Why We’re Fascinated with Tom Brady’s Potty Mouth

#12's foul language makes headlines.

You know that kid in your son’s class, the little psychopath who teaches him all that dirty language? Well, his name is Tom Brady, and he moonlights as a quarterback for the New England Patriots.

A small, recent example: At a press conference this week, Brady told reporters, “Sometimes I’m in a good mood. Sometimes I’m in a shitty mood—bad mood. Sorry.” This little slip is making actual headlines. It’s been GIF’ed and Vined and Instagrammed. Why?

It is well-documented at this point that #12 has a potty mouth. And the fact that Tom Brady swears like a sailor/like most humans over the age of 12 has been a hot topic this season in particular. Cameras love cutting to him in moments of frustration, moments when he tends to very clearly enunciate the F-word. Three people complained to the FCC about it. A Globe editorial called him “the New England Patriots poor sport of the week.”

Are NFL audiences really that Puritan? Katy Perry is about to take the stage at the Super Bowl Halftime Show, probably so that she can shoot whipped cream from her breasts directly into the eyes of a Taylor Swift voodoo doll as she shrieks “I want to see your peacock!” Who really cares what Tom Brady says in the heat of the moment?

Perhaps it’s that Tom Brady’s public persona is so full of homespun Midwestern Wonder Bread goodness that we mostly think of him drinking apple juice, chopping wood, and using words like “dagnabbit,” to express frustration. This is, of course, caricature. There’s a fascination to Tom Brady using bad words because it gives us a hint that he’s actually a regular human. Brady’s so clean-cut and innocent, his use of swears makes the words seem taboo again, like he’s secretly apologizing to his first grade teacher’s memory as he speaks them aloud.



And you know who doesn’t really care about Tom Brady’s language, or the complaints over them? Tom Brady, who told the Dennis and Callahan show last month:

“I wish I did have a better mouth out there at times, but there’s nothing that quite expresses the way I feel like that word … It is, it is [a great word], especially in the heat of the moment … Blame CBS and NBC for putting it on TV. Don’t blame me.”

That doesn’t sound very contrite, does it?