Man in the Arena: Tom Brady premiered last week on ESPN+ in partnership with Religion of Sports and details Tom Brady's path to playing in 10 Super Bowls. While NFL and sports fans know how great he is, one aspect about Brady is rarely discussed. PopCulture.com recently caught up with Man in the Arena: Tom Brady director and Religion of Sports co-founder Gotham Chopra who revealed the biggest takeaway from Brady while filming the docuseries.
"I think we've all heard, and probably because of what we did with Tom vs. Time about the physical aspect of his training, and his pliability work, and TB12, and all of that sort of stuff," Chopra told PopCulture. "He's a 24/7 operation. But I'm convinced more and more that I talk to him, and I get to know him, that it's not that. That's restoration work, that cosmetic work, but it's the mental and emotional aspect, especially as his life in these last five years, six years, has gotten more complicated with kids, dealing with fame. Age-wise he's radically older than most of his teammates."
Chopra continued: "I think it's just wrestling with all of that and continuing to find ways to motivate himself and to be emotionally grounded and present because that's really what it takes. I talked to another older player, or a player who's now since retired, actually, Michael Strahan, who's in the series, and Michael said something like, 'You get to a certain stage of your career where physically you figured it out. You know what you have to eat. You know how to train your body. It's sort of mentally and emotionally do you still want to do it.'"
Each episode of Man in the Arena, produced by Religion of Sports, will focus on a single Super Bowl appearance. The first episode focuses on Brady taking over for Drew Bledsoe as starting quarterback for the New England Patriots in 2001 and beating the St. Louis Rams in the Super Bowl. In the episode that premiered this week, Brady gets the team back to the Super Bowl in 2003 after missing the previous year's playoffs. Brady won six Super Bowls with the Patriots and one with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last year, and all the highs and lows he goes through will be featured in Man in the Arena.
"It's a little bit of what I was just saying at the risk of sounding too arrogant," Chopra said when talking about the docuseries. "It's a master class in leadership. This is a guy who has done something — this is trying to decode how did Michelangelo paint the Sistine Chapel or how did Mozart compose the 9th Symphony. It's a guy who's achieved something really epic, and by the way, is still doing it. How did that happen? What are the components of the heart that made him the greatest ever? And so, you almost take Tom Brady out of it. It's just studying a subject and really uncovering greatness."