In the world we live in today, everything is getting remade or rebooted wherever you look. Some argue that certain works were simply perfect and should be left alone. As scribe Billy Walsh once said, "you'd let them redo the Mona Lisa, huh, E?" I, on the other hand, believe nothing is safe. And I've long said the world was due for an update on the King James Bible. I'm glad we're finally getting it with Tom Brady's new book: The TB12 Method: How to Achieve a Lifetime of Sustained Peak Performance. The book is available on 9/19, but thanks to the 54th man on the Patriots' roster, Mike Reiss, we have a few sneaks peeks to discuss.
He felt like he threw the ball better in 2016 than any year of his career.
"I'd never thrown the ball as well as I did that day -- not when the Patriots won the Super Bowl in 2001, or in 2004, 2005 or 2014 -- not ever, in fact, in my life. It was one of those days. I was 'in the zone.' ... I remember being really excited about the opportunity to play and to show all the things I'd been working on in the offseason."
JO take: Nothing makes me happier than Tom improving every year. Both in the looks department, and on the football field. I just hope he isn't implying it was his peak. Everyone's got a piece de resistance. It's a hard pill to swallow actually, because even though you just rose to heights you never thought possible, you come down knowing you will never have that view from the mountain top again. I don't think Tom is saying he can't be better in 2017, but I wouldn't exactly describe him in week 1 as "in the zone." A crisp showing against the porous Saints secondary in a few days will have me feeling much better about this. His motto: "Always treat practice like a game."
"I thought 'If I don't treat practice like a game, there's no way the coaches will let me play in an actual game.' ... It's a rule I still live by today."
JO take: Love it. He's like the reverse Allen Iverson.
I honestly believe that games can be won Monday-Saturday. Look at the Malcolm Butler interception against the Hawks as evidence. If we don't practice that play we don't win. And Tom sets an example on the practice field by not taking a single rep lightly. If you don't want to give one hundred percent on your 50th hand off of the day, there's plenty of job openings at Walmart.
Friday at 6 a.m. was his "secret" time.
"With every level you reach, everyone gets faster, stronger and better, and I had to work really hard just to be competitive. That's why every Friday at 6 a.m., when no one else was around, I worked with Mike Woicik doing speed and footwork drills, trying to close the gap between me and my teammates."
JO take: First of all, Tom and I have very different definitions of "secret time." His is at 6am in the gym getting in a workout he doesn't want other people to know about. On a Friday no less. I have two. The Sunday morning matinee, where I sit in the theater alone watching some rom/com that has no business costing me $16. And the other is usually the 3 to 4 minutes right before I go to sleep every night that I use as a form of relaxation. But I also don't want anyone to know about those either. Second of all, this reminds me of that story Rodney Harrison tells about Tom. How when Rodney signed with the team he would show up at the gym in the morning but Tom would always be there. It started at 6:30am, then it was 6:15, then 5:45, then 5:30. Every time Tom would be in there, and every time he would great Rodney the same way. "Good afternoon!" Rodney eventually gave up, knowing he could never get ahead of the master. Right elbow pain had him barely able to throw.
"After a couple of years of two-a-days, plus the pounding my body was taking every day on the field, I got to a point where the tendinitis in my right elbow was so bad I could barely throw a football ... three or four years into my Patriots career, I'd gotten more conditioned than ever to the fact that no matter what I did, my arm and shoulder were going to be hurting. By 2004, at age 27, I was pretty much constantly aware of the wear and tear on my body."
I refuse to talk about this.
He isn't perfect on his diet.
"At the same time, contrary to what the media thinks, I won't always turn down a cheeseburger or an ice cream cone. I just won't have one every night, and I won't have 10 of them, either. Last year, my wife and I went to Italy ... [and] I definitely ate some things that were not TB12-compliant!"
JO take: What a relief. Makes me feel a lot better about the 9 Oreos I had last night. Because I just won't have them every night, and I won't have 10 of them. Me and Tom, so aligned. My real question is does he make this exception for tomatoes?? Because that has always been the craziest part of Tom's diet for me. The man doesn't eat tomatoes. Apparently they cause inflammation. But is he willing to look the other way every now and then? I'm not sure I can live in world where he eats turkey avocado sandwiches with no tomato.
He trains four hours a day.
"Sustained peak performance isn't about changing one or two habits in your life. It is your life. It requires commitment. It requires discipline. It requires openness. My career as an NFL quarterback and my life aren't two separate things. Every hour of every day in my life revolves around my job ... As a pro quarterback, I train about four hours per day -- and I'm committed to making every hour of every day count."
JO take: The thing that sucks the most about listening to Tom talk is realizing how much of a lesser being I am than him. I read that Aaron Rodgers piece in ESPN Magazine the other week, and it couldn't be more clear how different they are. Don't get me wrong, Aaron is a tremendous talent in the NFL, but he doesn't care like Tom does. He wants to have a career and a life, separately. Not Tom. And that's the difference. That's what lets your performance transcend the limits and produce tricks no one thought possible. That's why no one can detect his method. Total devotion to his art. Lot of self sacrifice. Mid-40s remains the target.
"I want to play until my mid-40s, and I realize that requires a focused, disciplined approach. Coach Belichick says, 'You pay the price in advance.' and a teammate of mine liked to say that 'The only place where success comes before work is in the dictionary.' The reason I got a chance to play pro football in the first place back in 2001 was that one of my teammates got hurt. I never want to see someone else do my job -- which is one reason why I need to stay healthy."
JO take: Didn't need the book to tell me this one. I don't ever want to see someone else doing my job, that's why I take my vitamins and practice typing at night. I put in the work to be the best blogger on this site, and that's not about to change. Oh, and Tom playing til his 45...