Greg Bishop's tremendous profile of Patriots quarterback Tom Brady from the Dec. 15 issue of Sports Illustratedis now available online. It's primarily focused on Brady's insane preparation methods, the secret to remaining one of the NFL's best quarterbacks at 37. Here are a few of the best bits that illustrate just how much of a maniac Brady is.
1. He plays to win, even for charity.
At an event for Brady's charity in 2009, Brady started barking at his teammates, including retired NFL tight end Christian Fauria, to give a little more effort. Fauria put an extra hop in his step, pulled his hamstring, and cursed Brady out.
2. He played four games in 2005 with an unfortunate below-the-belt injury.
Brady injured his shin in Week 14, and suffered a sports hernia the next week. The latter injury caused his testicles to swell to three times their normal size. But Brady played through the pain in New England's last two regular season games and two playoff games, causing backup quarterback Matt Cassel to quip, "So, yeah, Tom Brady has big balls."
Tom Brady and his Incredible Hair
Tom Brady's hair has undergone a number of different styles since the Patriots quarterback first entered the NFL in 2000 - from high and tight to long and shaggy. The latest incarnation is short and low maintenance with a touch of Jim Carey from 'Dumb and Dumber.' Here's a look back at Brady's evolving hairstyle through the years.
Tom Brady and Gisele Bundchen
Tom Brady's hairstyle was a hot topic around the NFL during the 2010 season, and it looks like it will continue in the offseason as well. The Patriots quarterback showed off his new, diminutive ponytail at a parade in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, with supermodel wife Gisele Bundchen.
The National Enquirer reported in December that Brady visited a hair-transplant specialist in Rhode Island to see about hair plugs.
Tom Brady and Gisele Bundchen
The hoopla began in August, when Brady showed up to Patriots training camp with his new look. Most people suspected the woman behind the long locks was his wife, Gisele. Brady confirmed this during a radio appearance when WAAF's Greg Hill asked if there were anything he could do to make Brady cut his hair. The QB responded, "You'll have to speak to my wife about that."
Of course, a hairstyle of this magnitude is bound to attract copycats. One example is Patriots second-year receiver Julian Edelman, who came to training camp with a style eerily similar to his star QB's.
Detroit Lions Fans
As if his battles on the field weren't enough, Brady suddenly found himself at odds with a force known as the Justin Bieber Army, who took offense to the QB copying their hero's hairstyle. Even Bieber himself took a shot at Brady when he posted a freestyle video in early October with the line, "Sacked like a sacker. Call up Mr. Brady. Tell him to leave his hair to the guy who sings 'Baby.'"
Tom Brady and Randy Moss
Brady's hair took center stage in September after Randy Moss' trade to Minnesota. According to CBS' Charlie Casserly, Moss and Brady had a heated argument during which Brady told his receiver to shave his beard. Moss responded that Brady should cut his hair because he looks like a girl.
Damien and Nicole Woody
Most NFL players have been silent on their criticism of Brady's hair, perhaps fearing on the field retribution for their words. Damien Woody (pictured here with his wife, Nicole) couldn't resist a jab at his former teammate. While leaving a charity fundraiser for New York's Pierre Hotel, Woody laughed when a TMZ reporter asked about the QB's coif, "That long stuff Tom's got. That ain't happening."
It didn't always start out like this. While attending Michigan from 1995 to 2000, Brady kept his hair high and tight.
Brady appeared in animated form on The Simpsons in 2005. Through the magic of Photoshop, we were able to create an animated version of what the QB would look like if he were on the show today.
Mike Elgin, Justin Rogers and Clint Oldenburg
Brady knows a thing or two about bad hair. During training camp in 2007, Patriots rookies Mike Elgin, Justin Rogers and Clint Oldenburg were given these atrocious looks by the team's veterans.
What does Brady say about his much-maligned hairdo? "I'm not one that's ever really cared too much about the length or the non-length of it," he told the NFL Network's Rich Eisen. "Whatever I really feel like doing, I'll do. and I'll say I'll cut it short and I'll grow it long and everywhere in between." He later said he will cut it, he just "doesn't know when it'll be. As long as it doesn't keep me from seeing the open guys."
3. He takes ping pong very seriously.
Ex-NFL tight end Cam Cleeland, who played with Brady in 2002, still remembers, 12 years later, how Brady's table tennis paddle was all beat up from smacking it on the table during training camp games.
4. He gets to weight room at an ungodly hour.
Former teammate Rodney Harrison recounts how he would show up to lift weights at 6:40 a.m. and Brady would greet him with "Good afternoon." Harrison showed up earlier and earlier, but still got the same greeting. Eventually he showed up at 6, and Brady still teased him. Harrison had enough. "Screw you, Tom," he said. "I'm not coming in any earlier."
5. He goes to bed at 9 p.m.
Brady has trouble getting football out of his head. After practices and games, his mind is racing. So he does cognitive exercises to wind down. He's in bed at 9 and wakes up without an alarm. So yes, he is a machine.
- Dan Gartland