This Sunday, I will take my seat on one of the four couches in my living room, load up a plate of wings, and watch my good friend Tom Brady take on the New York Giants.
Well, maybe good friend is stretching it a little bit.
However, Tom Terrific, the man who has put the Patriots at the top of the football world for the past 11 years, has talked to me.
It was brief, yes. It was nothing special. However, I did call him Tom. That makes us friends, right?
It all started on the second day of my internship with the New England Revolution. Working with their communications department, I’ve been lucky enough to work with professional soccer players. On my second day, I went to training and then helped set up a promotional photo shoot.
Needless to say, I was already star struck walking down the halls of Gillette Stadium with Matt Reis and Shalrie Joseph, the faces of the New England Revolution.
As I stood in the locker room with arguably two of the best players in Revolution history, my supervisor came in and asked the head of our department if he could borrow me for a project.
We were barely out of the room before he was telling me, ‘just stand there with the recorder and when you see a scrum of reporters flock to a player, get close enough and just stick your arm in there.’
As he handed me the recorder, I was confused. The Revs media availability had already ended. And we were walking in the direction of the Patriots’ locker room.
“Am I getting quotes from the Pats?” I asked.
For some reason, every reporter in New England, and a few from that four-letter network in Connecticut, were headed to the same place I was.
Something about an AFC Championship game is a big deal around here I guess.
My supervisor peeked into the locker room and then looked back at me and said, ‘I’m going to take you on before the rest of the media gets here and introduce you to Aaron, the Patriots’ communications director.’
And as the door opened to the nicest locker room I have ever laid eyes upon, there he stood. No more than ten feet from me, and the only player in the locker room, Tom Brady was sitting in his locker fiddling with his helmet.
For some reason, I had imagined Brady tucked away in the tallest tower of Gillette being read game strategies by Bill Bellichick. Nope.
As he looked up, he recognized my supervisor, turned back to his locker and put his helmet down.
“Hey Tom you have to be out at the podium in two minutes for the media,” said Aaron.
“Heading there right now,” said Brady.
As he made the walk towards us, I figured he’d just walk right by and keep his head down. Instead, he let out a little, ‘Hey guys, how we doing?”
Then, as cool as I possibly could, I responded with a, “Hey Tom.”
As he brushed by me and bumped my left shoulder, it took every ounce of professionalism in me (which isn’t much) not to tackle him.
Anyway, my good buddy Tom has a pretty big game Sunday with a lot on the line. If you’re not doing anything, tune in.
Corey Hanlon may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org