Tom Brady is at once one of the most well-known men in America, yet impossible to know. A biography about Brady written by one of the country's best sportswriters, Charles Pierce, barely cracked Brady's veneer and struggled to make him interesting.
Perhaps Pierce just wrote the book too soon. One of the best inside looks we've read on Brady arrived Monday courtesy of The New York Times Magazine. The writer, Mark Leibovich, spent time with Brady dating back to the offseason, and revealed a more mature player who is doing everything possible to defeat the ravages of time. Or ignore time altogether.
"I just know that I'm sitting here at age 37 and I feel perfect at the end of 16 games," Brady said. "My arm doesn't hurt, my legs don't hurt. My teammates, they're hurting."
The article is well worth your time, but it will take a little while to get through. Here were some of our biggest takeaways:
1. It's hard to overstate the influence that Alex Guerrero has on Brady's life. Guerrero plays the role of best friend, mentor, guru, trainer, cook, masseuse, business partner, physical therapist, spiritual guide and godfather to Brady's kid. Everything about preparing Brady to play goes through Guerrero and it's an everyday job.
"Everyone thinks I'm a kook and a charlatan," Guerrero said in reference to how other trainers view him.
2. Guerrero was once asked if Brady is ever allowed to eat a cheeseburger.
"Yes, we have treats. We make them. ... Usually raw desserts, like raw macaroons." Another option is ice cream made from avocado. (None of these options seem remotely like a cheeseburger.)
"Sometimes we'll go over to Tom and Gisele's house for dinner," Brady's father said. "And then I'll say afterward, 'Where are we going for dinner?'"
3. Brady says he gravitates to mentors who don't embrace mainstream philosophies. This dates back to college. Brady met Guerrero through former Patriot Willie McGinest, and tries to implement Guerrero's methods with other Patriots players. This clashes with how the Patriots would prefer to do things.
"It doesn't come without its challenges," Patriots owner Robert Kraft said. "But we have a coach that's accepting, and we have the leader of the franchise who's driving it."
4. Echoing comments to Andrea Kremer on NFL GameDay Morning, Brady's father said he fully expects his son's time in New England to have an ugly conclusion.
"It will end badly," he said. "It does end badly. And I know that because I know what Tommy wants to do. He wants to play till he's 70. ... It's a cold business. And for as much as you want it to be familial, it isn't."
5. Like many husbands, Brady seems confused and in the dark about his own home's decorating. He has no clue about the location of most of his football memorabilia, but there isn't much paraphernalia displayed in his house.
6. There is a large glass menorah displayed in Brady's house.
"We're not Jewish. But I think we're into everything," Brady said. "I don't know what I believe. I think there's a belief system, I'm just not sure what it is."
"We're not going to lose," he said.
8. Brady admits that he knows it will be difficult to live without the "purpose of football" and his entire life seems devoted to avoiding that day. He would regard performing at a high level at 43 or 44 years old as history-making.
9. One area that Brady wouldn't dive into with the writer: deflated footballs. "I've got so many things to focus on in the next 10 days," he said last week. "And this is not one of them."
The story ends with a quote that was made in January before we heard anything about PSI, but it speaks to the mindset the Patriots will surely use this week.
"Like with all the stuff we've been through," he said, "it's not like, 'Here you go, Tom -- silver platter, and here's this trophy.' No, you had to go through all this stuff.
"How amazing if we win this Super Bowl?"
The latest Around The NFL Podcast reacts to the Patriots' deflated footballs controversy and tells you whom to trust in Super Bowl XLIX. Find more Around The NFL content on NFL NOW.