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Tom Brady interview with Howard Stern: 10 takeaways from legendary QB’s two-hour discussion

Tom Brady essentially left no stone unturned over the course of his two-hour long interview with Howard Stern on SiriusXM on Wednesday. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback opened up about leaving the New England Patriots after 20 years with the franchise, his marriage with Gisele Bündchen, his relationship with Bill Belichick and a wide array of other topics. 

Historically, Brady has been a pretty boring interview as he’s mastered the ability to say a lot of words without actually saying anything worthwhile. That said, the 42-year-old did seem to let loose over the course of this conversation with Stern in a way that most haven’t seen him before, which did seem to humanize this legendary quarterback. Below, you’ll get all the main takeaways from the interview as Brady opened up on topics that he’d normally deflect on. 

Leaving Patriots was an emotional experience

Brady’s decision to leave New England was naturally a main topic of discussion during this interview. While he had a feeling that the 2019 season was going to be his final year with the Patriots as far back as last summer, he didn’t come to a “final, final decision” that he’d be leaving in free agency until he was actually heading over to Robert Kraft’s house to give him the news. 

“I called Mr. Kraft and I went over to his house,” Brady told Stern. “I went over and I just said, ‘Look, I just want to say how much I love you and I appreciate what we’ve done together and I know that we’re not going to continue together, but thank you. Thank you for providing what you have for my family and for my career.’ “

Brady said that he also called Bill Belichick on the phone alongside Kraft to inform him of his decision, as well. 

“Yeah, I was crying,” Brady later admitted. “I’m a very emotional person. I have a deep caring for the people I work with and I wish nothing but the best for them.”

Scoffs at Brady vs. Belichick debate

Going into this interview, there were pockets of people wondering if Tom Brady would really get into his relationship with his now former head coach in Bill Belichick. For years it has been reported that the two most recognizable faces with the Patriots dynasty don’t have the strongest relationship. While speaking with Stern, Brady did dispel that notion and admitted they are closer than people realize. The quarterback doesn’t hold a grudge against Belichick for preventing him from being a Patriot for life and is also understanding in the fact that he needed to add young quarterbacks to potentially replace him over the last few years. 

“I think he has a lot of loyalty. He and I have had a lot of conversations that nobody has ever been privy to, nor should they be, that so many wrong assumptions were made about our relationship or about how he felt about me. I know genuinely how he feels about me,” Brady said. “Now I’m not going to respond to every rumor or assumption that’s made, other than what his responsibility as coach is to get the best player for the team — not only in the short term but in the long term as well.

“What I could control is trying to be the best I could be in both of those situations also. I got into uncharted territory as an athlete because I started to break the mold of what so many other athletes had experienced, so I got to the point where I was an older athlete and he’s starting to plan for the future, which is what his responsibility is. I don’t fault him for that. That’s what he should be doing. That’s what every coach should be doing. Not that I would ever coach, but if I was ever in a position of authority, I would understand that too.”

Now that the two are separate, there is the theory that we’ll finally find out who had more to do with New England’s success over the last 20 years. Brady, however, doesn’t think that’s a worthwhile debate. 

“I think it’s a pretty (expletive) argument actually that people would say that, because again, I can’t do his job, and he can’t do mine,” Brady said. “The fact you could say, ‘Would I be successful without him, the same level of success?’ I don’t believe I would have been. But I feel the same vice versa, as well. To have him allowed me to be the best I can be, so I’m grateful for that. I very much believe that he feels the same way about me, because we’ve expressed that to each other.”

What the free agent process was like, and why he joined the Bucs

Before entering free agency, Brady said that he “wrote down about 20 different things that were important” and used that as a basis for how he’d come to a decision on where he’d play going forward. Brady illustrated that there were a number of teams interested in bringing him aboard, but didn’t want to get into which teams were actually in on him specifically . 

Of course, the Buccaneers ended up winning the sweepstakes and Brady said that the presence of receivers like Mike Evans and Chris Godwin were factors. He also said that Bucs head coach Bruce Arians was a key factor. 

“I like him a lot,” Brady said. “I think part of the reason I chose here is a lot of reasons. I learned so much about having the opportunity to evaluate where the priorities were for me. Coaching obviously was important, hugely important.” 

Candid about receivers he didn’t trust

For those who have followed Tom Brady closely throughout his days with the Patriots, it’s known that the quarterback isn’t afraid to freeze out a receiver who he doesn’t think is getting the job done offensively. The quarterback confirmed that during his conversation with Stern and even said that he had no problem telling Bill Belichick if he didn’t trust one of his pass catchers. 

“I would say (to Belichick) I don’t have any trust that this guy can help us win the game,” Brady said. “I definitely expressed my opinion to say ‘If you put him out there, I’m not going to throw him the ball.’ The whole team is trusting me to do what’s right by the team, so you can’t put someone out there that I don’t believe in. Because if I don’t believe in him, it’s worthless for the team. 

“I think fortunately for me, Coach Belichick always saw it the same way as me, which is why I think we had such a great connection. He saw football very much the same way that I saw it. All the coaches that I worked with on a daily basis, they want the same thing.”

Injuries he’s suffered throughout his career

Tom Brady’s torn ACL that erased his entire 2008 season is well documented, but the quarterback has stayed mostly healthy throughout his two-decade long career. He did admit, however, that he “definitely had concussion” during his career, which confirmed comments made by his wife Gisele Bündchen a few years ago to CBS News. Brady did say that he would let his kids play football if they wanted to. 

On a lighter — and a little more graphic — note, Brady also said that suffered a hernia that made one of his testicles swell up to the size of an orange. That earned him the nickname “purple balls” from his former teammate and backup quarterback Matt Cassel, who teased Brady by drawing a picture of his swelled up testicle and put it in his locker every day.  

Not the model student growing up

While Brady may have a squeaky-clean image nowadays, he told Stern that “school was a lot harder for me” than sports and he was really disinterested in it. He was, however, smart enough to get by “giving very average effort.” 

“If my kids gave the effort I did, I’d be pretty pissed at my kids,” he said. 

As for partying, Brady said that he did drink and smoke marijuana in high school from time to time, but it became less frequent as he he got further into his high school career. Part of the reason for that is because he’d feel guilty waking up with a hangover and would feel like he let down his father. 

One issue he has with Jeter’s house

The word “lavish” would be one way to describe Tom Brady’s living arraignment down in Tampa Bay. He is renting Yankees Hall of Fame shortstop Derek Jeter’s 30,000 square foot mansion in Davis Islands and the property offers waterfront views, a pool, billiards room and much more. 

The one problem with the house, Brady says, is that it does lack a certain amount of privacy that his Massachusetts home in Chestnut Hill had. 

“I forgot people could drive up to your house,” Brady told Stern. “Here they can pull right up to the back of the house. Derek did a pretty good job of screening it. I am a little bit of an introvert. I feel like my house is my place I can relax. When you are outside the house, you understand everything with being me … in the backyard there’s a lot of boats that have pulled up and people at the front.” 

Marriage troubles with Gisele Bündchen

A couple years back, Tom Brady decided to not attend the voluntary portions of New England offseason training program. At the time, Brady’s decision was taken as a sign that his relationship with Bill Belichick was souring. During this interview with Stern, Brady revealed that one of the reasons he made that call was actually because his wife, Gisele Bündchen, was unhappy in their marriage, as he wasn’t pulling his full weight in the offseason. 

“At different times, like any married couple, things need to be changed,” Brady said. “A couple of years ago … she didn’t feel like I was doing my part for the family. She felt like I would play football all season and she would take care of the house and then all of a sudden when the season ended I would be like, ‘Great, let’s get into all my other business activities. Let me get into my football training.’ And she is sitting there going, ‘Well, when are you going to do things for the house? When are you going to take the kids to school and do that?’ That was a big part of our marriage that I had to like check myself because she’s like, ‘I have goals and dreams too, so you better start taking care of things at the house.’

“So, two years ago, as it even related to football for me, I had to make a big transition in my life to say, I can’t do all the things I wanted to do for football like I used to. I gotta take care of things with my family because the family situation wasn’t great. She wasn’t satisfied with our marriage, so I needed to make change there.”

Brady noted that Gisele even wrote him a letter displaying her feelings about the situation and he still has it to this day. 

Won’t say he is better than Joe Montana

While the Brady vs. Montana debate has essentially been put to rest for the past couple of years after Brady has accumulated an NFL-record six Super Bowl rings, the Bucs quarterback wouldn’t say that he has surpassed his boyhood idol as the greatest quarterback of all-time. 

“I can’t say that,” Brady said. “I would never say that. That’s not how I think about myself. The only thing I care about is, am I the best I can be?” 

Not going to let anyone dictate when he ends his career

One thing that was fully apparent during this interview was that Brady still has a deep love for playing football, which is a large reason why, even at age 42, he doesn’t want to retire. 

“For me, it’s doing what I love to do,” Brady said. “You don’t tell a musician to stop singing at age 42. You don’t tell a great painter, stop painting at 42. If you want to stop, stop, go ahead. But for me, because I feel like I can still play doesn’t mean I should just stop playing because that’s what everyone tells me I should do.”

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