I Read the ESPN Hit Piece on Tom Brady So You Don’t Have To. Lets Break It Down

Its been too long, ESPN. I haven’t read a good Patriots hit piece in a few months. ESPN the Magazine just dropped this article today on Tom Brady and the TB12 Method. It used to be Greg Easterbrook randomly attacking the Patriots as part of his weekly 8,000 word diatribes. Then it was Mark Brunell crying on SportsCenter about DeflateGate. Well, now we’ve moved on to Tom Brady and the TB12 Method. Listen, I haven’t bought the book so take this with a grain of salt. I don’t know all the ins and outs of Brady’s program, but I do know a hit piece when I see one. So lets break it down.

“He tried his best, as he always does, but he was alone against a younger, faster opponent, and when he dove, he missed by a foot rather than by an inch and appeared simply to fall down, in pieces. Even those who root against him might then have pitied him, because it was one of those moments when the essence of sport is revealed to be cruelly and coldly biological: Tom Brady, in the course of throwing a pick-six to Robert Alford of the Falcons in the second quarter of Super Bowl LI, had grown old.”

Wait did the Patriots lose that game? Did Brady play terribly? Oh no, it was the greatest comeback in Super Bowl history in which Tom Brady won his fourth Super Bowl MVP and finished the game 43-62 with 466 yards for 2 TDs and 1 INT. Decent.

“He doesn’t just want to play until he’s 45; he has to play until he’s 45, or else he’s not Tom Brady, architect of the impossible.”

I’d say he’s doing alright thus far. While it would be a surprise for him to retire now after years of saying how he wants to play well into his 40’s, I don’t think anyone would necessarily fault him. I might weep like a small child, but certainly no one with a rational brain would put a negative spin on him retiring “early” if he did so.

“When [Tony] Robbins, smiling toothily in his headset, leads the crowd in rhythmic clapping, Brady gamely claps along. He is wearing his own headset, smiling his own toothy smile, and he appears for all the world to be an aging athlete doing what aging athletes have always done — trying to find a way off the field by turning himself into a salesman.”

Jesus christ, I mean I didn’t buy the TB12 book either, but this ESPN writer is out for blood. Maybe Brady is exaggerating? Or maybe the guy who is playing at the highest level a QB his age has ever played at is on to something? I don’t know.

“He answers questions about concussions by saying that his body is none of your business even as he begins to build a business around his body.”

First real valid point of this article. But also, if you’re Brady why would you want to open yourself up to constant questioning about your personal (alleged) concussion history when you’re still lining up every Sunday. Maybe after he retires, but doing so now would just, all together now, create a distraction.

“The TB12 Method offers a portrait of a ferociously limited human being, albeit the world’s “most hydrated” one.”

Hey fuck you buddy, being hydrated is half the battle. Plus Tom Brady is the absolute antithesis of the all-time great QBs. He wasn’t handed a starting job on a silver platter or gifted golden NFL legacy genes like Peyton Manning. He was a backup in high school on a winless team and then was behind about half a dozen other guys on the QB depth chart in college. Sure, he has world’s more athletic potential than any of us, but I don’t fault the guy for harping on the limitations he overcame to get here. Because its exactly what he did. I mean have you ever SEEN his NFL Combine pic?

“In fact, two years ago, I took a hit on my knee during a practice, requiring an MRI. The doctors who read the MRI joked afterward that my knee looked so healthy, they seriously doubted I played professional football.”

Alright thats a bit of a hokey stretch from Tom, but again the guy has already torn his ACL horribly. Legitimately required multiple surgeries to fix it after nearly ending his career so is it out of the realm of possibility that Brady’s “pliability” work has helped avoid further injuries like this? Watch him play and he really does “know how to fall.” Thats a legitimate skill. Its why only children and old people break their arms when they fall down.

“However, if Alford had caught the ball Brady threw to him instead of Edelman, or if the ball had followed its natural course and fallen to the turf instead of being held up by a thicket of arms and legs — or if Pete Carroll had just handed the ball to Marshawn Lynch in Super Bowl XLIX — we might be having an entirely different conversation about Tom Brady. He wouldn’t be an immortal, and instead of talking about the efficacy of the TB12 Method in prolonging prime performance, we’d be shaking our heads about another NFL great reduced to chasing his own ghost. Brady didn’t only get good against Seattle and Atlanta, he also got lucky.”

If David Tyree the insurance salesman doesn’t make the luckiest catch in NFL history or if Mario Manningham doesn’t make that absurd sideline catch then Tom Brady could have SEVEN Super Bowl rings right now. Or Vinatieri could miss all of those clutch field goals and Brady could have none.

“The quarterback was still trying to adjust his game after five years of postseason struggle. Smart defensive coaches had started challenging him, clogging the middle of the field in order to force him to throw outside. In 2013, Brady’s yards per attempt had fallen to 6.92, his lowest since 2006, and he completed only 17 of 68 throws beyond 20 yards.”

In case anyone forgets, 2013 wasn’t exactly the kindest year as far as Tom Brady’s offensive weapons were concerned. While this was Edelman’s breakout season with 105 catches, Rob Gronkowski got hurt and played in only 7 games, Wes Welker left for the Broncos, Danny Woodhead went to the Chargers, oh and Aaron Hernandez got arrested for murder. The Pats signed Danny Amendola, who got hurt and played in parts of only 12 games. The Pats also brought in hugely disappointing rookies in Aaron Dobson, Josh Boyce, and Kenbrell Thompkins. Just a little perspective. Moving on…

“The Chiefs drubbed the Patriots on Monday night early in the 2014 season, and Brady played so poorly — so creakily — that talk turned to whether he was, at long last, finished. 

Yes the Pats had just drafted Jimmy G before the 2014 season, and yes people like Trent Dilfer danced on the Patriots’ graves.

But the team was not in this freefall that this article seems to suggest. Do we already forget what Belichick’s response was to people asking if Brady would be supplanted as the starter?

“A few days later, Belichick asked running backs coach Ivan Fears to speak to the team. Fears spoke about the importance of attitude, then turned to Brady and, with the entire team looking on, said, “Your body language reeks of fear.”

Thats the beauty of the Patriots as Tom Brady himself has said many times over the years, no one in that locker room is above criticism.

“On the night of Oct. 30, that question was answered — for now, at least — when he traded Garoppolo to the San Francisco 49ers for a second-round pick. The trade came out of nowhere, surprising people close to Belichick, Brady and Garoppolo. But while it’s easy to see the move as a demonstration that Brady is and always will be the one exception to the Belichick Method, it instead serves as confirmation that the Method will always win. Did Belichick trade his backup out of loyalty to a 40-year-old quarterback, or because cutting bait at exactly the right time is what he always does and always will do?”

Literally NO ONE believes that Belichick traded Jimmy Garoppolo because he’s pals with Tom Brady. He did it because he saw an opportunity to get a draft pick that he valued more than he valued Jimmy G at this current time on his current contract. Thats it.

“[Brady] said, ‘I’m at the point where I want to be the best in every possible way. I came across the exercises in Popular Science, and I can already see the difference in my brain function. This kind of brain training is like physical conditioning. It can help anyone.’ “That’s just not how we thought of brain training before,” Mahncke says.”

Taking advantage of underutilized tools in unconventional ways. Very Moneyball of you, Tom.

“He has little sympathy for anyone whose experience might contradict the overarching TB12 narrative. “Players say the biggest reason [for early retirement] is their fear of the long-term effects of playing while injured. I don’t have that fear. They have no idea they can have a body or a career free of the pain that athletes of the past have endured.

Okay, yes, if I was a fellow NFL player dealing with injuries this line would drive me up a wall.

What would count as a failure for Tom Brady? Playing until he’s 41 instead of playing until he’s 45? Never winning another Super Bowl? Getting released at age 43 from the Patriots and spending the last days of his career hobbling around for the Browns, still angry that they took Spergon Wynn in the sixth round of the 2000 draft instead of him? Or getting all he wants — playing until he’s 45 and winning two more Super Bowls — only to discover 15 years later that he has recurring headaches and his memory is hazy and he can’t follow the route to the nearest TB12 training center?”

Pretty morbid from ya boy over at ESPN especially when all Brady is trying to do is mitigate the chances of injuries like that. Not glorifying CTE inducing hits like *your* employer ESPN used to do back in the day with the JACKED UP segment.

Then these guys completely forgo subtlety and all but blame the TB12 method for not helping prevent Julian Edelman’s torn ACL, or Dont’a Hightower’s torn pectoral muscle, or Amendola’s concussion. Listen, I’m not a disciple, but this book is not being sold to people as a way to never get injured again. Brady has said himself that its about preventative measures and recovery more than anything else.

I don’t know, if you want to read the article its pretty in depth, but I got a very haterade vibe to the whole thing; not just towards the TB12 Method, but towards Tom Brady himself. Color me shocked.

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