The Last Dance was ESPN’s wildly popular docu-series on Michael Jordan’s last years with the Chicago Bulls. Many believe that The Last Dance solidified MJ’s GOAT status ahead of LeBron, even though Bron still has several good years left in him and even though I personally think LeBron is a better man, overall, than Michael Jordan. Maybe it’s because of the lockdown or maybe we’re just in a moment when we’re hungry for long-form docu-series about athletes, but now ESPN is convinced that they should do more of these kinds of series. So what other GOATs can they talk about? You guessed it, the white guy who deflates balls and is a Goop-level shill of pseudoscience.
Following the breakout success of The Last Dance, ESPN has ordered another docuseries about an athlete considered the greatest in his sport: Tom Brady. The nine-episode series, produced by Gotham Chopra’s Religion of Sports and Brady’s recently formed 199 Productions, is called Man in the Arena and will offer the quarterback’s first-hand accounts of pivotal moments in his career, including all nine of his Super Bowl appearances with the New England Patriots. It is set to air in 2021.
“Nine Super Bowl appearances over the course of 20 years is an achievement on an unmatched level. We are thrilled to have the opportunity to work with Tom Brady as he reflects on each of those nine, season-long journeys and the pivotal moments that defined them,” Connor Schell, executive vp content at ESPN, said Thursday in a statement. “Gotham Chopra is a highly skilled filmmaker who I am confident will bring to life this story of an icon in a new and revealing way.”
Added Brady: “I’m excited to have my company 199 Productions be in business with ESPN and Disney along with our Religion of Sports partners to launch this new series that gives an inside look into the championship moments I’ve been blessed to experience. Through the series, we’re defining the key moments and challenges that were seemingly insurmountable, but through hard work and perseverance, became career-defining triumphs, in both victory and defeat. This compelling and powerful show will entertain, inspire and have you on the edge of your seat. We can’t wait to share it with the world.”
There’s one key difference between The Last Dance and Man in the Arena: Where the former aired more than 20 years after Jordan’s final season with the Chicago Bulls, Brady is still playing. The 42-year-old signed a two-year contract with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in March after 20 seasons with the Patriots.
Um, how are they actually going to fill up nine hours of programming? How much archival football footage will be used, and wouldn’t it just be better to just watch a repeat of those Super Bowls? Plus, with all of the fascinating athletes out there, ESPN is really going to waste all of that time and programming on… dipsh-t Tom Brady? A white guy who is dumb as a box of hair? TOMPA BRADY? That guy? Yeah.
So obviously I’m biased, but think about how popular a nine-part docu-series on Roger Federer, Serena Williams, Venus Williams or Rafael Nadal would be. Rafa’s the weakest link there, not because of lack of achievements (he has a crazy amount of achievements), but because he hasn’t lived a flashy, exciting life beyond the tour. I could easily fill up nine hours on Serena and Venus though. Like, I would have to go to ESPN and be like “actually I think I need a tenth and eleventh episode please.” Who else? I would love nine hours on LeBron. I would love nine hours on Kareem Abdul Jabbar. Nine hours on Megan Rapinoe? FOR SURE. Nine hours on Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova’s rivalry? Yes, please.
Photos courtesy of Backgrid, Avalon Red.