BOSTON (CBS) — Tom Brady’s exploits on the football field are well-known. From the touchdown passes to the fiery sideline outbursts to the hoisting of five Lombardis, everybody knows what Brady has done on the field.
Yet even with a supermodel wife and a booming life of sponsorships, Brady has managed to keep most of his off-field life private. He doesn’t often offer any controversial opinions, and though he’s increased his social media presence over the past couple of years, he’s still generally private for a man of his fame level.
So whenever some behind-the-scenes stories come out, they always generate attention. And in that department, ESPN’s Mike Reiss may have published the best story yet.
In celebration of Brady’s 40th birthday on Thursday, Reiss talked to several friends, family members, teammates and coaches from Brady’s life and asked them to share stories about Brady that nobody knows. The results were tremendous.
Patriots head coach Bill Belichick, who of course drafted Brady in 2000 and has helped foster the quarterback’s entire professional career, said that Brady risked his life to play a dangerous lie at Pebble Beach a few years ago.
“It’s a big cliff. He’s literally standing out there on the ledge, trying to hit the ball,” Belichick said. “The caddie is holding him so he won’t like tumble 300 feet to his death into the Pacific Ocean. It’s a golf ball. But I think that’s kind of the competitiveness of Tom. … I’m thinking to myself, ‘What the hell are you doing?'”
While Brady’s strict diet doesn’t allow for him to really drink alcohol, former Pats backup quarterback Brian Hoyer said that Brady used to essentially be a world-class drinker when it came to chugging beer.
“You have linemen, Julian Edelman, they all think they are going to win. Then someone says, ‘I heard Tom is really great at chugging a beer.’ We don’t usually get to experience him like this, but we finally coax him into doing it,” Hoyer told Reiss. “He does it, and let me tell you, you couldn’t have poured out the beer faster into a glass. It was unbelievable. And he slams the mug on the table and puts both fists in the air. He walks away with a look on his face that said, ‘You really thought you were going to beat me on this?’ The place went nuts.”
A lot of the stories highlight Brady’s hyper-competitiveness. He threw a dice game against the wall in an airplane while losing to Wes Welker before figuring out a way to win, he refused to let Matt Cassel take practice reps, and he answered Josh McDaniels’ question to Jacoby Brissett because the rookie quarterback was taking too long to answer. This side of Brady is certainly the part we’ve heard about over the years.
But there was also the “softer” side of Brady, so to speak, which shone through in a story from former Patriots offensive coordinator Charlie Weis. The coach underwent gastric bypass surgery but suffered complications, so when Brady went to the hospital to visit, Weis was on the verge of death.
“Tommy basically stayed with my wife most of that weekend until reinforcements could arrive. He was there all day Saturday, with her late Saturday night; and then Sunday, I had flatlined a little bit where I was actually dead and they brought me back,” Weis told Reiss. “Those two days really changed our family’s relationship with Tommy. From that day on, he wasn’t just the quarterback. There was a bond between Tommy and my wife and our family that had been created on nothing to do with football.”
Those are just a few of the stories, but they’re certainly all worth reading for anyone who wants to better know Brady.