Tom Brady’s storied career retold in ESPN’s companion podcast ‘Man In The Arena’

Sports December 10, 2021
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Listen to ‘Man In The Arena’

A companion podcast to the ESPN+ docuseries of the same name, “Man in the Arena” is giving you 30 extra minutes a week of football’s biggest star. Host Gotham Chopra, a Brady fan turned friend of Tom, looks at Brady through the eyes of the fans, the haters, and the apathetic. Because, no matter what, everyone knows the name Tom Brady.

Technically, you don’t have to listen to this podcast in order if you don’t have to. But, if you want to chronologically follow Brady’s career from 2001 until now, then it’s best to follow along. Although, we started with the episode where the New York Giants shattered his dreams of a perfect season (for personal reasons, go Giants.)

A star is born

Along with knowing the name Tom Brady comes with the knowledge that he was not a first round draft pick. Or a second round draft pick. Or a third, or fourth, or even fifth. Nope, he was famously the 199th pick, in the sixth round, of the 2000 NFL Draft. How did he end up as the undisputed Greatest Of All Time? This sixth round draft pick started the 2000 season with the New England Patriots as the fourth-string quarterback. He moved up to the second-string behind starter Drew Bledsoe by the 2001 season.

Then, on September 23rd, 2001, the Patriots home opener, Bledsoe got hit hard. Brady stepped in, Bledsoe briefly returned in the fourth quarter, but the New York Jets hung on for the win. Bledsoe, with internal bleeding, was unable to start the next game. Brady started that third game of the season, and Bledsoe’s name was left to fade as Brady became the youngest quarterback to lead a team to a Super Bowl win.

The what ifs?

But “Man in the Arena” is so much more than just the facts. This first episode, titled “Game of Chance” asks, was this really chance? What if Bledsoe didn’t get injured? Did Brady’s future really hang on one game, one play? Is this whole story more myth than it is fact? Throughout this podcast, Chopra asks reporters, sports analysts, writers, psychologists, and football legends just what they think about the greatest football player of all time.

“Man in the Arena” looks at the people who hate Tom Brady (guilty as charged), going beyond brushing it off as “haters gonna hate.” He speaks to the most notorious Brady haters of all time, as well as professors who may have a scientific reason for hate, about it. Is having haters actually a positive? Can their minds ever be changed?

This podcast looks at what the Patriots became to Boston, at what Brady meant to the city. He looks at the idea of perfection, comparing that fateful 2006-2007 season to the 1972 Miami Dolphins. Chopra goes above and beyond, somehow finding more to say about Brady than what’s already been said in the past two decades. Even if you’re not keeping up with the ESPN+ docuseries, this podcast is worth a good listen.

Listen to ‘Man In The Arena’
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