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Amidst Tom Brady Retirement Rumors, Editor Alex Trudeau Viriato Shares Why It’s Great The Quarterback’s ESPN+ Documentary Is Coming Now

Tom Brady in Man In The Arena
(Image credit: ESPN+)

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ season is over, and with their postseason exit comes a question of what’s next for Tom Brady. Recent rumors speculate that the former New England Patriots quarterback and seven-time Super Bowl champion may retire. There’s even chatter that his ESPN+ documentary Man in the Arena is withholding its final episode perhaps to shed some light on his future. Amidst all this speculation, CinemaBlend spoke to the doc’s editor and co-producer, Alex Trudeau Viriato, about why it’s great this documentary is happening now. 

I spoke to Alex Trudeau Viriato ahead of Tom Brady’s postseason exit, and simply wanted to know: why make Man in the Arena now, and not years down the road after his retirement, like Michael Jordan’s The Last Dance (despite any objections Scottie Pippen may have)? Viriato admitted he doesn’t know the exact reasoning for others involved but shared his own perspective on what makes doing Tom Brady's Man in the Arena now so special:

I guess I don’t have the exact answer from his perspective or the teams’ perspective. When they approached me to do it, there was no discussion of why do it now, and not in five years. But then, as we did it, it did become a unique point of view and perspective for us. Some [episodes] are reflective, and some are immediate reactions. And I feel like you have different answers and different feelings. I feel like some of them you fantasize about them because it happened so long ago. But, if you have a bad season and a bad taste still in your mouth, those experiences are still fresh.

Man in the Arena (which has a trailer you can watch here) chronicles each of Tom Brady’s trips to the Super Bowl, regardless of whether he won or lost. That means there’s a healthy mix of content dating back to his first Super Bowl appearance in 2002 to his most recent in 2021. 

Given the length of Tom Brady’s career and frequency of Super Bowl appearances, Man in the Arena is firmly rooted in the past and present. Alex Trudeau Viriato talked about how while it might be nice to do a retrospective on some of the more current wins, there is plenty of value in doing these interviews while his latest wins are still recent.

In eighteen years, he could perhaps romanticize about it a little more and have certain memories... as we move through the seasons, everything becomes fresher and to the point now where we do Episode 10, and it’ll be right on the tip of his brain. He’ll have everything remembered and be able to talk about all of that stuff. I found that to actually be a unique perspective instead of everything being a distant memory like so many docs.

Man in the Arena will run for ten episodes, but only nine are available on ESPN+. The tenth is delayed with no official release date at this time but will feature Tom Brady’s seventh Super Bowl win in 2021

There’s been speculation that Tom Brady may announce his return or retirement in the tenth episode of Man in the Arena, and while that could happen, it’s worth noting that the episode’s delay could be tied to another reason. During the interview, Alex Trudeau Viriato revealed that the documentary was cut ahead of the 2021 Super Bowl, which could also explain the gap between episodes. 

We didn’t even know there was going to be a tenth [episode]. We didn’t know he was going to go to Tampa and win again. That was not, obviously, nobody [on the team] planned that. That just became how it was.

Alex Trudeau Viriato confirmed, however, that a contingency plan was in place when Tom Brady made another episode and that the tenth episode is coming. Hilariously enough, Viriato didn’t know at the time if an eleventh episode would happen should the Buccaneers make the Super Bowl again, but that’s a reality we no longer have to entertain (similar to news of a Tom Brady biopic) following their loss to the Los Angeles Rams. Hopefully, this tenth episode will serve as a consolation to some Brady fans with broken hearts and clarify Brady’s future in the NFL.

Man in the Arena is available to stream on ESPN+. It’s a great watch even for fans who might frequently tweet mean things about the NFL quarterback, and of course, absolute gold for any fans. 

Mick Joest
Mick Joest

Mick likes good television, but also reality television. He grew up on Star Wars, DC, Marvel, and pro wrestling and loves to discuss and dissect most of it. He’s been writing online for over a decade and never dreamed he’d be in the position he is today.