It is difficult to age gracefully. Ask anyone approaching 40, or well past it. Most of us get to grapple with that milestone before a limited and understanding audience. Professional athletes, of course, are not granted that luxury, as New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady is reminding us.
Brady, 40, has won five Super Bowls. He has been the most valuable player in four of them, and recently he was selected to his 13th Pro Bowl. But throughout another dominant N.F.L. season, which continues Saturday night with a divisional round playoff game against the Tennessee Titans, Brady has taken the poet Dylan Thomas to heart and refused to go gentle into that good night.
With the help of a book, a controversial side business and a new documentary series — coming soon to a smartphone near you — his midlife crisis is unfolding before packed stadiums, millions of television viewers and social media followers, and an eager news media horde.
Brady’s book, “The TB12 Method: How to Achieve a Lifetime of Sustained Peak Performance,” and his lifestyle website, tb12sports.com, purportedly offer inside looks at how Brady has done what he has done — a blend of so-called “pliability” exercises, nutritional bars, supplements and lots of water. The new documentary series, which will drop later this month via Facebook’s mobile video platform, says right there in its title what it will address: “Tom vs. Time.”
Brady going all Gwyneth Paltrow and Goop-y might be considered endearing to some, even if it is not wholly original. After all, his fans in New England and elsewhere long ago forgave his fashionably questionable loyalty to the Uggs that he endorses, and they never believed that “Deflategate” was anything but a leaguewide conspiracy to derail, and tarnish forever, the Patriots juggernaut. (Don’t even ask about “Spygate.”)