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.
The Last Dance was a huge hit for ESPN, averaging 5.65 million same-day viewers over its 10 episodes (and significantly more via delayed and digital viewing). All 10 installments drew larger audiences than the previous most-watched ESPN documentary, 2012’s You Don’t Know Bo.
Man in the Arena is the second collaboration between Brady and Chopra’s Religion of Sports announced this week. Brady will also be the subject of an episode of Greatness Code, a shortform series from Chopra focused on athletes that will run on Apple TV+.
Deadline first reported the news. Brady on Thursday released a trailer for the series on Twitter; watch it below.
I have quoted Theodore Roosevelt’s “Man in the Arena” speech since I saw it painted on our weight room wall at UM in 1995. It’s a constant reminder to ignore the noise, buckle my chinstrap, and battle through whatever comes my way.
— Tom Brady (@TomBrady) May 21, 2020