Man In The Arena: Tom Brady on ESPN+, a Nine-Part Documentary Series on the NFL’s Greatest Quarterback

Tom Brady is one of the few athletes who can make a compelling case for being the Greatest of All Time, and thanks to a ESPN Mini Documentary, he is being treated for GOAT. Man In The Arena: Tom Brady, a series of nine parts premieres this week on ESPN+, followed the NFL legend throughout his long, record-setting career. Each focuses on one of his Super Bowl appearances and traces his evolution from unannounced backup to the best player in league history.

Opening scene: Brady strutted across the field in a New England Patriots uniform, before everything cut through with his image throughout his football career — from the Pee-Wee ball to the glory of the University of Michigan and NFL, while Brady tells the story himself.

Gist: The NFL loves to make legends out of men, and the Tom Brady legend is Hollywood magic. Famously overlooked, drafted in the sixth round of the NFL draft, Brady was brought into the spotlight of his rookie season, when the high-starting quarterback ahead of him suffered an injury. He led his team on a dramatic, uphill road to the championship, and never looked back. Now more than twenty years later, Brady has seven Super Bowl championships and nearly every statistical record a quarterback can have.

But for all that… do we really know Tom Brady? Man is a cipher; sometimes wooden, sometimes alien, and for all his accomplishments, he can clearly feel inaccessible to sports fans as a person. . Man In The Arena promises to offer a welcome window into the bubble of the record-setting quartet.

Photo: ESPN+

What shows will it remind you of? It’s no secret what ESPN is trying to do with Man in the Arena: Tom Brady—It’s an obvious attempt to recapture the magic of Michael Jordan’s ten part hagiography Last dance, and it’s similar in many ways, though more linear than the film’s timeline-jumping structure. There are also certain spots of classic NFL Movies in action here; they don’t reinvent the wheel with this, because they don’t need to.

Our Take: It can be easy to forget that there was a time when we didn’t know the name Tom Brady, and didn’t associate it with Super Bowl glory. But in 2001, he wasn’t the household name he half-jokingly told his family he would one day be. He was simply a kid too young to rent a car, drafted to be a backup quarterback, and far from anyone’s sights as a future game-changer.

Man In The Arena: Tom Brady structured to focus each episode on one of the quarterback’s first nine Super Bowl appearances (he had ten, counting last year’s victory as the Tampa Bay Buccaneer, but that’s too refreshing. to be able to join here). Whether you love the New England Patriots or hate them, there’s something particularly compelling about the first time he played inconsistently in the 2001 season. Expected to sit behind Drew Bledsoe by many years – one man starting to make a name for himself—who had just signed the biggest contract in NFL history at the time—Brady was in center position when a strong hit left Bledsoe with internal bleeding and sidelined for weeks. Brady started winning… and simply never stopped, leading the Patriots to a last-second victory over the beloved Super-Bowl champion, defending Super-Bowl champion, “The Show.” best performance” St. Louis Rams, and then five more titles in New England before departing for Tampa last year.

It’s been exciting to relive that season and it’s fun to remember Brady as an unproven, unproven rookie, considering what we know about the next two decades of his career. . Brady provided a large part of the narrative himself, with the support of several teammates that season – quarterback Willie McGinest, and Bledsoe, who offered his own views on the rear set aside by future GOATs beside.

Nothing special revealed about Man in the arenaof the offer — that is, we don’t get a bunch of never-before-seen archival footage Last dance provided — but that doesn’t hurt the documentary. The real value lies in the big-screen interviews, which give the much-needed human edge to something that might not be more than a standout reel. Brady himself is more charming than ever, seemingly almost human at times. It will be interesting to see how the story remains compelling as Brady’s character transitions from the underdog to the decorated champion, but if the first episode shows any signs of it, it has a good chance of succeeding. labour.

Gender and Skin: No, not even the famous draft combination of topless Brady has long given hope to other men lacking muscle.

Farewell shot: After the Patriots stun the Rams to win their first Super Bowl, we return to Brady as the narrator, as yet another clip of his glory shows on screen. Philosopher Brady muses: “It’s a series of small steps that seem insignificant at the time you’re taking them, only to see how far you’ve come in retrospect. It’s been incredible for me to love what I’m doing and pursue something for so long… and I’m still doing it. It’s a rare glimpse into Brady’s often-sphinx-like personality, and it bodes well for a gripping run for the rest of the series.

Sleeper Star: The first episode revolved around the Patriots’ surprising journey to their first Super Bowl win in 2002, and much of that storyline centers on Brady taking the helm of QB from the hands of Drew Bledsoe, the initiator. became famous. Bledsoe provides extensive interviews for the episode, and his apparently conflicting feelings about losing his job while winning the Super Bowl are surprising.

Most Pilot-y routes: “Without that play,” Brady noted of the famous ‘Tuck Rule’ call-up that changed the outcome of the Knockout Round against the Oakland Raiders in the Patriots’ run to Super Bowl XXXVI,” so many lives have been changed… The trajectory of the career has been changed.”

Our call: INSTRUCTIONS IT. For football fans, Tom Brady has been a part of our lives for more than two decades now, but we still easily feel as if we don’t know him. Man In The Arena: Tom Brady Goes a long way to changing that.

Scott Hines is an architect, blogger, and Internet user who lives in Louisville, Kentucky with his wife, two young children, and a large, small dog.

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