When you're the greatest player of all time, football isn't just a passion. It's an obsession.
That's certainly the case with Tom Brady, who's obsessed with not only the sport itself but with the ball he handles on every play.
The 43-year-old quarterback is ridiculously particular about the footballs he uses to the point where he spends days preparing up to 24 game balls prior to every contest.
And it appears he brought his incredible ritual from the New England Patriots to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Here's Bucs quarterbacks coach Clyde Christensen recalling his first meeting with Brady in Tampa last spring, via Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times:
"I watched him take our equipment guy through the process," Christensen told Stroud. "He said, ‘Here’s how we prepare the footballs. Here’s the brushes we use. Here’s the brush we use if it’s going to be warm. Here’s the brush we use if it’s going to be cold. Here’s the fluids that work good in humidity. Here’s one I found on Amazon that for some reason makes the ball real nice and tacky.’ He had this whole laboratory where he works on the footballs."
According to Stroud, Brady's football "laboratory" in is in the garage of his Davis Islands mansion in Tampa. It includes a drying rack that Brady bought on Amazon and "several different brushes and various mixtures of leather cleaners and conditioners" that Brady uses to get his footballs just right.
The 21-year veteran even factors weather into the equation after two decades of harsh New England winters.
"In New England, I’d set these out in the snow and see how they react," Brady told Christensen, per Stroud. "Coming to Tampa, I have to set these out in the humidity and see how they do in the rain."
There are plenty of Deflategate jokes to be made here, and Brady's detractors could point to his elaborate routine as evidence that he may have taken the air of out of a few footballs up in Foxboro.
But the NFL does allow teams to remove the waxy gloss from new game balls -- and it appears Brady is taking full advantage.
Between his meticulous game ball preparation and having the house to himself over the last two weeks, it sounds like Brady is locked in for Sunday's Super Bowl LV matchup with the Kansas City Chiefs at Raymond James Stadium.