One of the highlights of the New England Patriots' 2017 season did not happen on the field but off it, namely the release of the Tom vs Time documentary. The six-episode series focuses on quarterback Tom Brady and his life away from the gridiron – from his private life at home with his family to his preparations and recovery process before and after the Patriots' games.
The creator of the documentary, Gotham Chopra, recently spoke to The MMQB's Peter King and was also asked about the 40-year old quarterback’s future in the NFL. After all, Brady, who is on record for saying he intended go play until age 45, has not shown any signs of slowing down just yet and is coming off an MVP campaign. According to Chopra, however, the end might be closer than it looks.
“This idea that he’s going to play for four or five more seasons… I mean, this is just me, the guy who’s been around him for a while now. I just have a hard time envisioning that,” Chopra told King. “But we’ll see. I do think that these next few weeks and months are a critical time for him.” This thought reflects the final scene of Tom vs Time, which showed Brady speak about his commitment shortly after the season ended.
Of course, the somber mood could have been the result of the Patriots’ Super Bowl loss. Chopra, however, believes there might more behind it. “I mean, it’s an 18-year marriage, and it’s been an incredibly successful run,” the director said. “But there’s a lot of intensity and a lot of pressure, and a lot of big personalities. And Tom is one of them. That hasn’t been easy, and I find it interesting that by the end of the season, that all kind of faded away, because when you get to the end of the season, no matter what is going on, everyone sort of gets on the same page and focuses.”
Chopra hints at the oft-reported tension within the organization with Brady, head coach Bill Belichick and others reportedly butting heads on various issues. “Again, they had another incredible run,” he says. “And that’s what [Brady] says at the end is like, this is a very different offseason for him. It’s the fact that he’s got three growing kids, a wife who’s like, 'You know, I’ve kind of been putting stuff on hold for a while, and I wanna go out and do my thing now too.' And so Tom’s juggling a lot of things, and I think that’s basically what he says at the end: 'I gotta recalibrate. I have to find that conviction again'.”
Earlier this offseason, Brady joined ABC's Good Morning America, and retirement was also one of the topics the future Hall of Famer talked about. He noted that his family will play a big part in the decision – something Chopra essentially echoes in his remarks. Ultimately, however, he thinks that the greatest quarterback of all time will return to the Patriots in 2018.
“You know, I’ve seen Tom’s process,” said Chopra, “I think there’s very little doubt that he will eventually, this season, find that thing that will get him back and really amped. This past year was very unsatisfying in terms of how it ended, and so I don’t necessarily envision him leaving that as the last taste to hold onto.” There is little doubt Brady will be back next year and the question of whether or not he actually plays until he is 45 will remain unanswered.