June 02, 2020
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ESPN announces Tom Brady ‘Man in the Arena’ docuseries for 2021

Darron Cummings | AP
Darron Cummings | AP
In this Feb. 5, 2017, file photo, New England Patriots' Tom Brady raises the Vince Lombardi Trophy after defeating the Atlanta Falcons in overtime at the NFL Super Bowl 51 football game in Houston. Brady’s journey to each of his nine Super Bowls with the New England Patriots will be the subject of an ESPN series released in 2021. Entitled “The Man in the Arena: Tom Brady,” the nine-episode series will include a look from Brady’s perspective at the six NFL titles and three Super Bowl defeats he was a part of. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings, File)

So there’s going to be another dance.

This time with a different GOAT.

With its massively successful Michael Jordan docuseries “The Last Dance” still fresh in everyone’s minds, ESPN announced Thursday it will be giving Tom Brady similar treatment in 2021.

“The Man in the Arena: Tom Brady” will be a nine-episode series that “will include a look from Brady’s perspective at the six NFL titles and three Super Bowl defeats” during his two-decade career, ESPN stated in an article on its website.

The article added: “The episodes are expected to be grounded in Brady’s reflections and will include voices and outlooks other than his.”

Sound familiar? It’s the same basic format behind the “The Last Dance.”

Another similarity: Brady’s newly formed production company, 199 Productions, is listed as one of the series producers; Jordan’s production company, Jump 23, was heavily involved in the making of his docuseries.

For that reason, “The Last Dance” was criticized by some for being a bit too pro-Jordan. But it did touch on such topics as Jordan’s gambling issues and the death of his father. So maybe “The Man in the Arena” will give us a look at such matters as Deflategate beyond Brady using it as motivation for another Super Bowl run. Maybe we’ll get some insight on his relationship with New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick or his reasons for departing for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this offseason.

Or maybe it will just be a bunch of weird stuff, as with this trailer Brady tweeted out Thursday morning.

“I have quoted Theodore Roosevelt’s ‘Man in the Arena’ speech since I saw it painted on our weight room wall at UM in 1995. It’s a constant reminder to ignore the noise, buckle my chinstrap, and battle through whatever comes my way.”

It features clips from Brady’s life and career interspersed with such images as an American flag, roads, the wing of a plane, the moon, an eyeball, several clocks, ocean waves, a babbling brook and an hourglass. Surely there’s some symbolism if anyone cares enough to delve into all that.

One big difference from the Jordan project is that Brady’s career is still ongoing, so there won’t be the nostalgia factor that might have fueled some of the obsession over “The Last Dance.” Also, most of us were housebound with little or no live sports to watch during the five-week, 10 episode run of MJ’s show. Hopefully that won’t be the case by the time “The Man in the Arena” debuts.

But if it is, at least we can all dance again as if it’s 2020.

 


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