By Ty Anderson, 985TheSportsHub.com
With enough Super Bowl rings to make one hand weigh five pounds more than the other, and with enough personal accolades to warrant a statue at Patriot Place, quarterback Tom Brady no longer feels the need to answer your questions. Not ones that do not directly relate to football and the current state of his team, at the very least. After almost 20 years — and almost 20 years of a Patriots run that we will absolutely never see duplicated in our lifetimes, at that — this is a right Brady has earned.
Don’t like it? Too bad.
Because this is how it is now. Deal with it.
Now, let me first point out that this isn’t about the topic of Alex Guerrero questions being considered fair game or not.
Although I personally find the preseason travel plans and accommodations of a personal trainer to be about as interesting as counting ceiling tiles at jury duty, I understand why it’s a story. To some, Guerrero is the Yoko Ono of the Patriots, making ‘Tom vs. Time’ the 41-year-old quarterback’s six-episode “How Do You Sleep?” against Bill Belichick. And considering the fact that the organizational dysfunction that crumbled the Patriots all the way to their second straight Super Bowl really started with Guerrero’s access to the sidelines and team plane being revoked by Belichick, Guerrero’s return to the team charter is absolutely interesting. Reading between the lines of it all, it also likely means that there’s been some sort of handshake agreement between Brady, Belichick, and maybe Robert Kraft on Brady’s lates contract restructuring that should’ve paid No. 12 more actual money.
This, unlike demanding Brady answer for another player’s PED violation, is worth a question or two.
Nobody with a brain should be saying otherwise.
But at this point, it’s laughable if anybody even tries to play ‘Gotcha!’ with the man who obviously refuses to even let you chase him. By now, it all seems painfully obvious: Ask Brady about things he does not feel like talking about and it’s over.
The Boston Globe’s Ben Volin learned this when he subtly tried to lure Brady into a line of questioning that, if framed just right, can make it sound like Guerrero is dealing ‘roids. The morning show on Guest Street learned this even when their attempted backpedaling on Guerrero-centered questions already dug a hole too big to get out of before Brady ended things. I mean, go back and listen to the audio of that interview and you can almost pinpoint the exact moment Brady’s tone completely flips and he decides that he’s done with the interview. It’s the closest thing Boston Radio will get to Ralph Wiggum’s broken heart.
What makes this fascinating, though, is that Brady is in that rarified air where he’s so accomplished and so damn productive (still!) that he can essentially do whatever he wants and you have to basically accept it. I mean, what can Volin do? Politely ask that Brady answer the question? You know for a fact Brady does not give a damn about what Volin wants out of a league-mandated media session. What can the morning show do? Beg Brady, whose interview serves as their most valuable piece of their football coverage, not to hang up on them for the third time in the calendar year? Contractually-obligated or not, Brady has shown that he considers his comfort with the line of questioning infinitely more important than advertisers and radio hosts.
The Patriots as an organization can’t even do anything about Brady, at 41, deciding which questions he feels like answering.
This is the quarterback that’s taken you to back-to-back Super Bowls, and has carried you to the conference championship game in seven straight seasons. Brady, who credits his late-career success to Guerrero, has shown no signs of slowing down, either. Oh, and the Patriots also traded Jimmy Garoppolo out of town. So good luck trying to tell Brady that he has to play nice with any and every question just ’cause you think it’s best for his image and the media frenzy around the team moving forward.
This indeed appears to be the new reality, but at least the Patriots have experience with this. In fact, this indifference is something that’s become the norm for Belichick. And it’s accepted because Belichick wins at a clip nobody else in the league comes even close to matching. It’s made Belichick snorting at questions he finds too stupid to answer the stuff of compilation videos, and has been spun into a borderline endearing quality about the game’s top coach. This easily fits Brady, too.
And if we think about it, this is really the first time that Brady has decided to go with a power play.
When Brady’s integrity was questioned by way of deflated footballs in a 45-7 win, Brady stood front and center for half an hour and told you exactly why you were wrong to call him a cheater, fraud, or even insist that he was doing anything nefarious. When Roger Goodell was willing to take his sport’s greatest competitor to court (and ultimately defeated the man that almost never loses), Brady still went out there and shook Goodell’s hand as if nothing happened. It wasn’t the first time, and if Brady has his way in an attempted sequel to an MVP year that came a few defensive stops away from his sixth ring, it won’t be the last.
As somebody that’s made an off-field career of hiding behind a smile meant for public office, Brady has seemingly embraced all criticism. But now, questions that Brady doesn’t like are going to be answered by way of a walkout or dial tone. Period.
Brady does all of this knowing he’s pumping more gasoline for the hot take engines.
But it’s obvious that he doesn’t care, if only because he’s realized that no longer has to.
Brady has finally embraced the reality of his situation, success, and status. He finally knows even the most well-intentioned ‘I don’t wanna talk about this’ won’t stop the questions or every talking head screaming about Brady’s lack of accountability. That even summer charity events will eventually hit a point where they become the center of a Boston Globe investigation. That even photographs of a smiling Belichick and Brady spending their free time conversing on a football field won’t settle nonsensical ‘power struggle’ debates still happening 12 days away from Week 1. Or that even the most welcoming, inviting interview regarding his friendships and associations won’t stop somebody from hurtling an insult at somebody in Brady’s life.
Brady’s continued non-answers give one, however. And it’s the same one he’s heard — likely from his coach, who has given Brady’s offense what may be its worst wide receiving group depth since the 2006 season, from a defensive scheme and lack of in-game adjustments that might not have given their offense the best chance to win Super Bowl LII, and from the media that demands answers for their questions, no matter the potentially invasive nature — all year: “This is how it is now. Deal with it.”
Ty Anderson is a digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Ty? Follow him on Twitter @_TyAnderson.