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Replay: Best of Radio Thu Apr 18 - 02:00 PM | Tue Apr 23 - 11:55 AM

View from Above: TB12 gets an assist from Oprah

Brady's Oprah-time strategy...and JR says there's no time like downtime, if that time is good time...


What do we make of this?

Nothing earth-shattering there, really.  Nothing out of the ordinary.  A conversation, apparently, between two icons in their respective fields of endeavor that brought us nothing we didn't already know.  

If you've been paying attention, of course.

And yet, Oprah Winfrey's ability to draw us in, to bring us a little closer to the people and personalities she speaks with is one of the reasons she's universally admired, if not loved, by millions. We feel comfortable with Oprah. She speaks our language, she's relatable.

Some people believe she'd make a good presidential candidate, to which she has already said 'no thanks.' Smart woman.

If you're Tom Brady, continuing the process of setting yourself and your personal brand up for life-after-football - really, now - who better to help you with that process than Oprah? Sitting for an interview with the "brand" and icon that is Oprah Winfrey is akin to mining gold. It's the gift that, if done well and received well, can keep on giving for as long as one needs.

Dare we say that an Oprah sit-down, Franklin Roosevelt-like fireside chat is the key to legitimacy and believability (or marketability?) in America today?

TB12 must believe so. In case you missed it (and not many did, apparently), Brady sat down for a made-for-TV interview with the one-and-only Oprah, which aired on her Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) this past Sunday. Smart man.

Among the items up for discussion between the two, a couple of thoughts struck here as particularly poignant. One, is Brady's expanding role as a father. And two, how his job as a parent plays into the coming inevitability that the end of his football career is viewable on the horizon.

"In some ways, this year was easier for me than it has been in the past, and it's not that I don't want to win the same," Brady told Winfrey. "There's other important things in my life."

Before you scream "NO! Say it ain't so, Tom!" consider what this really means. If you are a parent, you already know what it means. In several ways, it's heart-warming to see children and family take a priority role in life, even if that life has been all about winning championships for the past two decades.

It's a natural progression. But it doesn't have to mean that competition or having competitive desire is now kaput. It's just that, priorities change. And of course, with that comes the realization that nothing lasts forever whether you're on the TB12 Method or not.

"I think about it more now than I used to," Brady told Winfrey about the dreaded "R" word, retirement. He does turn 41 in August, after all. "I think I'm seeing that there's definitely an end coming, sooner rather than later."

But that doesn't mean it's all over today, either. "As long as I'm still loving it. As long as I'm loving the training and preparation, and willing to make the commitment," Brady also said in the interview. But the 'parent trap' has also ensnared his non-work emotions, too.

"I think what I've alluded to a lot in the docuseries (Tom vs. Time) was there's other things happening in my life, too," Brady said. "I do have kids that I love, and I don't want to be a dad that's not there driving my kids to their games."

Okay. Nothing here we didn't really already know, even if we don't want to admit it. It's good and inevitable all at once. It's a natural progression. It's kinda cool, even.

He also hasn't completely given up on the football-thing yet, either. So, don't panic.

"I still feel like there's still more to be accomplished," Brady told Oprah. "I still feel like I can be better, be a percentage better. I've played a long time. It's not like you go, 'hey man, I'm going to become something different.' No, I am what I am. I know my strengths. I've improved on some of the weaknesses. And I still think I want to go out there and compete and play with a bunch of 22-year-olds. It's still a lot of fun."

For however long the TB12 "brand" means excellence at quarterback, or having a chance to win championships, or being the best at what you do - that's great. But nothing that's great can last forever. So how do you extend your life, your brand to what comes next?

How do you become great at something else?

By moving onto the next challenge. Parenthood. Business. Life its ownself.

And, by having a chat with Oprah.

Dreaded downtime

It's here. Time to face up to the fact that the next five weeks-or-so represent the quietest time on the NFL calendar. No football in the sports headlines?

I don't like it, and you probably don't either. But to quote someone we know, 'it is what it is.'

Consider for a moment, however, that while you and I might not like the downtime from the NFL, there are others who will enjoy every second of it.

And they're the ones who count the most, or perhaps can use it the most. For the right reasons, of course. Or, at least the coaches hope it's for the right reasons.

Often in today's game, when players are not around the daily structure of a football work schedule, they're left to their own devices. You'd like to think maturity might kick in if they decide to deviate from the norm of what they know, but you'd be fooling yourself.

This doesn't mean all boys go off "to be boys," but it does mean young men with time on their hands and the financial resources to go along with that time can be, uh, indecisive or impulsive when it comes to making decisions. If you're honest with yourself, you know you see this every year at about this time.

The stories come out. Headlines are made for the wrong reasons. Some laugh it off, if only because it doesn't affect them or their team. But don't kid yourself. Unacceptable behavior affects all of us, those of us who love football the way we do.

So, enjoy your downtime. Watch another sport, go play one, take a vacation or maybe read a book? Recharge your batteries for the long haul. We'll still be here when you get back.

And hopefully, everyone else will be, too. Quiet. Rested. Fully recharged, and ready to go again.

With no new headlines.

John Rooke, an author and award-winning broadcaster, is entering his 26th season as the Patriots' stadium voice. Currently serving in several media capacities - which include hosting "Patriots Playbook" on Radio - Rooke has broadcast college football and basketball locally and nationally for more than 30 years and is a member of the Rhode Island Radio Hall of Fame and RI's Words Unlimited Hall of Fame.

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