One thing is for certain. Tom Brady never ever has a problem getting dinner reservations.
Once after a Super Bowl victory, he entered with a big party. The staff was expecting Him.
“You should have seen the look of disappointment on 17 waitresses’ faces all at once when they found out that I was the Tom Brady they were talking about,” says Tom Brady, 50, the Brookline town arborist.
Tom Brady, 49, the carpenter, agreed.
“Any time I have trouble getting a reservation, I just say, ‘Tom Brady,’ but then when you show up, they’re disappointed,” he says.
Tom Brady, 46, the Norfolk County deputy sheriff, has had the same experience.
“The reservations come easy, and then you have a lot of long faces when you show up,” he says.
This probably happens more than people realize. There are 47 Tom Bradys listed in the Massachusetts voter records.
“It’s the best name on the planet to have, with the exception of Jesus Christ,” says Tom Brady, 60, a senior vice president at Rockland Trust. His father, son, and a cousin are all named Tom Brady. For years, he autographed a slightly nerdy photo of himself in jersey and helmet tossing a football.
There is no shortage of jokes.
“No exaggeration,” he says. “I get comments at least a dozen times a day. Everyone thinks they have an original comment, but I’ve heard them all at least 15 times.”
He also has had builders show up at his Mansfield home loaded with cameras.
“They thought they were putting a shed on Tom’s property,” he says.
But he has enjoyed his 15 minutes of fame. He has gone on morning radio when the station teased the audience by advertising “Tom Brady in the studio.”
“People were livid,” he says. “They were waiting in their cars in the parking lot to hear Tom Brady. You had this [expletive] on the radio.”
Now he takes precautions.
“I have an alias I use when I’m outside New England,” he says. “It always causes conversations and a few ribbings, but I’ve never had a drink spilled on me.”
Some reactions are priceless. Once he was in Brockton, calling on the president of a company. The receptionist, an older woman, was tapping at her computer, glanced up for a moment, and then returned to her work.
“I said to her, ‘Good morning, I’m Tom Brady,’ ” says Brady, “and she looked at me and said, ‘Oh no you’re not.’ ”
‘It never gets old’
The Tom Bradys interviewed by The Boston Globe are all older than the 40-year-old quarterback. So it’s a fact: They were Tom Brady before Tom Brady was Tom Brady.
Just ask the retired salesman who was born in 1929.
“Everybody makes a big deal of my name, but I tell them I had the name first, almost 50 years before the other guy,’’ says Tom Brady.
This Brady never heard of the word “pliability” but he is a believer.
“Can Tom beat time? Yes, I think he’s got a few more years,” says Brady. “I beat time. I’m 88. I got a new heart valve 12 years ago. I’m going pretty well. I’m still kicking around. I work out two days a week.”
When the Patriots’ Tom Brady plays at Gillette Stadium, there’s another Tom Brady, the Norfolk County deputy sheriff, watching from Section 310 on the 40-yard line. A season ticket-holder since 1996, he loves being Brady, too.
“It’s fantastic,” he says. “It never gets old.”
Even the prisoners seem to show respect when they see his name tag.
“They love it,” he says.
Sometimes he plays along, such as the time he was dealing with phone support from the cable company.
“Of course they all thought I was the quarterback,” he says. “I had this guy and 20 of his co-workers on speakerphone in Kentucky because we were picking their fantasy football team. They all thought they were getting the best advice they possibly could.”
Tom Brady, 49, the carpenter from Franklin, flaunts it. He rides around in a truck that has “Tom Brady Carpentry” painted on the side. He drives by Gillette Stadium all the time.
“I get a lot of beeps and waves,” he says. “After the first Super Bowl, I had magnetic signs on one of my trucks and someone stole the Tom Brady part. That’s why everything is permanent letters now. “
He’s amazed that Brady performed so well in the AFC Championship game despite getting stitches in his hand.
“Of course I’ve hurt my hand,” he says. “I’m a carpenter. But he’s doing a pretty good job of beating time. I remember when I turned 40, when I got out of bed, my bones creaked.”
He gets at least five Tom Brady comments a day.
“I got harassed by a guy in a Dunkin’ Donuts parking lot,” he says. “He gave me a hard time about my name. He kept saying, ‘Hey Brady, throw me the ball.’ ”
Brady looked at the guy’s van.
“It says, ‘Painting by Michael Vick,’ ” says Brady. “I said, “Someday I might throw you a ball, but you’ll never watch my dog.’ ”
He says name recognition is good for business.
“People will never forget my name,” he says. “Tom Brady’s name will live forever in New England.”
Voting in favor
This has been going on since Jets linebacker Mo Lewis slammed into Patriots quarterback Drew Bledsoe on Sept. 23, 2001.
“Soon as Bledsoe got hurt, the phone started ringing,” says Brady the carpenter, who played hockey for Jamaica Plain High School. “Oh my God, look who’s playing football.
“The only downside is when they lose, but that doesn’t happen very often.”
The two even met once at Gillette Stadium.
“I shook his hand and got an autograph,” he says. “I was actually wearing one of my [Tom Brady Carpentry] shirts; he got a good laugh out of it.
“He wrote, ‘For Tom Brady, Oh what a name! Tom Brady #12.’ It’s still sitting on my mantel at home.
Tom Brady, 52, the real estate lawyer, remembers the time he was building his house in Walpole and the carpenters were all there but the wood wasn’t. An emergency call was placed. This is Tom Brady’s house.
“Everybody at General Builders dropped everything they were doing and loaded up the truck,” he says. “It was there in an hour and a half.”
He also credits the quarterback for him becoming Walpole town moderator in 2015.
“Oh absolutely,” he says. “I wore my Brady shirt and it helped me get elected. Think about all the guys going into the polls checking Tom Brady.”
Tom Brady, the Brookline arborist, says he loves his name.
“What makes it fun when people ask me about it is this,” he says. “My name is Tom Brady, my wife is Portuguese. I’m roughly the same height and weight, although it’s distributed differently. I have the same color hair, same color eyes. I’m working in the same place he lives. The Krafts live in the same town as well. The only thing that’s missing is the paycheck.”
He says that Super Bowl Sunday presents challenges for him.
“When you’re trying to order stuff on Super Bowl Sunday and you use the name Tom Brady, it’s difficult,” he says. “They don’t believe it’s the case.
“I’ve had some challenges getting the food delivered to parties and such things. They think you’re cranking them, pulling their leg, you’re lying. But you work through it and you find a way.”
Stan Grossfeld can be reached at email@example.com.