Off the field, he wrestled at length with a seemingly endless debate of work-life balance. Brady delves into that debate, which surrounded his 41-day retirement, in the latest “Man in the Arena” episode to be released on Tuesday, April 26, via ESPN Plus. The documentary series highlights Brady’s Super Bowl seasons, and the 10th episode highlights his time in Tampa Bay.
Brady, 44, retired on Feb. 1 but returned to football on March 13 He cited family — his wife and three school-age children — as a big reason for the initial retirement. The film doesn’t delve into Brady’s 41-day retirement directly, according to Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times, who previewed the film.
“I realize life for me is becoming more complicated,” Brady said in “Man in the Arena” via Stroud. “How do I make my life a little more simple to find a little more joy in the simple moments, because I’m so excited about achieving more?”
Brady cites the witness of his own father, Tom Brady Sr., as a big reason for his wrestling with how to proceed. His father and mother, Galynn, raised him and his three sisters in northern California during the 1980s and 1990s.
“When I think about being a dad, I think about (his own father),” Tom Brady said in “Man in the Arena” via Stroud. “Because of what my dad meant to me, and I know I’m not as good of a dad to my kids that my dad has been to me. I use them as my example of how to keep a family together and to care and support and to love. We want our kids to be happy. I want them to be respectful of people, I want them to be kind, I want them to make the world a better place.”
“I think maybe what I wish for our children is to find something they really love like I have,” Brady added. “But I think I’ve taken it to the extreme, too. There are imbalances in my life, and I hope they don’t take things as far as I’ve taken them. I want them to experience great success in whatever they do, but there’s a torment about me that I don’t wish upon them.”
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Brady’s Tireless Pursuit of Excellence
Brady works tirelessly at disciplining his body and improving his game both during the season and the offseason. It reaped seven Super Bowl wins and five MVPs, 10 conference championships, three regular season MVPs, and a plethora of passing records. Despite the success of 22 seasons, he still wants more.
“I know there’s times for me to be sitting in the stands, I know there’s times for me to be doing other things,” Brady said in the film via Stroud. “But there’s still a desire to win. When you’re the ‘Man in the Arena,’ there’s no thrill like that.”
Brady: ‘My Dad Made Every Commitment to Me’
As much as Brady expresses a desire for his children “to experience great success in whatever they do”, he recognizes that his success became possible in part because of his father’s support. His father worked in the insurance industry during Brady’s upbringing.
“My dad made every commitment to me; that was an amazing dad,” Brady said in the film via Stroud, who noted that Brady “wiped tears” as he said it. “There was never a moment when he didn’t have time to support what I wanted to do and try to achieve. It’s a hard thing to do.”
“From the time I was a kid, whether I wanted to be a pro baseball player, he’d come home and take me out on the field and hit me ground balls until the sun set,” Brady added. “When I wanted to learn to play QB … he didn’t push me, he kind of held me up.”
Brady wants to hold up a Lombardi Trophy at least one more time, but as he expressed in the last episode of “Man in the Arena”, he wants to hold up his children’s dreams and goals, too.