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Tom Brady Talks Hall of Fame, Hertz Campaign and Advice to Netflix Roastees

Tom Brady Talks Hall of Fame, Hertz Campaign and Advice to Netflix Roastees

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Tom Brady had a packed Wednesday, kicking off his day by chatting up his new Hertz campaign and closing out the day by taking center stage at his old stomping grounds at Gillette Stadium where he was inducted into the New England Patriots Hall of Fame. The electric ceremony, which featured opening act Jay-Z and a slew of Brady’s former teammates and coaches, was an exclamation point to a legendary career and a jam-packed day. “I am eternally grateful. I am Tom Brady. And I am a Patriot,” the NFL great said from the stage, his eyes filling up at several points. There were no tears as The Hollywood Reporter squeezed onto Brady’s schedule in the a.m. for a Zoom interview to talk Hertz, the Hall of Fame and Netflix‘s recent The Greatest Roast of All Time.

Can you talk a little bit about the Hertz partnership and why you think it works so well?

I’ve been working with Hertz for four years on the “Let’s Go” campaign. It started off as a tribute as I was running on the field going, “Let’s f-ing go,” to get myself fired up and ready for games. We transformed it into a great campaign that’s lasted a long time, but now we’re really talking so much about the customer experience and how easy and quick it is to rent [through the Hertz Gold Plus Rewards program]. It’s the best rental car company in the world. They’ve got a tremendous fleet, got a great leadership team. They’re always trying to satisfy you — so skip the line, earn the points and make it the best travel experience you can in these summer road trips.

How involved are you when Hertz presents creative for a campaign? What is that process like?

Certainly always involved and just very interested in how we want to get our messages out. I love that aspect and the creativity of what we’re trying to pursue, and I want to see these brands be tremendously successful and I want to play my role.

Tom Brady smiles on the set of a new Hertz campaign, released in June.

Ivan Lanz/Shadow Lion for Hertz

I have to say when I received this opportunity to interview you, I had to check the date a couple of times. June 12 is such a big day for you. Hertz in the morning and being inducted into the Patriots Hall of Fame by night. How did you feel when you woke up this morning? Any new perspective or emotions to share about this honor and what will happen in a few hours?

A lot of emotion, and it’s a very meaningful day for myself and for everyone who’s been on this journey with us. I’m happy I was able to bring everyone back together, but I don’t want it to be about me. It’s really about our 20 years together and how we, as a group of individuals, came together to believe in what the team was all about, what the culture should be and how we could deliver for one another. I never wanted to let anybody down. I wanted to go out there every day and give my best. That’s really what tonight’s about. A lot of people came back [for tonight], a lot of teammates, friends, coaches, mentors. It’s a great celebration for all of us.

The last time we were able to talk for a Hertz campaign, the movie 80 for Brady was upcoming. I had asked you at that time about how the film reflected your Hollywood ambitions. Now that you have some more time to think about the landscape of the Tom Brady business, how does Hollywood fit into that? What’s the slate looking like now? Have you identified any other projects that you want to get involved in?

There’s definitely projects we’re pursuing right now. The answer is yes, we’ll unveil them when they’re ready but there’s some really exciting ones. Great stories, inspiring stories, pretty sports-centric, as I like to focus on those. I really enjoy telling great stories and being part of teams that tell great stories and I really appreciate the art of storytelling as well.

Are the stories specific to football?

No, beyond football for sure. One thing about sports is it really engages our physical body. There’s parts of us that we all want to maximize our potential physically, mentally and emotionally and how can we really actualize that by really honing in on what that means and how it can come into our lives to teach us how to physically get the best out of ourself. And then, how to mentally and emotionally get the best out of ourselves. When you work on it every day, you see, OK, what do I need to put a little more time and energy into?

Another look at Brady’s latest Hertz campaign.

Ivan Lanz/Shadow Lion for Hertz

I saw that you were recently at the Fox upfronts talking about this next endeavor of yours [as a broadcaster]. I know you’re somebody who over prepares for every single thing in your life. How are you preparing for this new chapter? Are you studying tapes of other hosts and anchors?

Definitely a lot of studying tape and listening, talking and having different conversations [with people]. Watching the game from a different perspective. I’ve never done this, but I was on vacation this last weekend and my first Super Bowl was on. I was just literally listening to the announcers and watching a game that I had played in to see what they were seeing. It’s such a different way to do it. I used to just always watch the quarterback to see what they were doing. I’d watch the defense to see how they were shifting in the back field. How were they all moving together to see what I could expect. Now, I’m watching to see what the actual people who are calling the game are seeing and what people want to hear.

What did you glean from that experience? What kind of broadcaster do you want to be?

There’s many different approaches to take. It’s kind of a white canvas. There’s a lot to talk about. You can talk about the great throw by the quarterback, the great catch by the receiver, poor coverage by the defensive back, a great call by the offensive coordinator, a bad call by the defense coordinator, the bad call by the official or the good call by the official. Every play is a different chapter to tell, and so it becomes what I can bring to it and what insight can I add to make the story a little bit brighter for the viewer? At the end of the day, the game is the show. I’m there to facilitate the production of this great game that we all get to watch and that I was a part of. I have a lot of unique experiences playing it and preparing for it, and I’ll be able to offer the same thing as a broadcaster.

Tom Brady fist bumps New England Patriots CEO Robert Kraft prior to the Hall of Fame induction ceremony at Gillette Stadium.

China Wong/Getty Images

I know you’ll have a lot of people hanging on your every word. I was in the building a few weeks ago for the Netflix roast, which was a really fun night. Netflix’s Greg Peters said that the roast drove a ton of viewers and even more conversation. You really put roasts on the map for them. I know you’ve said you regret doing it but I can only imagine having your name attached inspired others to want to give it a go. What advice do you have for other notable names who might want to follow in your footsteps?

It’s a hard question. In general — and this isn’t even roast-related — life is short, and we should never take ourselves too seriously. We all should find more ways to laugh, certainly at ourselves. I love when people make fun of me because it means they’re really comfortable with me, and I don’t just like it, I love it. I love it when I feel like I’m in the locker room. I love it when people are comfortable enough to say whatever they want to me. I know that I can trust that person and I know that I can develop a relationship with that person. We’re all so guarded now. We can’t say anything because we’re in fear of pushback. The reality is we just need to be ourselves. One thing I learned about sports is that you don’t always have to agree with everyone. You can disagree but don’t be disagreeable. It’s OK to have conflicting opinions, that’s what makes us all grow.

Brady during The Greatest Roast Of All Time.

Adam Rose/Netflix

Really good advice. One thing that happened during the roast that didn’t get as much attention as the jokes is that you donated to the charities of your Patriots teammates as a thank you for their participation. Can you talk about that decision and how it was decided?

The main point is that we all have opportunities to give back in certain ways. People who do great things for us and the communities that we’re a part of, we want to do great things for them as well. It gives everybody an opportunity to give to different organizations that they see fit. When people come together for me, I want to make sure they can do things for other people as well.

Brady and Mike Tirico at the Hall of Fame induction.

China Wong/Getty Images

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