For New York Times Reporter, a Tom Brady Profile Years in the Making

A phone call last July felt as good as a childhood response from Jim Plunkett would have

At the top of this weekend’s New York Times Magazine cover story on Tom Brady, Mark Leibovich maps out the personal X’s and professional O’s that led him to finally score a profile of the NFL’s most frequent big game quarterback:

Last July, a few weeks before the New England Patriots started training camp, I got a call from Donald Yee, the agent in Los Angeles who has represented Tom Brady since he entered the NFL in 2000. It had been four years since I first told Yee that I was interested in writing about Brady, even though I typically cover politics.

I grew up in the Boston suburbs, rooted for the Patriots as a kid and even possessed vague memories of watching the team play at Fenway Park, one of their homes before they settled into the nowhere-land of Foxborough, MA, in 1971. My friend Josh and I once wrote a letter to the team’s young quarterback, Jim Plunkett, inviting him to dinner at Josh’s house. (Plunkett never responded.)

Yee offered Leibovich a lunch meeting with Brady, that same summer week. The day of the meeting, the reporter received an email with the subject line: “Tom Brady Here.” In short order, Leibovich was in the back of a taxi cab, headed to 23rd and Madison for almonds, water in a blue bottle and conversation with a subject who never slouches.

For the piece, Leibovich also spoke to Brady’s father, Patriots owner Robert Kraft and the quarterback’s ever-present personal body coach Alex Guerrero, a “practicing Mormon of Argentine descent with a master’s degree in Chinese medicine.” Read the full piece here.

@hollywoodspin Richard Horgan is co-editor of Fishbowl.