Q&A with Tom vs Time director and Religion of Sports co-founder, Gotham Chopra
1. How did the idea for Tom vs Time come about?
I had gotten to know Tom six or seven years ago when he spent his offseasons in Brentwood, a part of LA not far from where I live. I’d been a lifelong fan of the Pats and obviously a big admirer of Tom’s because of all the success he’d helped bring the franchise. I tried to keep that hysteria in check, albeit with mixed success. Over time, as we got to know one another and Tom’s rise and the team’s run continued, I kept trying to convince Tom that we should document it.
He politely declined every time, but then, after Super Bowl 51 — the historic way that game ended and just the drama of that whole season — I think Tom realized on his own that something special was going on and it was worth capturing. He called me during that offseason and said I could bring a camera to some of his workouts. I was there in 24 hours!
The Facebook idea was an evolution from there. He already had a relationship with them because of his presence on the platform. They were launching a new product (Facebook Watch), and collectively we came up with an idea of chronicling his offseason training leading up to his 40th birthday. So away we went!
2. Were you always planning on filming an epilogue? Or was that decision based on how open-ended the season finale felt?
No. But across last season, everyone had a pretty good time and obviously the series was a success. Tom had made a decision that this offseason was going to be different for him, just in terms of spending more time with his family, so he invited me on a trip overseas that he was making. I don’t really go anywhere without a camera so…
Later in the offseason, Facebook reached out with the idea of an epilogue. Obviously there had been a lot of speculation around Tom’s offseason, in part fueled by some of his comments in Episode 6. He’d openly talked about “finding his conviction” and it was definitely something I was curious about, too — had he found it in the deserts of Qatar, or dodgeball games with his family?!
So, I guess we thought this would be a great way to share his POV and show exactly where his head was at heading into the 2018 season.
3. Having spent more time with Tom Brady than most, what would be the one word you’d use to describe him (a) as a football player, and (b) as a man?
- As a football player: Defiant. He loves defying conventions and redefining what’s possible. He has a chip on his shoulder — even at this stage of his career. He’s always looking for that mental edge that helps him keep pushing. More than just his physical routine, I think his mental discipline and that emotional defiance is what makes him the GOAT.
- As a man: I’d say “balanced.” I know it’s something he really works hard at, and amongst the very driven and successful people I know, Tom is really good at achieving that balance. Being a killer on the field … and a dad, husband, and friend off of it. It takes constant effort and work and I think this offseason was very much focused on recalibrating and achieving that for him — especially as his kids get older, his wife pursues new goals, etc.