Even as a longtime Tom Brady defender — someone who thinks the Deflategate “scandal” was ridiculously overhyped and that the whole Brady-as-Trump-supporter thing has always been overblown — I totally understand why you all hate him. (Unless you’re from New England or Tampa.) He’s very easy to despise for a classic reason: He seems to have everything. Brady is movie-star handsome, is blessed with superhuman athletic ability that has allowed him to win a record seven Super Bowls, appears to have not aged in roughly 20 years, and has a highly successful, beloved-in-her-own-right wife. This is precisely the sort of person people hate! To quote Albert Brooks’s great Aaron Altman in Broadcast News:
The really aggravating thing about Brady is that he has never even gone through a bona fide rough patch. The two biggest public hits to his reputation — Deflategate and that MAGA hat — were followed almost immediately by Super Bowl victories that put Tom on top of the world again. He even left his beloved Patriots and went out and won another Super Bowl with Tampa Bay, seemingly just to show he could. And this last offseason, he retired — living another dream, getting to read all your own glowing obituaries — then changed his mind and decided come back and play again. (And hawk Crypto, of course.) It looked like everything had worked out for Brady, as per usual.
But, two weeks into the new NFL season, take some solace, haters: No one looks more miserable than Tom Brady right now.
This is not because his team is underperforming: The Buccaneers are, in fact, 2-0 so far, with two road wins over the Cowboys and the Saints. And yet this was him during Sunday’s game:
(To be fair, it was not the first time he’d tossed a tablet.)
And this was Brady — whose cheeks have never looked so … sunken? — afterward.
For once, you wouldn’t necessarily want to be Tom Brady right now. There are his onfield troubles: Despite the 2-0 record, Brady has had a very tough first couple of games this year, thanks largely to depth issues at wide receiver and offensive line. He has been under constant pressure — and by “pressure,” I mean “half a dozen 350-pound men trying to grind his 45-year-old bones into dust” — on just about every snap.
But the real drama is taking place in the domestic sphere. Multiple reports have surfaced that Brady and his wife, Gisele Bündchen, are living apart, largely because of discord that Brady — whom Bundchen has said she wants to be more “present” with her and her children — un-retired from football against her wishes. (This comes not long after Bundchen gave an interview with Vogue in which she said Brady was “not a person who dives deep” intellectually. Not exactly a ringing endorsement.) He recently took a mysterious 11-day (excused) absence from the Bucs during training camp and has already come to an agreement with his team that he will get every Wednesday off during the season, a highly unusual arrangement that Defector’s Kelsey McKinney accurately described as “quiet quitting.”
He looks, for all the world, like a truly miserable human being. Seriously, look at those cheekbones in that video!
It’s true that Brady is still incredible at football, that he can make throws at 45 that hardly anyone else in the world could:
But who wants to hear about that at this point? It’s pile-on time! Brady is finally in the gutter right now: chased, hunted, alone, frustrated, desperate for time off and surely wondering why, exactly, he came back to put himself through all this. The moment you have all been waiting for has arrived:
Tom Brady is unhappy. And if Tom Brady is unhappy, well, dammit, there has to be a little bit of hope in there for all of us.
Let us all enjoy this moment, and hold it tight, and remember it well come February when he’s winning his eighth Super Bowl and posing with his gorgeous family and doing an Instagram post and selling it as an NFT. Brady always wins — it’s what he does. One must celebrate his rare failures, such as they are, while one can.