TOM BRADY doesn't have a Tom Brady Room in his Back Bay apartment. It's more of a Tom Brady Passage, wider than a hallway but thinner than a room, an "awkward space," he says as he enters it on a March morning. The shelves are packed with photos and trophies, mementos and tokens, all surrounding a flat-screen TV, and when you first walk in, you think, That's it? Brady could easily fill a room many times this size.
But there's a purpose in here, as subtle as its modesty, and to understand it, you have to understand this about Brady: When he wants something to be a reflection of himself, he labors over it. For instance, in high school, college and even in the NFL, Brady always washed his own car. Nobody could do it better. Nobody sweated every detail the way he did. And now, because he no longer washes his car -- "My wife would kill me for wasting water," he says -- spaces like this represent a part of him. In fact, Brady seems to have designed this passage for those who spend the most time in it, hoping they'll someday understand and appreciate everything that occurred in between the Michigan helmet on one side and the Patriots helmet on the other.
"The kids," he says.