Getting at the real Tom Brady

I learned more about Tom Brady listening to two hours of a Howard Stern interview than I did reading 20 years of Boston sports pages.

I’ve watched Brady religiously season after season, fascinated by his drive to win and his knack at consistently pulling it off. But in all the interviews on WEEI, with the Boston Globe, and other local news outlets, Brady tended to come across as cautious, someone who was very careful about what he said. He was still that way to some degree with Stern, but he relaxed a bit, had some fun.

It turns out Brady is a big fan of Stern. He said he used to listen to Stern’s radio show driving to Gillette Stadium and loved his movie Private Parts. He reminded Stern they had met each other around 2003 at a polo grounds party in the Hamptons attended by Jay-Z and Rhianna. Brady said Stern dissed him. “You kind of big-timed me,” Brady said. Stern, who is not a sports fan, said he remembered the party but not meeting Brady.

Most people think Stern is a shock-jock moron, but he’s a tremendous interviewer. He does his homework and has an uncanny ability to get people to open up about themselves, discuss what drives them, and analyze their insecurities.

Boston Globe columnist Dan Shaughnessy says the interview was big news. “It was ‘stop the presses!’ and ‘breaking news!’ stuff, dominating local airwaves and sports pages,” Shaughnessy wrote. “Brady also got a full page in USA Today and the back pages of both New York tabloids.”

We learned how Brady wasn’t much of a student, how he considered himself a good athlete growing up but never a great one in high school or in college. He almost didn’t get drafted by the NFL, but he went on to become one of the greatest football players of all time. He credits his parents for a lot of his success in life.

Stern explored Brady’s relationship with New England Patriots coach Bill Bellichick and Brady was convincing in explaining how they got along well. He dismissed all the speculation that the coach and quarterback were in some sense rivals in the debate over who is most responsible for the Patriots success. “I think it’s a pretty shitty argument,” Brady said. “I can’t do his job and he can’t do mine.”

We learned how a mutual friend set Brady up with supermodel Giselle Bundchen, and how an initial date in a Greenwich Village wine bar turned into a lasting relationship that survived the news that Brady’s ex-girlfriend, Bridget Moynahan, was pregnant with his son. Stern said most women would have walked away after hearing that news. “Yeah,” said Brady. “That was a very unique time.”

Brady acknowledged Bundchen laid into him for fixating on football and his other business interests and putting their family second. They saw a marriage counselor and worked it out.

The interview covered a lot of ground. Brady talked about his love of the locker room (some were offended) and sports. He and Stern talked about their friendships with Donald Trump, Brady’s diet, Gronk, and, yes, penises, a favorite Stern topic. Brady was also honest about the concussions he’s suffered and what it was like watching the Super Bowl this year from his couch. “We didn’t deserve to be there,” he said.

Stern kept probing why Brady left the Patriots for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Was it the money? Was it getting rid of Belichick. Stern never got a clear answer. We learned Brady sensed he would be leaving the Patriots even before last season started, that he enjoyed being courted by other teams, and, perhaps most important, was eager for change and a new challenge. “It was just time,” Brady said.

“You’re out of prison now,” Stern said to Brady, referring to the by-the-book Patriots organization. “Is this the new Tom Brady?”

“I think I’m the same Tom Brady,” he replied.



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Nearly two-thirds of the state’s nursing homes were cited at least once in the last three years for deficiencies in infection control practices. (Boston Globe)

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Gov. Charlie Baker says the state has contracted with a vendor to help develop a system to deliver unemployment benefits to self-employed workers who were made eligible for payments by the federal CARES Act. (MassLive) The state is also preparing to launch a Spanish language unemployment site. (WBUR)

Reports of child abuse in the state are plumetting, but child advocates say that is alarming because it probably just reflects the absence of families’ contact with teachers, doctors, and other “mandated reporters” of potential abuse. (Boston Globe)


Salem is requiring that anyone entering a supermarket or apartment complex wear a mask. (MassLive)

Boston is forming a task force to track racial and ethnic disparities related to the coronavirus pandemic as data emerge showing differences in infection rates across city neighborhoods. (Boston Herald)

Lawrence Mayor Daniel Rivera opens additional space for the homeless. (Eagle-Tribune) He had been criticized for moving too slowly by an advocate for shelters. (CommonWealth)

Essex Tech is using 3D printers to make protective shields. (Salem News) 


The Trump administration is pushing for the country to reopen next month, but health experts are warning that may be too soon to contain spread of the coronavirus. (Washington Post) Even Trump’s Republican allies are growing weary of his daily coronavirus briefings, where they say his ramblings are hurting him more than helping. (New York Times)

If they can contract it there, they can spread it anywhere: There are preliminary data and anecdotal evidence that New York City residents have helped spread coronavirus by fleeing the city for second homes on Long Island, the Catskills, the Adirondacks, and Jersey Shore. (New York Times)


The psychological and economic toll of dealing with the coronavirus is starting to add up, according to poll data. (CommonWealth)

Four residents of the Saint Joseph Manor nursing home in Brockton died from coronavirus. (The Enterprise)

New Bedford establishes COVID-19 recovery centers in former nursing homes (Standard-Times) 


Americans who earn less than $99,000 a year can expect to receive stimulus checks from the federal government beginning Monday, Rep. Richard Neal said Thursday on Boston Public Radio. (WGBH)

Vertex Pharmaceuticals has executed a planned chief executive transition and seen its shares rise amidst the pandemic that has clobbered most stocks. (Boston Globe)

Massachusetts regulators are urging automobile insurers to share with customers some of the savings resulting from the sharp decline in driving during the pandemic. (Telegram & Gazette)


School leaders in Massachusetts districts are increasingly skeptical that classes will resume this school year. (Gloucester Daily Times)

Former state education secretary Paul Reville says the pandemic offers an opportunity to rethink many of the fundamentals governing K-12 education. (Boston Globe)

Fall River educators put focus on mental, emotional health during separation (Herald News) 


Dr. Jarone Lee says patients near death at Massachusetts General Hospital will not have to spend their final moments alone. One family member or friend is allowed in. (CommonWealth)

Massachusetts doctors are hopeful they will have better survival rates with ventilators than their counterparts in China and Europe. (CommonWealth)

Gov. Charlie Baker signs an order allowing foreign-trained doctors to practice in Massachusetts during the pandemic. (CommonWealth)

Berkshire Health Systems retracts sick leave policy that had roiled union. (Berkshire Eagle)

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They’re not great health practices at any time, but cigarette smoking and vaping may put those who become infected at risk of more serious complications from coronavirus. (Boston Globe)


The Boston Carmen’s Union identifies the T worker who died from COVID-19. (WBUR)

The Steamship Authority, the quasi-public ferry service to Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket, will get an estimated $5 million in federal aid to address the loss of ticket sales during the pandemic. (Cape Cod Times)


Parole was denied for the man who committed the 1994 Rockland “wilding” baseball bat murder (Patriot Ledger)