I don’t know how TV critics (like Alan Sepinwall) do their jobs when they’re forced to watch awful shows. How many spinoffs of rich people behaving poorly can you honestly consume before low-brow insults from high-class people lose their effect?
For example, if I had been assigned to review Man in the Arena, I would eat onions in order to catch salmonella because that’s preferable to watching Tom take us through his career that isn’t even fucking over yet.
What episode of Man in the Arena features Sunday’s news conference when Brady stood up at the podium for all of a minute and nine seconds? What, Tom, you weren’t feeling the cameras this time around?
If you think this is a Brady-specific rant, nah, there’s an entire list of athletes who want to get into the content game for the sole reason of vanity. Raise your hand if you watched Dwyane Wade’s Life Unexpected. I can’t see the audience, but I’m guessing there are like three of you, and you’re all related to Dwyane.
That’s the only reason I can think of as to why you’d spend one iota of time watching this guy’s retirement home movie. Remember Kevin Durant’s now-canceled The Boardroom? If you don’t recall — and I don’t blame you if you missed that one — it wasn’t a documentary; it was a show where, I guess, KD and his manager Rich Kleiman talked about the game and life with special guests.
I didn’t watch it either, because KD is 33 years old, and excuse me if I’m not interested in slurping up takes of someone my age. The only difference between these athlete content creators and Instagram influencers is production value.
Set up the boardroom, set up the barber shop, interview Elon Musk from space, I don’t give a fuck. What time does your next game tipoff? Because I’ll watch that.
Sports are the original reality TV, and these all-access/edited projects are less messy versions of the After the Rose shows. (I don’t actively watch The Bachelor, but my girlfriend does, and I’d rather watch a bunch of idiots try to dry hump anything that moves than listen to active athletes pontificate on the impacts of social media with a glass of cab sav in hand.)
This isn’t a “shut up and dribble” rant (though it definitely is a rant); say whatever you want, produce documentaries, talk to Kyrie about flat earth shit, just don’t expect me to watch. I love a good sports documentary, and I’ve found that the best ones are either stories I didn’t know or ones I haven’t revisited in a long time.
Obviously, Michael Jordan caught a break with The Last Dance and the timing of the pandemic, but even if we weren’t thirsting for sports content like teenagers yearning for the WiFi password, that doc still would’ve been impactful. You know why? Because it’s Michael Jordan, but also because we had been anticipating that thing like it was a Spider-Man: No Way Home trailer on HGH.
Brady hasn’t even finished his career, and he’s already waxing poetic about the time he took over for Drew Bledsoe. (Also, please stop acting like Brady was replacing Joe Montana. I know Bledsoe made a Super Bowl, but so did Jake Delhomme and Jimmy Garoppolo and a number of other forgettable quarterbacks.)
Part of the reason I’m authoring this is because I couldn’t find other content to flip for content, so I’m aware that the faucet needs to keep running for people like me to stay employed. That said, distance makes the heart grow fonder. Stephen A. debates Brady’s legacy every morning at 8 a.m.; he gets more than enough run on ESPN.
All of these athletes that I mentioned or alluded to — Brady, Wade, Durant, LeBron — are all deserving of the dopest of the dope documentaries in due time. But you know what’s better than watching highlights of your career? Watching your career.