so far. Seeing how competitive Brady is shows why he’s a champion, but it’s also cause for concern.

One thing Tom vs Time has done an incredible job of is bringing us into Tom Brady’s mind. We don’t get to see Tom’s post game reactions very often, so this series is truly enlightening. It’s made it very clear that Brady doesn’t forget things easily.

This isn’t news to Patriots fans, as we’re all aware that TB12 is fueled by his past struggles and is driven by vendettas. But why do his mistakes fuel him? The pursuit of perfection? An insatiable hunger to be the greatest quarterback of all time? In my opinion, it’s something different. Something darker.

Based on what we’ve seen through the first two episodes of Tom vs. Time, Tom Brady has some inner demons. His losses cut deeper than we think, and his work ethic/desire to win is all an attempt to heal his inner wounds. In the episode, he watches film from Super Bowl XLII and states that he’ll “never let go of those losses” because “that scar tissue is too deep”. He was visibly upset just from watching a few plays.

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"In describing the loss, Brady says “when you lose on the biggest stage and you know everyone’s watching, you know, and you’ve committed so much of your life to what you’re doing, you’re becoming a failure in front of everybody else, it’s a talent show that you did when you were a kid, and you were a failure.”"

His beautiful smile can help mask some of his pain, but not all of it. It’s clear that losing is more than just an L in the record books to him… it’s a gash in his soul.

If you couldn’t tell, seeing how Brady reacts to losses behind closed doors was troubling for me. When his anger subsides, he relives the moments in film. Basically, he’s torturing himself. For someone with a seemingly perfect life, Tom Brady struggles to deal with his past.

What’s most troublesome is Tom’s plan for the future. For a long time, I’ve believed that Brady will play football forever. I still kind of do. But Tom vs Time made me uneasy. It makes me believe that his retirement is on the horizon if the Patriots win the Super Bowl.

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This idea, by the way, has nothing to do with his body. At age 40, he’s in the best shape of his life and still dominating his competition. You don’t go 13-3 and win the AFC Championship with a deteriorating body and no performance enhancing drugs (what’s up, Peyton Manning). No, this has entirely to do with Brady’s psyche.

Based on what Tom vs Time has shown us, Brady isn’t able to let go of big losses. If the New England Patriots lose next Sunday, Brady may never recover mentally. He’ll be chasing the feeling of winning for the rest of his career because he has the taste of failure stuck in his mouth. It would be like a cocaine addict chasing his first high.

On the flip side, the series is leading me to believe that Tom Brady is preparing to retire after a win. Again, it’s not because he’s incapable of winning at an advanced age, but because he needs to go out on top for his own mental health. If the Patriots win next Sunday, Tom Brady can ride off into the sunset with 60% of his fingers covered in jewelry. The only thing he’d struggle with is his desire to play football. In my opinion, that’s better than him living the rest of his life thinking he’s a failure.

It sounds ridiculous, but that’s how I felt watching Tom vs Time. I hated writing every word of this blog, and hope every word I wrote was wrong. I hope Tom Brady is perfectly stable and his pain seemed amplified by the cutting and editing of the video. Most of all, I hope Tom Brady plays until he’s 50 and the New England Patriots don’t lose another game until that point. But I won’t lie, Tom vs Time scared me. For the first time in my life, I saw vulnerability in Tom’s eyes. Hopefully it’s the last time.

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The rest of the series is set to come out this week, sometime before Super Bowl LII. Despite my reaction, I know Tom Brady is training harder than ever to make sure he wins on Sunday. Go Pats.