– “My life sucks. Everything hurts,” said Jim Plunkett, one-time Heisman trophy winner and Super Bowl winning quarterback for the Oakland Raiders.
– “I look in the mirror and I say, ‘Who are you?’” Tony Dorsett, NFL Hall of Fame running back.
– Earl Campbell, another NFL HOFer and, arguably the most punishing running back ever, has had both knees replaced, endured five back surgeries, severe arthritis, foot drop caused by nerve damage, spinal stenosis and is in and out of rehab for a recurring addiction to Oxycontin. Yet, Campbell says he’d do it all over again if given a chance.
I submit these horrific examples of what a career in the NFL can, and will, do to players because the ageless Tom Brady finds himself at yet another crossroad.
Tom Terrific isn’t concerned about ending up like Plunkett, Dorsett, Campbell or thousands of other hapless former NFL greats because, according to Mark Leibovich’s seminal 2018 expose on the NFL, “Big Game: The NFL in Dangerous Times,” Brady relies on TB12 to ward off CTE and every other body-destroying injury a career in pro football will most assuredly produce.
If you’re not familiar with TB12, it’s Brady‘s home grown fountain of youth formula that assures sustained peak performance through a combination of pliability work, hydration and no coffee, and a bunch of other New Age remedies. (Note: Check out “Tom vs Time” on YouTube. You’ll not only learn all about TB12, but also hear Brady’s wife, Giselle, voice her concerns about long-term brain damage).
Brady attributes TB12 to his consistently high performance but, this blogger asks the obvious question: When will Father Time finally catch-up with the greatest quarterback in NFL history?
Who knows but, based upon his Saturday night press conference in which he addressed the Pats being upset at home by the visiting Tennessee Titans (an unthinkable occurrence in years past), Brady’s already hinting at playing yet another season.
I guarantee he will return for another season.
1.) There is NO substitute for the ego rush and sensation of being the idol of millions of Pats fans. No matter what Brady does when he finally hangs up the spikes, he’ll never again be able to revel in the Messiah-like adulation he now enjoys (which, btw, is what led to the sad demise of Muhammad Ali. Fan worship was Ali’s heroin and, not content to be the ONLY three-time heavyweight champion, he repeatedly subjected himself to terrible abuse in his final years in the ring).
2.) Brady is a winner. No other NFL QB comes remotely close to matching his stats. And winners like to go out on top. He’ll be back for the 2020 season in an attempt to win one final Super Bowl.
After word: Brady’s desire to hang on when he should hang it up is in no way limited to the NFL or the sports world in general.
I’ve witnessed aging executives in the wild and wacky world of PR either fall asleep in critical meetings or, having lost track of the conversation, ask a question that was answered 10 minutes earlier.
Whether QB’ing an NFL team or a PR firm, ya gotta know when to say when.