Tom Brady is celebrating his 41st birthday Friday, yet he still refuses to show his age on the football field.
On social media, it’s a different story.
The Patriots quarterback joined Instagram in the beginning of 2017 — previously, his only social media presence was on Facebook, which owns Instagram — and his account has since become a source for him to follow fellow athletes and celebrities, share moments with his family, react to the final score, and plug his brand.
But Brady doesn’t just post photos. He also comments on other people’s photos. A lot.
Whether it’s teasing his future plans or just simply remarking how much “Fun!!!!!!!!!!” his teammates are having, Brady’s comments manage to catch the public’s attention — and, in some cases, raise a few eyebrows.
“Every once in a while, I’ll throw a comment or a like in when I see something that makes me smile or I think of something that could make another person smile,” Brady told the Associated Press in a January interview about his social media habits.
In the eyes of fellow social media users, he’s either a “savage” or a complete “dad.” Brady’s relatives in Minnesota once said that he’s “just a nerd that made it big.” Judging by his last year-and-a-half or so of Instagram activity, all of them are right.
Within a month of launching his Instagram account, Brady had already taken to the commenting game, responding to a meme of himself posted by a popular account and bantering with retired soccer star David Beckham.
— Tim Whelan Jr. (@thattimwhelan) February 23, 2017
He also responded to a Patriots’ post depicting Bill Belichick with “GOAT,” praise that’s normally lavished upon himself. For the most part, it was pretty safe, if playful, stuff.
In May 2017, Brady went out of his way to note his particular hand placement in a photo with his wife, Gisele Bündchen, at the Met Gala, much to the approval of his fellow commenters. “Hand position A+,” he wrote.
Otherwise, he spent most of 2017 making benign, supportive, and sometimes over-exclamatory comments.
“Well done! Amazing!” Brady wrote to Roger Federer after he won Wimbledon. He twice commented on a post by Aaron Rodgers to wish wide receiver Randall Cobb a “Happy Birthday!” and was back in the Green Bay Packers quarterback’s comments a month later to post a supportive emoji.
“Great Picture!!!!!” he said, liking a Patriots post of offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels and wide receiver Chris Hogan after the team secured a bid to the Super Bowl this past January. He also returned to Federer’s comments later that month to congratulate the tennis legend on another major win.
“Unreal!!!!!! Congrats!!!!!” he wrote.
There have been a few times in which Brady’s comments have taken a weightier tone, such as when he gave his input on a post by LeBron James decrying the treatment of a sex trafficking victim convicted of murder. Of the more than 20,000 comments on the post by James, the quarterback’s message was simple: “SMH.”
Tom Brady liked and commented Malcolm Butler’s Instagram post: “Love you Malcolm. You are an incredible player and teammate and friend. Always!!!!!!” pic.twitter.com/Xe4EI9PrTg
— Boston.com Patriots News (@BDCPatriots) February 6, 2018
“Love you Malcolm,” he wrote. “You are an incredible player and teammate and friend. Always!!!!!!”
But it wasn’t long after the Super Bowl loss that Brady returned to his corny ways — from finishing Odell Beckham Jr.’s lyrics on a Feb. 13 post by the wide receiver to his “Fun!!!!!!!!!!” comment on model Olivia Culpo’s Valentine’s Day photo with his former Patriots target Danny Amendola.
Despite his playing status being the subject of much speculation this offseason, Brady recently began using his comments to show he’s getting ready for the 2018 season.
Following an ESPN post last month quoting Brady’s talking about retirement, the quarterback chimed in with “Cuarenta y cinco,” the Spanish translation of 45, the age he has long-stated as his goal for finishing his career.
— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) June 19, 2018
With the exception of one very adult-themed comment on a Barstool Sports meme, Brady’s comments over the last month indicate that he’s focused on the upcoming season.
“2018 is upon us,” he wrote on a June 25 post by the NFL’s official account, thanking fellow players for voting him as the best in the league. Brady has since self-censored himself in an exchange with cornerback Richard Sherman, questioned Tony Romo’s Super Bowl LIII prediction, and hinted at his early arrival to training camp.
“2 days actually! #earlyreporters,” he enthusiastically wrote after the Patriots account posted that there were six days until training camp.
But even in the midst of preparing for the new season, the quarterback’s inner dad seeps out into his Instagram comments. In response to a video posted by the NFL of Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger’s son connecting with wide receiver Antonio Brown’s son on a pass, Brady simply wrote, “Awesome.”
He’s not wrong. He’s a dad, after all.
“I want my pages to represent who I really am,” Brady told the Associated Press earlier this year. “The messages all root back to who I am and how I try to live my life.”