At one time in my life, a derogatory comment aimed at Tom Brady stung like a French kiss with an acidic tongue. And as a Patriots fan, I’d spit the acid back.

Five rings, baby. It’s time for you to be quiet. 

These halcyon days of defending Tom Brady, however, expired half an hour ago when I made the unfortunate decision of watching Tom vs. Time on Facebook—largely due to the fact that it lingered like a wart on my news feed. Brady’s beatitude has now dropped, as Emily Dickinson once penned, “so low—in my Regard.”

Listen, I’m no Boy Scout, and given my somewhat checkered past, there are a lot 15-minute intervals I’d like to take back. But the 15-minutes I spent watching the first installment of Brady’s Facebook documentary cracks my top five, on the heels of some unfortunate decisions I made in Canada and this one night in Vegas.

Brady’s documentary begins with some chest pounding and voice-overs of Tom paraphrasing—as Toucher and Rich rightfully observed—the rally cry Rocky Balboa gave his wife Adrian on the staircase in Rocky IV, a 90-minute Cold War propaganda film that consists of 87 minutes of music video soaked in sweat and steroids, and three minutes of actual plot.

[Non sequitur: when asked in his middle-school history class: What ended The Cold War? My son Owen correctly told his social studies teacher that it was Rocky Balboa knocking out a Commie, an answer I gave him. His teacher, however, was not amused. My wife, who was called by his teacher, was also not amused. I had to tell my son that Rocky didn’t end The Cold War, although we all know he did.]

Tom vs. Time then shows Brady frolicking with his kids in the front yard of their Massachusetts mansion while his wife Giselle drops behind the camera, making sure her hubby (and the TB12 label) are branded just right.

We then get a couple of minutes of Patriots’ porn as director Gotham Chopra works through footage of Super Bowl LI and the improbable comeback from 28-3 against The Atlanta Falcons.

Atlanta, unfortunately, were not appropriate “warriors” and were not willing “to die themselves” because Brady and The Patriots pulled off the greatest comeback since a certain bunch of Idiots came back from an 0-3 deficit in the 2004 ALCS. The Patriots won another ring to fit on Tom’s thumb, which is documented in the next segment where Brady flashes some bling with his kids and Mr. Kraft.

And here’s where things start to get weird.

Introduce “body coach” Alex Guerrero, who was at the center of Seth Wickersham’s scathing expose of The Patriots for ESPN. Brady then turns from warrior into zealot, and starts mixing weird fruit smoothies and reporting to the TB12 facilities outside Gillette Stadium to work with his guru. Here, we watch TB12, the brand, training with effusive rubber bands, some of which Guerrero holds in Brady’s background, like Tom is a dog on a leash, as Brady fires passes and attests, ad nauseam, about “feeling young.”

Guerrero then rubs Tom—a fickle second from a happy ending—as part of this process that keeps Brady young at forty years old and keeps viewers feeling uncomfortable, seeing Tom is a married man. While it’s hard to argue facts—Tom Brady will be playing for his sixth Superbowl ring and is a legitimate contender for the MVP this season—these scenes are like biting into something that has rotted, something that is difficult to digest.

The documentary, which feels like a slow-motion car accident, ends ironically in Brady’s SUV after New England’s 42-27 Week 1 loss to Kansas City, where he’s driving home with his supermodel wife who gives him her best Adrian Balboa speech from the passenger seat.

I’m not saying that I don’t want to see the Pats throttle The Eagles in Super Bowl LII and send Philly’s thuggish fans home to throttle each other; I’m not saying that I don’t want to see Brady and Belichick silence any debates about the best coach and the best quarterback ever. I’m just saying that I wish I could un-see the first installment of Tom vs. Time—and all the other installments that I’ll invariably watch as well.

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Nathan Graziano lives in Manchester, New Hampshire. His books include Teaching Metaphors (Sunnyoutside Press, 2007), After the Honeymoon (Sunnyoutside Press, 2009), Hangover Breakfasts (Bottle of Smoke Press, 2012), Sort Some Sort of Ugly (Marginalia Publishing, 2013), and My Next Bad Decision (Artistically Declined Press, 2014). Almost Christmas, a collection of short prose pieces, was recently published by Redneck Press in 2017. Graziano writes a baseball column for Dirty Water Media. For more information, please visit his website: www.nathangraziano.com.

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