Episode 5 of ‘Tom vs. Time’ explores talk of retirement and football’s spiritual elements
MINNEAPOLIS — When is Tom Brady going to retire from football?
It’s a question seemingly every Patriots fan wants to know the answer to, but none are likely more invested in the response than Brady’s wife, Gisele Bündchen. Gisele — who married Brady in Feb. 2009 — has not been shy about her desire to see her husband call it quits.
Brady, on the other hand, has been open about his intentions to play football through his mid-40’s. Following the team’s Super Bowl LI title, Patriots owner Robert Kraft said the quarterback told him he’s “willing to play another six or seven years.” But that extended career expectancy apparently wasn’t always the plan.
“He did tell me he was only going to play for 10 years, I just want to say that,” Gisele said during the fifth episode of Brady’s docu-series, “Tom vs. Time.” “When I met him in 2006, he said, ‘Listen, I’m just going to play for 10 more years and I’m going to win one Super Bowl and I’m going to be happy.'”
When New England pulled off its thrilling comeback over the Falcons in Super Bowl LI, Gisele said she felt the memorable victory was the perfect opportunity for him to close the football chapter of their lives.
“I thought this is great, you know, like, what a great win,” she said. “I was ready, and then he’s like no.”
Not only is he still playing football, but Brady is also competing at an elite level. The Patriots are in position to win back-to-back championships for the second time in his career — nearly 15 years after he and coach Bill Belichick did so in ’03 and ’04. The 40-year-old passer is approaching the end of his 18th season in the league, but it doesn’t seem like things are slowing down.
“I don’t feel like I’m on the last half,” he said. “I still feel like I’m on the first half. I still feel like I’m charging ahead. It takes up a lot of my time, but there will come a time when that ends.”
When the series’ director, Gotham Chopra, turned to Gisele and asked, “When do you think that will end?” Brady smiled and playfully flicked off the camera.
Despite her unfulfilled wish that Brady would hang up his cleats, Gisele has continued to provide unwavering support for her husband. While Brady’s current goal appears to be “two more” Super Bowl titles, the mother of three said, “He can have as many Super Bowls as he likes.”
“I don’t think I’ve ever met anybody in my entire life that loves to do something as much as he loves football,” she told Chopra.
Although so much of the couple’s family life is structured around Brady’s commitment to the sport, the father of three said he hopes to be able to support his wife and “what her dreams are” when he’s done playing.
“A lot of time will be freed up that’s so committed to this career that only lasts a short while longer,” he said. “It’s not like 10 years.”
Much of Brady’s interest in extending his career is rooted in something beyond competition. For him, football is a spiritual outlet.
“I’m trying to find that deeper purpose,” Brady said during the episode’s introduction. “To live it through sports in a very authentic way makes so much sense to me. Having these dreams or goals or aspirations and waking up and putting in the work and miracles happening and all this magic that sports creates, I’m in the middle of it. I get to live that through sports.”
Including his high school and college seasons, Brady has dedicated 27 years to his sport — a relationship he calls his “first love.”
“It’s effortless because it’s just so synonymous with my being,” he explained. “When I’m out on the field in front of 70,000 people, I can really be who I am, with my raw emotion and my energy. If I want to scream at somebody, I can scream at somebody. That’s probably why I love football so much because it allows for me to be who I am in a very authentic way that it’s hard for me to be when I walk off the field.”
Gisele echoed this sentiment.
“I feel like for him being on the field, and being in the moment is a meditation,” she explained. “You know that connection with being fully present and being in the moment and really in the here and now. That’s what I know is what he loves the most about the game.”
As for when the retirement Gisele has longed for might come around?
“It’s not going to be for a while now,” he said. “When the day comes and I feel like I can’t do it anymore — whether physically, which I doubt — more mentally that I won’t be able to do what I need to to deal with other parts of my life, then we’ll say it’s enough.”