Tom Brady is one of the fiercest competitors in sports history, but his unmatched intensity might be a thing of the past and according to him, we have social media to blame.
During a conference call to promote the next installment of The Match, Brady said he never would have partnered with Peyton Manning on the golf course when the all-time great quarterbacks were in the midst of their fierce AFC rivalry. Brady wouldn’t partner with Manning, but he is now pairing up with his NFC rival Aaron Rodgers to face AFC foes Josh Allen and Patrick Mahomes in The Match. The difference between now and then? Social media.
“I think you develop a lot of friendships over FaceTime or social media as opposed to we didn’t have that when I started,” Brady said on the conference call, according to Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times. “In 2000, there was no way to get a hold of someone except to see them once in the offseason and make a phone call.
“Now, I feel like everyone is pretty friendly with one another, and I suppose that’s a good thing,” Brady continued. “I think it’s a challenging thing, too. I think it’s tough to be friends with people you’re trying to go at. I see that a lot on the PGA golf tour. I think there are a lot of good friends. I don’t think Tiger was great friends with anyone for a long time. I don’t think Jack Nicklaus was friends with anyone he was competing against.”
Those friendships between competitors probably are more prevalent now and social media certainly contributes, but sharing agents, endorsement deals and the frequency of which players change teams might play an even larger role. Social media can put a spotlight on competing players getting chummy with each other, but it can also fester rivalries by bringing trash talk to a public forum.
Maybe Brady, at 44 years old is starting to lose some of his competitive edge and that’s why he’s choosing to partner up with Rodgers for The Match. Rather than admitting he doesn’t have the same intensity he had a decade ago, Brady sought to blame it on his newfound love for Twitter.
The Match will take place next Wednesday, June 1, with exclusive coverage on TNT beginning at 6:30pm ET, from Wynn Las Vegas.