“12: The Inside Story of Tom Brady’s Fight for Redemption ” by Casey Sherman and Dave Wedge
Football (American), professional, Patriots, biography, politics
July 31, 2018
3 of 5 stars (okay)
Tom Brady has been the starting quarterback for the New England Patriots since the middle of the 2001 season. Since that point, he has led the team to eight Super Bowls, winning five of them and is now considered by many to be the greatest quarterback of all time. He and his team have also encountered their share of controversy. One of these episodes, widely known as “Deflategate”, had a profound effect on Brady, the Patriots and the commissioner’s office of the NFL. This controversy is chronicled in this book by investigative journalists Casey Sherman and Dave Wedge.
The book’s premise is that Brady had to not only endure the shame of being suspended for four games at the start of the 2016 season, he was given this suspension with flawed evidence of violating a rule that allegedly is not enforced regularly. Brady was accused of having Patriots’ equipment personnel deflate footballs below the minimum standard set by the league during the 2015 AFC Championship game against the Indianapolis Colts. The account of the whole affair – the game, the skullduggery behind the scenes, the investigation by the league and the hearing with lawyers from both the league and the player – is covered in full detail.
However, this fine writing is marred by the blatant bias the authors have for Brady’s case and the vitriol written about the league’s staff and Commissioner Roger Goodell. While Goodell may not be popular with football fans, the unmasked contempt the authors have for his handling of this case is clear. This made the book feel like more of a long editorial piece than an account of the case.
The book also tells brief biographies of Brady, Patriots head coach Bill Belichek and owner Robert Kroft. Also in the book is a recap of Brady’s career as the Patriots quarterback, with recaps of some of his more memorable games such as the “Tuck Rule” game, his first Super Bowl win against the St. Louis Rams in Super Bowl XXXVI and of course, the game in which his redemption came, Super Bowl LI against the Atlanta Falcons. The recap of this game was the best football passage in the book, but even here, it was choppy as the description of the game was broken up by numerous sidebar stories about other Patriots players such as James White and Julian Edelman.
Overall, this book covers the main topic, Tom Brady, quite well. But the lack of objectivity plus the jumping from topic to topic made this a less-than-enjoyable read. It does get a favorable rating for the material covered and it is one that Brady and Patriots fans will enjoy, if for no other reason to recap the incredible comeback the team made in Super Bowl LI. If the reader is not a Brady or Patriots fan, then pass on this one.
I wish to thank Little, Brown and Company for providing a copy of the book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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