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Sunday, May 20, 2018

Tom Brady filming documentary that Bill Belichick may not know about

Tom Brady

Tom Brady may amaze people when he looks like the same player at age 40 that he did 10 years ago, but the New England Patriots quarterback has changed plenty over the years. The 30-year-old Brady would never have allowed a filmmaker access into his private life during the offseason, let alone when he is trying to add a sixth Super Bowl to his Hall of Fame career.

Mark Leibovich of the New York Times learned this week that Brady has been filming a five-part documentary with filmmaker Gotham Chopra that will begin airing later this month on Facebook Watch, Facebook’s mobile video platform. In the series, entitled “Tom vs. Time,” Brady allows Chopra into his Massachusetts home, on family trips to Costa Rica, on a summer trek to China with his son Jack and even on a trip to Montana that No. 12 took with Patriots wide receivers Danny Amendola and Julian Edelman. Brady also allowed camera crews to join him on his commute to and from Gillette Stadium.

But for those of you who want to believe that some sort of rift has developed between Brady and Bill Belichick, the documentary series may not convince you otherwise. As Leibovich notes, Brady is rarely shown anywhere in the Patriots’ facilities, and he is shown working with offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels several times — not Belichick. Here’s more:

It is unclear if Brady has even told his coach about the project. The Patriots spokesman Stacey James said the team was nominally aware that a Brady documentary was in the works, and tried to be helpful in providing credentials on the few occasions Chopra sought access to home games. Beyond that, the answer of how much Brady’s bosses were informed about “Tom vs. Time” remains shrouded in some Patriot-esque mystery.

This takes on some added resonance in light of an ESPN report last week describing deep tensions between Brady and Belichick, the twin pillars of the N.F.L.’s 21st Century dynasty. No doubt “Tom vs. Time” could provide more grist for the distraction mill that N.F.L. teams avoid so strenuously, nowhere more so than Bunker Bill, this famously locked-down football enclave between Boston and Providence.

In addition, Belichick is almost completely absent in the series. His offensive coordinator, Josh McDaniel, rather, is portrayed as Brady’s ever-present coaching foil, making cameos via speakerphone (or video chat) as Brady pores through game film and brainstorms ideas for new plays for upcoming games.

What could that mean? Probably nothing at all. Belichick hates anything that could be viewed as a distraction, and it seems unlikely that he would want to take part in a documentary during the season. Although, the same could once be said of Brady.

Brady explained to the New York Times why he agreed to take part in the series.

“We thought it would be fun to record what an off-season of training looks like for a 40-year-old athlete,” he told Leibovich via text message.

Chopra initially thought he would just be filming during the offseason, but Brady agreed to let him stick around after the season began.

“Tom is not a sentimental guy, necessarily,” he said. “But I do think, as we talked, he was sort of discovering parts of himself. It’s like therapy. It’s the process of saying it and giving voice to it.”

On Tuesday, Brady addressed some of the claims made in ESPN’s recent article about an alleged power struggle in the Patriots organization. He insisted his relationship with Belichick is as strong as ever. Whether Belichick’s absence from Brady’s new documentary contradicts that is open for interpretation.

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