Ben Affleck shares story from playing catch with Tom Brady that he believes is the reason for his greatness

"He doesn't have that part of the brain where he gets nervous."

Tom Brady invited Ben Affleck to play catch with him. It turned into a workout that Affleck called "one of the most memorable days of my life." and Chris Pizzello / AP

Star actor and Cambridge native Ben Affleck once got to live out the dream many Patriots fans have.

In an interview on the “Bill Simmons Podcast” Friday, Affleck went into detail about the time he got to play catch with Tom Brady and what he learned about the star quarterback.

“I wish I had more in common with Tom Brady,” Affleck said. “I played catch with the man once and realized how very little we had in common. He was throwing the ball to me and I was praying to God, not just because I wanted to impress the guy — which I very much did — but because I thought I would really get hurt because it shows up right in front of your face.

“After about 10 minutes, he was like ‘Are you ready?’ I said ‘Ya’ and he said ‘Now we’ll really start throwing the ball.’ I was like, ‘Oh my God, are you going to dump another 30 mph on this? Because I’m very much at my peak and really trying.'”


“So, I have some things I have in common with Tom, I like to think,” Affleck added. “People both know who we are sometimes and we were in New England and that’s sort of about it.”

Affleck, who called the experience “one of the most memorable days of my life,” shared that Brady actually sought him out to play catch with.

“He calls me up and says ‘Yeah [Giselle’s] not a great receiver ya know, she’s kind of gotten tired of catching balls for me. So, you want to catch some balls for me?'” Affleck recalled. “To me, I think this was a guy going, ‘Am I trying to make someone’s dreams come true today? Yeah, I’ll change someone’s life. Do you want to catch some footballs for me?'”

What Affleck didn’t realize though going into it was how much work he’d have to put in that day as Brady threw to him like he was Julian Edelman or Rob Gronkowski.

“It’s definitely a workout. He uses it as a workout and he works you out,” Affleck said. “All of a sudden, you’re like, ‘I’m going to work harder than I have in the last 25 years and it’s something I’m going to pretend I’m accustomed to and that I can tolerate it, even though it’s evident that I can’t.’


“What I’m really sure of is, when he sends me 35 yards out, he has to wait the amount of time he normally waits for a guy to run 90 yards before passing the ball. He still, nonetheless, is able to calculate for an extremely slow middle-aged man’s pace about running as fast as he can and turning around and thinking he is in the NFL and probably running the route wrong. Nevertheless, you run where he tells you to go and the second you turn around (the ball is right there). That’s what’s amazing.”

There was one moment in particular that stood out to Affleck from that day of playing catch with Brady that he believes makes him different than other quarterbacks.

“He doesn’t have that part of the brain where he gets nervous,” Affleck said. “He doesn’t get tight. And by getting tight ruins him. That’s why guys drop the ball on the clutch play. We’ve all seen it. There are famous instances. Plays they make 10,000 times. A ground ball, a ball right in your hands, you know these moments where you’re like, ‘Why did I do that? I’ve been doing this since my childhood.’ Seattle throwing the interception (in Super Bowl XLIX), that kind of panicked uncertainty that happens when everything is on the line.


“Even when we were playing catch, we weren’t just playing catch — he would say, ‘Alright, it’s the Super Bowl. We’re on the 16-yard line, it’s fourth down. We have six seconds. We win this, it’s everything. We miss, it’s over.’ Even just listening to him, I thought we were in the Super Bowl and thought, ‘I’ll do anything to catch this ball.’ And because I was so slow, the ball was a little past me and I lept out and dove. I think I was doing my ‘Batman’ at the time and was like ‘Nevermind my career. Nevermind my aging body.’

“People have talked to me about how you get in a huddle with a guy, and the whole stadium is anxious, everybody in the huddle is anxious. That’s why they were such a great fourth-quarter team, such a great come from behind team. He was going like ‘Yeah, we’re going to win. This is how we’re going to do it. You do this. You do this. We’ll figure it out.'”

Affleck admitted that his allegiances as a football fan are “split” between the Patriots and Brady now. In the podcast, he also recalled when he first met Brady at the White House Correspondents Dinner following the Patriots’ Super Bowl XXXVI, saying he told Brady he’s “the king of Boston.”

You can listen to the whole podcast, here.


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