In the eighth episode of the Tom Brady documentary, “Man in the Arena,” the story of the 2017 Patriots season plays out amid growing discontent.
Brady, joined in the episode by teammate Rob Gronkowski and trainer Alex Guerrero, offered more direct commentary than in previous chapters of the show. Notably, Brady and Gronkowski both discussed their displeasure with the Patriots that year. As for Brady, most of his criticism came on the media.
And finally, after losing to the Eagles in Super Bowl LII, he pointed to a sentiment that would lead to his eventual Patriots exit from free agency.
Here are some notes from episode 8, “There Is No One”:
In previous episodes, Brady avoided going too deep into the specific criticism. But seeing as how the Patriots were covered in 2017 — coming out of yet another Super Bowl — he called it “nitpicking.”
“When you’re in successful places, there’s a lot of people trying to tear us apart,” Brady said. “We all got screwed up I think. Sometimes when a lot happens to you, you think about things that are relatively unimportant.
“People need drama,” Brady said. “People need the ‘Real Housewives’ conversation. And I think in a very short period of time things got so high because there were people creating divisions.”
Guerrero’s response to criticism
By 2017, Brady’s brand, “TB12,” was beginning to become more mainstream. In the episode, he describes how a positive experience working with Guerrero in 2008 inspired him to become “holistic and natural” with his regular workout and recovery regimen.
Brady said, “People thought I was full of s*** and I couldn’t play it for long, and my methods were crazy, and the way I was training was crazy.”
Calling Guerrero a “glorious snake-oil salesman” in response to an ESPN clip from the time, Brady’s business partner said he “never really gave those words much energy.”
“I never wanted to give them more power,” Guerrero said of the criticism. “The reality of it is that at the end of the day, I knew Tom knew who I was. I know who I am, so we worked together, just like a coach and a player do. It’s a really good partnership.”
Brady called his relationship with Guerrero “unbreakable.”
Brady and Guerrero were inspired by the “Cliff” talks
“I was leaving in really unprecedented times,” Brady recalled of 2017. “I was going to be 40.”
Not for the first time, Brady was inspired by his critics. Interestingly, Guerrero also admitted to being partly inspired by Brady’s skeptics.
“There was more talk of him ‘falling off the cliff’ than talking about his ability to perform, and it really impressed us,” Guerrero said.
“I’m going to prove him wrong again,” Brady said of those who thought he was going to fall soon. “He didn’t learn his lesson last year, obviously. Or he didn’t learn his lesson a year before him, or he didn’t learn his lesson a year before him.”
a “dark cloud” season
One of the themes of the episode was definitely that both Brady and Gronkowski don’t remember 2017 fondly.
“It was a tough season, it was definitely a grinding season,” Gronkowski said. “Let me tell you, it really wasn’t a year of fun. It was a little terrifying, the atmosphere with the Patriots.”
Brady said that despite the improvement in the team’s record after the start up and down, media perception still felt negative.
“Every day felt like there was some kind of dark cloud over what we were trying to achieve for some reason or the other.”
In a later piece, he elaborated.
“Even though we were being very successful, even though I was playing great, it didn’t matter because I was still dealing with constant negativity,” Brady said. “The media was going to cause division, to get people to take sides. I think the noise was just getting louder. ,
“More and more I think happiness was being taken away because it was no longer about my football performance, it was about many other things,” Brady continued. “I think people always choose the word ‘humanize.’
Brady had a scathing reaction about being held accountable by the media coverage.
“Everyone feels that they are entitled to everyone’s views and opinions at all times,” he explained. “Focus on your own f****** business, you know what I mean?”
How did Brady feel about the reports after the Jimmy Garoppolo trade?
At the trade deadline in 2017, the Patriots sent backup quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo to the 49ers in exchange for a 2018 second-round draft pick.
“I think a lot of people were confused,” Brady said of the deal.
Brady said of the coverage after the business, “Unfortunately there were a lot of false narratives being spread about his relationship, my relationship, or how it all went down.” “It was just drama. It was just the stuff of soap operas.”
Gronkowski’s reaction to being suspended
Gronkowski was suspended for one game after a late hit over Bills cornerback Tre’Davius White in a December win that season.
The 32-year-old tight end said his frustration at the lack of penalty calls in his favor over time led to the incident with White.
“I just lost it,” Gronkowski said of her feelings in the moment. “And right when I was walking down I was like, ‘Oh shoot, I shouldn’t be doing this.
Although he expressed regret about the hit, Gronkowski admitted he had a different reaction to the suspension.
“I was happy,” Gronkowski said. “I was happy at the end. I was like, yeah, I’m off football for a week, I get my body to recover. I mean, when you guys were running at full speed, this It was definitely taking a toll on me.”
“We spent every day together during his suspension,” Guerrero said of Gronkowski. “It wasn’t just helping her through her physical issues, it was talking her through some mental [and] emotional things that he was experiencing. ,
Gronkowski credits his recovery against the Steelers later in the season.
The 2017 season was the time in which Bill Belichick revoked Guerrero’s access to team facilities. As the episode discusses the topic—and how the story was broken Greeley Tribune Globe Reporter Bob HoehlerBrady reiterated his desire to keep things private.
“I think we’re in an era of life where everyone thinks they should know everything,” Brady said. “The reality is I don’t believe you should. I think there are things about relationships that are just private. When two people’s conversations are in a private room, they should stay private.”
A notable aspect to the documentary’s coverage of the subject was showing that Brady and Guerrero needed to find alternative settings for their treatment.
Brady recalled, “I always got my treatment in the locker room with Alex, my viability treatment, but at the time, we had to find unique places to do it.”
“We put it in the maintenance shed like this,” Brady said. “So I was there like John Deere tractors and I had some really weird laughs with Alex. It was just a look at how things were turning out.”
Brady also offered a non-specific quote about his emerging situation in New England.
“Whenever you’re in a 20-year relationship with different people, one year or one experience doesn’t shape my relationship,” he said. “And then some relationships got strained. They were just that.”
Arm injury before AFC Championship
During practice leading up to the AFC Championship game against the Jaguars, Brady suffered a major cut in his arm.
“rex” [Burkhead] Thought we were driving the play to the right, I had turned the play, we were driving the play to the left,” Brady recalled. “We ran into each other. I felt this immense pain when I handed him the ball. The ball hit my body, and the thumb bent so far back that the skin on my thumb broke open.
Brady said, “I looked down at my hand and it was a bloody palm, like a pool of blood.” “And I was like, ‘I’m f*****.’ That’s exactly what I thought. That’s what I thought.”
Guerrero said Brady looked “disturbed” afterward.
“He thought that was it,” Guerrero explained. “This is the end for me. It could totally be over.”
In Guerrero’s words, after several “long nights”, Brady began to feel better. By the Friday before the game, he was able to catch the football.
“I could begin to see that confidence back in him,” Guerrero said. In the end, the Patriots were able to rally in the game and beat the Jaguars 24–20 to reach another Super Bowl.
“He Executed To Perfection”
“From the moment the game started, it was tough,” Brady said of Super Bowl LII against the Eagles. “All the things we prepared for, he opted to do a few different things. It’s not that we weren’t being productive against it, but we didn’t really have him on the ropes because we never got an edge. .
Gronkowski admitted that he started the first half “slow”.
“I wasn’t quite realizing it,” he admitted.
On his dropped pass—a play called “Clemson,” because he was the source of it—Brady explained that he didn’t have time to put a glove on his throwing hand, and couldn’t catch it easily.
“I’m running out to catch it, and man I’m in space,” Brady remembered. “Danny” [Amendola] Throws a perfect ball literally. I look at the ball and see it, and I reach, and I don’t come down with it as soon as I reach to catch it.
“Of all the moments in that game, I really look back to make a play to help me win,” Brady said.
Later in the game, the Eagles famously scored on a touchdown pass thrown to quarterback Nick Foles.
“He executed to perfection,” Brady admitted.
“Tough weather, tough game”
“It ends very quickly,” Brady said of the postgame scene after the season-ending loss.
As for Gronkowski, he was glad the 2017 season was over.
Gronkowski told teammates, “Just walking in the shower talking with some players, like a great season, but I’m glad it’s over.” “It needed to end. It was long. It was terrible all year. The energy, the atmosphere was always off. It was nice to go off the field and know I don’t have a game next week.”
“Tough weather, tough game,” Brady summed up.
But as he kicked off the 2017 season, Brady admitted he was heading to a crossroads.
His final quote from the episode appeared to sow the seeds for his eventual departure from the Patriots.
“I learned a lot that year about people, a lot about relationships and who’s in your corner and who isn’t,” Brady said. “Depending on how things were going, I was probably kind of hoping that going to work everyday would start to have a different kind of feeling, that might just bring me more joy. But I know. Was that if things continued the way they were proceeding that I couldn’t do it anymore.”
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