audience is rapt because the people know there s a miracle

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audience is rapt because the people know there s a miracle

Postby elvafeng » 01 Nov 2017, 03:26

happened all at once, the way it happens to boxers. He had been baited into throwing a pass to the wrong man, and suddenly he stood exposed, with not only the play but nature itself turning against him. His teammates seemed to have disappeared; he was the last man in position to stop the wrong man from running all the way down the field and turning the game into a rout. He tried his best, as he always does, but he was alone against a younger, faster opponent, and when he dove, he missed by a foot rather than by an inch and appeared simply to fall down, in pieces. Even those who root against him might then have pitied him, because it was one of those moments when the essence of sport is revealed to be cruelly and coldly biological Tom Brady, in the course of throwing a pick six to Robert Alford of the Falcons in the second quarter of Super Bowl LI, had grown old.

Later, in the fourth quarter, Brady threw another pass over the middle to Alford. It was worse than the pick six. Brady wasn t tricked; he was forcing the ball into traffic with the game on the line. This time, though, Alford didn t catch it. This time the ball caromed off his fingertips, still in play. It went up, came down, and Brady s intended receiver, Julian Edelman, leaped for it. He grabbed at it, but then so did gravity, and the ball fell toward the ground. But it didn t land on the ground. It landed on a trivet of Alford s splayed legs and Ricardo Allen s outstretched arms, and Edelman got his hands under it, in one of those moments when the essence of sport is revealed to be cosmic. By the measure of a vibrating inch, Tom Brady had overturned the verdict of time.

THE OLDEST STORY in sports is not an athlete dying young. The oldest story in sports is an athlete getting old and playing past his prime, somehow hoping to avoid the inevitable. In September, Tom Brady released a book titled The TB12 Method How to Achieve a Lifetime of Peak Performance, in which he attempts to rewrite the oldest story in sports. It is a brief against the inevitable, irresistible not because it supplies its readers with their own blueprint for beating the clock or because it provides access to the teachings of Brady s fitness adviser and business partner Alex Guerrero, but rather because Brady is living his method, and we don t know how his story ends.

Of course, we know how he wants it to end. In an interview with ESPN the day after the Patriots played the Falcons in a mid October Super Bowl rematch, he says, I want to play for a long time, as if he were at the start of his career rather than near the end. Indeed, the 18 year veteran said this year that he wants to play until he s 45. He wants to win a couple of more Super Bowls so his already unprecedented career is impossible to replicate. But his on the field ambitions might be a mere prelude to what he wants to achieve off the field, because The TB12 Method captures a man attempting to transform himself from a transcendent figure in sports to a transcendent figure in the culture.
Brady declares that he is on a mission and wants to inspire a movement. That his movement is about something he calls pliability muscles trained to become long, soft and primed instead of short, dense and stiff is less telling than the moral case he makes for it. Pliability is not just for elite athletes, he writes. It s for anyone who wants to live a vital life for as long as possible. The Method is not of the locker room. Instead, it reflects the values of a global elite for which human longevity is human destiny, and of which Brady and his wife, Gisele Bundchen, are members in good standing.

There is just one catch to all this To transcend football, Brady has to keep playing it. He has made himself a test case the test case for the ideas that form the foundation of TB12, his brand. If you want proof that pliability and the TB12 Method works, I m it, he writes. He doesn t just want to play until he s 45; he has to play until he s 45, or else he s not Tom Brady, architect of the impossible. Up against aging, injury and, possibly, the inscrutable long range plans of his future Hall of Fame coach, Bill Belichick, Brady is playing a dangerous game within a dangerous game, and before he transcends football, he has to manage a feat almost as rare and unlikely He has to survive it, with his body, his brain and his dignity intact.
ON THE WEEK 7 night when the Patriots and Falcons meet, New England enters the game at 4 2, in a 2017 season distinguished by its rate of attrition across the NFL, with elite player after elite player finding talent no protection from injury. Brady himself has acknowledged how often he s been hit as the season has worn on; he is said to be playing with an aching left shoulder, and when, early in the game, he moves out of the pocket and throws deep to a receiver , the pass finds its fluttering way, once again, into the hands of Robert Alford.

But then Brady gets a reprieve. As he let go of the ill fated ball, he was hit hard and high, and, in the context of the 2017 season, yet again, by the Falcons Adrian Clayborn. Clayborn is called for roughing the passer. Two plays later, Brady proves what every coach in the NFL already knows that he is a man who makes the most of second chances and tosses a touchdown pass to Brandin Cooks. The rout is on, with a pass thrown to Alford once again emblematic of the smiling face of fortune in Brady s career, except for this He won a reprieve from an errant throw.

He did not win a reprieve from another hard shot to his head.

TAKE A LOOK at him, at the Boston convention center, back in June. He is sharing a stage with two friends, Edelman and Tony Robbins, at one of Robbins motivational extravaganzas. It is four months after Brady s fifth Super Bowl win, a day after the conclusion of the Patriots minicamp, and he looks as relaxed as it is possible for him to look, his crisp denim shirt open over his clean white tee. When Robbins, smiling toothily in his headset, leads the crowd in rhythmic clapping, Brady gamely claps along. He is wearing his own headset, smiling his own toothy smile, and he appears for all the world to be an aging athlete doing what aging athletes have always done trying to find a way off the field by turning himself into a salesman.

Now take another look, keeping something very important in mind. He is Tom Freaking Brady, and so he is no more a standard issue jock turned pitchman than he is a standard issue NFL quarterback. Sure, he has something to sell, The TB12 Method and all its associated paraphernalia, from a 250 resistance band kit to a 200 cookbook. But he is not just hawking his wares; he is trying to start a movement. And so Robbins and Edelman are on hand not simply as friends, or even as comrades in arms. Robbins is a mentor, a glimpse of what Brady wants to become. Edelman is a disciple, an initiate into the mysteries of the TB12 Method. And the three men, seated onstage and rhythmically clapping, represent a tableau of belief, even when Robbins asks Brady about the minicamp.

I walked off the field at practice and thought, I am the worst quarterback in the NFL, Brady says. How could I have possibly made those throws? How could I be so dumb to do that? He smiles impeccably. If it s not perfect for me, I lose sleep.

It is hard to believe him when he talks like this. But he makes it hard to disbelieve him, because there is no way to explain his career without resorting to the inexplicable, and because he so clearly believes the unbelievable to the bottom of his soul. No matter what he happens to say, he means every word. He tells Robbins audience the story of how he came to the Patriots as the 199th player in the 2000 NFL draft, with no one but him believing he had a chance to replace Drew Bledsoe as the starting quarterback. It is not just a story he has told many times before; it is the only story he has ever told, yet the audience is rapt because the people know there s a miracle at the end.

So take one more look at him as he tells of how his belief in himself was tested by struggle and then hardened into an implacable will, and of how that will now finds its perfect expression in the creation of the TB12 Method. It is one month after Bundchen told the world her husband has a history of undiagnosed concussions, including one he suffered last season. When Robbins asks Brady why he created TB12, he answers that he has been motivated by watching his idols fall. Joe Montana had to retire because his body didn t hold up, he says. Steve Young had to retire because he kept getting head injuries. Brady seems to imply that he can somehow avoid their fates by rigorous practice of the TB12 Method. And now in his book, he states outright that the responsibility for injury rests in part with the injured. When athletes get injured, they shouldn t blame their sport or their age, he writes. Injuries happen when our bodies are unable to absorb or disperse the amount of force placed on them.

He is challenging himself to accomplish feats unprecedented and miracles untold, and he is defending the game of football with the determination of a man defending his own legacy. His message is unmistakable Football helps those who help themselves.
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