With “Tom vs Time,” the Facebook Watch series its director does not want you to call reality TV, Tom Brady has become a social media star. And no one’s more surprised than Julian Edelman.
The Patriots receiver, who’s one of Brady’s favorite targets on the field and one of his best friends off it, can recall a time when No. 12 didn’t care about Facebook.
“I was very surprised when he was doing this thing,” Edelman admitted Friday. “I can remember vividly in 2009, when I was a rookie. I’m a millennial and I was over there on Facebook, and every time [Brady] would walk by, he’d be, like, ‘Get off your phone! Get in your playbook!’ ”
“Now he’s Mr. Social Media?” Edelman said with a smirk. “I’m just saying, where did it come from?”
According to “Tom vs Time” director Gotham Chopra, it came from Brady himself. Joining Edelman, former Pats linebacker Willie McGinest, and Facebook executive Dan Reed at an event in Minneapolis to promote the, um, docu-series, Chopra said he’d pitched the Pats QB on the idea a few times — unsuccessfully — before Brady finally called to say he’d do it.
“That’s kind of how it started,” Chopra said. “Twenty-four hours later, I was in his backyard.”
Chopra, who grew up a Patriots fan in Boston — his father is author/holistic healer Deepak Chopra — said he’s “insulted” when people call “Tom vs Time” reality TV. Chopra prefers to think of it as a series of short films. (Attendees at Friday’s event got to see the series’s fifth episode, which will be posted Sunday as Brady is trying to win his sixth Super Bowl.)
Though “Tom vs Time” can feel too worshipful of its star, Edelman said it accurately reflects Brady’s all-consuming passion for football. But that doesn’t mean Edelman buys everything Brady’s selling. (And there’s enough TB12 product placement in “Tom vs Time” to think he is selling something.)
Referring to an argument he and Brady had about weight-lifting in an earlier episode, the receiver said he’s not going to stop bench-pressing to be more pliable.
“It’s like a marriage almost,” Edelman said of his bickering with Brady. “It’s, like, ‘All right bro, we get it.’ There’s not one way to make a wall or a fence.”
In the episode that’ll be posted Sunday, Brady’s shown getting treatment from Alex Guerrero, the trainer whose unconventional methods has attracted a lot of public scrutiny. Brady acknowledges that he’s rankled by some things that are written and said about him (and perhaps Guerrero), but he’s made a decision not to respond.
“Being a public figure and having people say things about you, it bothered me a lot more a long time ago,” he says in the episode. “Now, after 17 years of it, I have healthy boundaries.
“I feel like I just have a belief in who I am. I kind of chart my own course and then I live the life I want to live — being physically fit, emotionally stable, and spiritually sound,” Brady says. “I know what my motivations are, and it’s not to satisfy other people. It’s to satisfy myself. And if I satisfy myself, I’m good. I really am.”
As much as he might want to respond to the haters, he won’t.
“I don’t want to go into that mud every day because I know once I engage I’ll have to re-engage, and I don’t like fighting,” Brady says. “That creates inner conflict in me. I do need to protect myself. If I’m putting my energy out in 20 different places and areas, then I don’t get to be who I want to be.”
The crowd at Friday’s event included a few of Brady’s close friends and several members of the media, including New York Times reporter Mark Leibovich, who’s been working on a book about the Pats QB. Leibovich, who grew up in Newton, said the book spanning the last four years of Brady’s remarkable career will be published in time for the start of the 2018 NFL season.