While several released clips already caught headlines from Oprah Winfrey’s interview with Tom Brady, there was still plenty of other noteworthy segments from the hour-long session with the Patriots quarterback, which aired Sunday on the OWN network.
There were questions about Deflategate and what it taught Brady, who was suspended the first four games of the 2016 season as a result of the ball-deflating scandal. Sitting with Brady in her backyard, she also asked if there was “something going on” with the Patriots quarterback and head coach Bill Belichick. The answers weren’t hugely revealing, but noteworthy nonetheless.
Brady’s response on Deflategate?
“I think it taught me a lot of things. It taught me about the people I could really count on, the people that really supported me, and it taught me a lot about life,” said Brady. “Sometimes you do the best you can do, and it doesn’t work out. There are a lot of frustrations. I tried to fight as hard as I could for what I believed in.”
The talk show legend then asked what made him finally let it go, as Brady ultimately dropped his appeal?
“Just too much anxiety. I realized I couldn’t win. It was divided attention and I was tired of that, tired of waking up and having a call with someone from the Player’s Association,” Brady said. “I said, ‘you know what, I’m going to use this as an opportunity, to have the month of September off for the first time in like – 16, 21 years, and ‘I’m going to take advantage of this.’’’
Brady told Winfrey he took his wife and kids out west to see his parents, as his mother was just starting treatment for cancer. He also played golf at Pebble Beach during that four-week stretch, and since he never went on a honeymoon with wife Gisele, took her to Italy.
“Man, that was the best month off I think I’ve ever had,” he said. “In some ways, it was a great experience. I think you look back on those experiences and it was a really tough experience in my life.”
Winfrey asked if he would have handled Deflategate any differently if he had a do-over. He said no.
There were also some interesting answers particularly with respect to Brady and Belichick and his training, along with the five-time Super Bowl winner talking about his kids, and how they’ve been impacted by his fame.
First the Hoodie. Is there something going on with you and Belichick, Oprah wondered?
“Um, no. I mean, I love him. I love that he’s an incredible coach, mentor for me, and he’s pushed me in a lot of ways. And, like everything, we don’t agree on absolutely everything,” said Brady. “That’s relationships.”
The subject of Brady and where he has to do his training was also broached by Winfrey. She didn’t mention Brady’s body coach Alex Guerrero and TB12 Sports Therapy by name, a reported source of friction between Brady and Belichick. But Winfrey asked if it was true that Brady has to train apart from his teammates?
“No, I wouldn’t say that. I do some of my own techniques differently than the rest of the team. The team I would say, like most teams, are very systematic in their approach,” he said. “What I’ve learned, I guess, is different than some of the things that are systematic, but work for me. So, it’s nothing I don’t talk about with my coach and owner. And what I want to do is be the best player I can be and hopefully you can support that.”
Brady made it sound like everyone was on the same page there, even with reports to the contrary.
Perhaps the most poignant part of the episode was when Oprah asked Brady’s reaction to the Internet blowing up negatively to him kissing his son Benjamin on the lips during his docu-series “Tom vs. Time.”
“I great up in an affectionate home,” said Brady. “When I grew up, it was part of it . . . my mom kissed me all the time. My dad kissed me. I got hugged. I got tickled, I got kissed. So naturally, as a father, that’s what I do with my kids. I hug my kids, I kiss my kids. I tickle them. I don’t have a problem showing affection.”
He said he doesn’t “care at all” what people are saying. But the hard part is more what the kids at Ben’s school say and do.
“There was boy that came up to my son Benny the other day and said I’m just friends with you cuz your dad’s Tom Brady,” said the quarterback. “That’s hard. He’s eight years old. So if I’m my son, what am I thinking? It’s hard to rationalize that.”
Brady’s advice to his son?
“Don’t be friends with that boy. Because all your friends are going to love you for who you are. You’re a great kid, you’re a sweet, caring empathetic boy and you’re going to have a lot of friends. Don’t worry about that one.”
Flipping back to football, Winfrey asked Brady to describe his leadership style.
“I try to be very positive. I think once I’ve developed a trust, I can be tough on them,” he said. “I can’t be tough on them before I’ve developed the relationship and the trust.”
Asked if he was a screamer, Brady said: “I can be . . . but it’s only with people I care about . . . think you have to have different forms of motivation. I’ve been around a lot of guys. Some guys don’t like to be yelled at. Some guys like to be tormented in a way. I think you have to find the right mix. I love that aspect of my position. They have to listen to me, I’m the quarterback. I’m the one calling the plays. They’re all looking at you. I think the greatest thing for you, you have to believe in yourself. If you don’t believe in yourself, who’s going to believe in you?”
Other quick hits:
On losing 2007 Super Bowl: “It was a month before I really felt back to myself. It was a nightmare. You woke up the next morning, I said, ‘it didn’t happen. There’s no way that happened.’’’
On losing the Super Bowl this year: “In some ways, this year was easier for me than it has been in the past, and it’s not that I don’t want to win the same. There’s other important things in my life.”