Tom Brady is the most accomplished champion in his field. One thing he probably hasn’t won, though, is an argument with his supermodel wife. Prior to the season, Brady retired, which finally gave Gisele a fully-present husband in the fall for the first time since they’ve been married. It’s still not clear whether she was privy to his scheme to return to the NFL as the Dolphins quarterback or if she got played too, but nevertheless, it sounds like he’s been in the doghouse since his unretirement.
As the season neared, Gisele’s annoyance with Brady gradually swelled. Reportedly, Bündchen flew to Costa Rica after frustrations over his return to the NFL boiled over after he joined training camp just months after his retirement announcement. In the midst of this, Brady took a two-week sabbatical, then returned sounding like a cross between a more zen Mike Gundy and Sad Affleck, where he explained his absence.
“It’s all personal. Everyone’s got different situations they’re dealing with, so we all have really unique challenges. I’m 45 years old, man. There’s a lot of shit going on. You just got to figure out life the best you can. It’s a continuous process.”
This week, in what was a warning shot across Brady’s bow, Brady’s wife, the mother of his children, Gisele Bündchen, expressed her displeasure with Brady’s return for his 23rd season in the NFL in a sprawling feature for ELLE Magazine that centered on black and white photos of her riding on a motorcycle.
“Obviously, I have my concerns — this is a very violent sport, and I have my children and I would like him to be more present,” she said in the ELLE exclusive. “I have definitely had those conversations with him over and over again. But ultimately, I feel that everybody has to make a decision that works for [them]. He needs to follow his joy, too.”
Gisele’s comments align with tabloid leaks about the root of their relationship’s tensions and Brady’s past comments about the toll football has had on his personal life in general.
His wife has spent the entirety of their marriage scaling back her career so that Brady could become the geriatric face of the NFL. As Brady’s career in football is winding down, Gisele is ramping up her professional aspirations in the fashion world.
“I feel very fulfilled in that way, as a mother and as a wife,” she told Elle. “And now it’s going to be my turn. It’s not like I’m going to be in the valley forever.”
Presumably, Gisele’s “valley” comments in ELLE aren’t a revelation to Brady, considering he’s married to her and that this interview took place before Brady’s 11-day absence from the Bucs training camp.
While Gisele readies for Fashion Week, Brady just wrapped up Week 1. For the second time, Brady is waving the white flag. But for reals this time?
In the wake of his wife’s comments, Brady sounds resigned to surrendering that the 2022 season will be his finale. On his ‘Let’s Go!’ podcast with co-host Jim Gray on Tuesday, Brady said that he is “feeling more than things in the past for some reason.”
“I’m just really feeling intensely my emotions,” the Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback told Gray. “And I feel like I always have that, but I think when you get close to the end – and I don’t know exactly where I’m at with that, but there’s no decision to be made, it’s not like I have 10 years left, I definitely don’t have that.
“All these, I’m just never going to take for granted. The only time it really slapped me in the face to say: ‘Don’t take this for granted’ was when I got injured with my knee. And after that, I came back and said: ‘Winning’s great. I love winning and I hated losing, and I still do, but even if you lose and you walk off the field healthy, there’s something to be gained from it.’ The part is, if you get injured and you can’t be there with your team, that’s really where it gets mentally challenging and emotionally challenging.”
It’s painfully clear why Brady would be emotional. This will either be the swan song for his career or his marriage and Brady is wisely choosing to ride off into the sunset after this season on Gisele’s motorcycle. Life in the NFL is akin to a hyper focused six-month Super Bowl voyage. As much as Brady loves the locker room camaraderie, those Buccaneer sea shanties are going to hit differently when he returns to shore one of these Januarys and finds an empty crib.