Tom Brady is the greatest football player of all time. After winning six Super Bowls in New England, he (like all old men) went to Florida and won another. His legacy is absolutely undeniable, but what has he given up to keep playing the game he loves?
Brady has changed his personal life substantially to keep playing football. Recently he divorced his wife, Gisele Bündchen, and now has joint custody of his three children. He mentioned that he’s “focused on two things — taking care of my family and certainly my children. And secondly doing the best job I can to win football games,” but is football really secondary to his family? He’s taking his life in his hands every time he walks onto the field at this point: he’s 45 and not getting any younger. Additionally, the football season is extremely busy. He can’t be spending enough time with his children and adequately preparing for and playing in NFL games. With such a high-risk, time-consuming job, it’s impossible to spend adequate time doing much of anything else.
Despite his age, Brady is an extremophile when it comes to his health. Supposedly he drinks anywhere from 14 to 37 glasses of water every day, and even more on especially active days. That’s enough water to hydrate a healthy person for five days, and enough to kill a person. He also follows a very strict mostly plant-based diet, “that excludes gluten, dairy, corn, soy, MSG, coffee, alcohol, GMOs, sugar, trans fats, overly processed foods, and more.” While this diet is extremely healthy, “there are some restrictions that aren’t backed by science, such as cutting certain veggies like mushrooms, eggplant, peppers, and tomatoes.” His dedication to NFL-level fitness at the age of 45 is extremely impressive, but a lot of the rules that he follows are just unnecessary. Many of the central tenets of his diet, like excluding certain vegetables or eliminating dairy to avoid inflammation, aren’t based in science.
Has his commitment to the sport been worth it? In general, you could say that it has been worth it considering he is going to go down in history as the greatest football player ever. However, at this point, it is hard to justify what he is doing as “worth it.” Every year he extends his career he has an opportunity to win more. He clearly has shown that even though he is old, he can still throw the football. Last year he finished in second place in the Most Valuable Player Award voting at age 44. It might have been time to retire there. Not only would he have finished on a high note, he also could have made a seamless transition into his next position. According to Sportico, Brady signed a 10-year $375 million contract with Fox Sports to be an on-air NFL analyst. All of this goes into effect when he stops playing football. Yet instead of staying retired and going to Fox, he decided to come out of retirement after 40 days and play football again. This cost him his marriage and on top of that, the Bucs aren’t even playing well this season. The team is 3-5 so far this season. They may turn their season around, but still, it’s concerning.
Brady is throwing tablets and yelling at teammates, showing he might have made a mistake. He could have retired as the greatest player ever without any drama. His legacy in the sport is unreal, he is without a doubt the greatest player to take a snap. He’s a locked-in Hall of Famer, an idol for millions of young fans, and a great story about taking the opportunity you’re given and turning it into something great. But, to obtain all of this greatness, he’s had to make a great personal sacrifice. Now, he’s still going to be known as the greatest player ever, but also that guy that divorced a supermodel to play mediocre football for a year.
Editors’ Note: This article is not a member of the Opinions column which also bears the name “Tommy Time.” Editor-in-Chief Thomas Pickering did not contribute to the writing of this article.