Publish Date: 06/23/2020
Fact checked by: Mark Lewis
Six Super Bowl Rings. The oldest player to win NFL Most Valuable Player at age 40. Considered by most to be the GOAT quarterback. Supermodel wife. Movie star good looks. He’s won and has it all, but also not entirely without controversy.
And now Tom Brady’s story is coming to ESPN. The network is producing a behind-the-scenes nine-part series documenting the celebrated quarterback, and it’s expected to be released in 2021. The current working title is “The Man in the Arena: Tom Brady”, and each episode will cover one of his six Super Bowl titles and three finals losses.
The Last Dance of the Football Field?
ESPN, of course, has a penchant for delivering unforgettable sporting documentaries. There’s the well known “30 for 30” series and the epic “The Last Dance”, based on Michael Jordan’s final NBA season with the Chicago Bulls.
The Last Dance is undoubtedly a blueprint for the upcoming series. The basketball documentary was expected to garner significant interest, but its success surprised even the most positive network exec. It currently has the accolade of being the most successful ESPN docuseries ever, with an average of 5.6 people tuning in every week.
Whether you bet for or against the Patriots legend, Tom Brady’s story is worth telling. He’s the Michael Jordan of football, warts and all. He’s captivated the public, hated by legions of opposition fans, and inspired many more through his perseverance and unwillingness to bow down to defeat.
Backstage Pass to a Private MVP
Michael Jordan is known as a private individual. He’s not like Lebron James, king of both the court and social media. Jordan is old school. The fact he was willing to provide an inside look into his mindset and experiences is one of the reasons why The Last Dance dominated ratings and captured the imagination of the public during its entire run.
Tom Brady is similar in this regard. He’s not big on interviews, he does what’s necessary but doesn’t seek the limelight. For most of his story, fans have had to fill in the blanks, so to speak. Let’s just say he’s no Peyton Manning when it comes to talking to the media.
The idea of going backstage with one of the NFL’s greatest players is therefore an exhilarating and unique proposition. How did Brady experience the famous victories, but also the painful losses? How will the producers approach the infamous Deflategate, for example?
The Story Behind Nine Super Bowls Appearances
We expect this docuseries to have a similar formula to The Last Dance. On paper, the MJ series focused on the 97-98 season. But we got a lot more than that. We had flashbacks to past playoff series, a look back at Jordan’s childhood, his family, and the elements that combined to make him the greatest of all time.
The short teaser trailer backs this opinion, with short snippets and photos of his early years, both as a kid and during his college career. Tom Brady describes his story as an evolution to realize his potential. And you can’t tell that story by covering the pinnacle, a single Super Bowl game.
Biased Production Company?
There’s one ‘hmm’ aspect to the upcoming docuseries. Brady’s production company, 199 Productions, is going to have a big hand in the direction of the series. Many fans are asking themselves whether this is going to create an inherent bias in the production.
The Last Dance faced similar criticism, with Michael Jordan having the final say on what was released. It led to players like Horace Grant calling it a ‘so-called documentary’. Can you really get the full story if you have to get the green light from Brady?
Our thoughts? It’s a necessary evil. There’s no way Brady would go through with it if his production company didn’t at least have some editorial control. But that doesn’t mean we’ll get purely revisionist history. The Last Dance, for example, still covered all of the ‘ugly’ parts of Jordan’s career: the allegations of gambling, the bullying of his teammates, the disrespect shown to Jerry Krause.
Whether You Hate or Love Brady, It’s Unmissable TV
There are a lot of things people have said about Tom Brady. He doesn’t have the physical tools to make it in the NFL. The architect behind the infamous Deflategate. The most beloved quarterback of his generation. But also the most hated.
But Tom Brady’s greatness can’t be denied. He’s been magnificently successful. His drive to win and persevere through hard work and sweat is near unparalleled. And it hasn’t just been a story filled with ups, either. There are plenty of black pages in his career.
Getting a backstage pass to witness how Tom Brady surmounted his challengers, the critics, the controversy; it’s must-see television. We can’t wait. And we guarantee that even the haters will be glued to their screens once ESPN releases The Man in the Arena next year.