GQ has released its list of Men of the Year with several different covers featuring President Barack Obama and also Tom Brady. Brady won a Super Bowl this year. He was also accused of messing around with his footballs. He was suspended. He appealed. He was cleared to play. And he was implicated in a Hollywood cheating scandal because of this:

Yes. Any chance I get I am posting that photo.

As you know, after all kinds of speculation about a divorce, Brady and Gisele Bundchen are solid now. He and the Patriots are undefeated going into this weekend. So. Is he one of the Men of the Year? Of course he is. But…when isn’t he, ever? If it were anyone else, anyone outside of the Brady mold, and all that that mold represents, there is no way we’d be calling him the man of the year. You know exactly what I mean. Men like Tom Brady were built to win. They were built to never lose. Which is what Chuck Klosterman is getting at in this interview, even though it’s not the interview he was hoping to have.

Like his piece on Taylor Swift a few weeks ago, click here for a refresher, Chuck delivers a fascinating read. He goes in prepared, he wants to talk to Brady about Deflategate, because as the Man of the Year, this was the biggest story of the year in his sport. Makes total sense. Initially Chuck was told that he could talk to Tom about anything, face to face. Then it became a one hour phone call that actually turned out to be a 45 minute phone call with Tom obstinately refusing to answer any questions about the questionable footballs controversy, leaving Chuck to craft a profile around those knowledge and information gaps. What he ended up writing was a thesis paper on the cult of the all-American quarterback, positing that he is who we want him to be, even when he’s dishonest, we encourage and then celebrate that dishonesty, especially in hindsight.

In the present, we overvalue the rules of sport and insist that anyone caught breaking those parameters must be stopped, sanctioned, and banned. But as the decades slip away, such responses tend to invert. Who won and who lost matters less than the visage of the experience; as long as nobody got hurt and nobody took drugs and nothing was fixed by gamblers, a little deception almost becomes charming. A deficiency of character adds character, somehow. It proves that the cheater cared.

So, basically, Tom Brady’s legend is guaranteed. Not only is he the Man of the Year this year, he will be the Man of all the Years going forward. Because he did what he was supposed to do: win.

These are all just games. Within the grand scheme of existence, they have no intrinsic value. A game can matter only as much as the involved players believe it to matter. This is why no one watches the Pro Bowl. It’s also what makes Brady different from normal people, and from other quarterbacks: He will do whatever it takes to win, regardless of what that win represents. He is, by definition, a winner. Which is what everyone has always said about him. We always knew this. He is precisely the man society demands him to be. It’s just that society doesn’t like to think about what that means in practice.

In practice and in play, even his imperfections make him perfect, so long as the scoreboard is on his side. Isn’t the scoreboard – on the field and in life – always on Tom Brady’s side?


But if that’s the case, I get to nitpick. The GQ shoot happened at Brady’s home in Brookline. There’s a video. No doubt, he looks great in the photos (except there’s something super weird about his legs here)…

…but when he talks? That moisty mouth? It’s grossing me out. That’s basically the only thing wrong with Tom Brady.


Click here to read the full GQ article.