Jon Gruden used a surprising word last night on Monday Night Football to describe Tom Brady, New England’s quarterback and Massachusetts’ resident Benjamin Button. The word Gruden chose was “pliable,” and the internet had a field day. People — including actor Rob Lowe, for some reason — decided that Gruden didn’t know what the word meant. They assumed he was just being a Silly Announcer Guy tossing around a pretend football and also the wrong adjective on national television.
But I think Gruden meant exactly what he said, and I’m going to tell you why.
First, watch this clip:
Here’s the full transcript if you don’t want to:
“I love this hat,” says Gruden, wearing a TB12 hat. “I bought the enzymes, I bought the protein powder, I signed up for two lessons, this guy is pliable, this guy is on a mission, man.”
“The pliability, I think, is the key though,” says a slightly confused-looking Sean McDonough.
Gruden crouches and does football moves.
“Pliable!” he says.
“He is the ultimate competitor, and that’s just what he needed, a little more money,” McDonough says. “So you’ve done nice to help Tom and Gisele tonight, I’m sure they’ll appreciate that as they head back to their nice but not overly ostentatious home in the Boston area. You’re pliable!”
“This was the most fun I’ve ever had tonight,” Gruden says.
OK, so, first of all, Tom and Gisele’s house is definitely ostentatious. But that’s not the point. The point here is that Gruden is all-in on Tom Brady’s company TB12 and the TB12 way of life, a philosophy largely based on that of Brady’s trainer and friend Alex Guerrero, whom Boston Magazine once referred to as a “glorified snake-oil salesman.” Gruden told us last night that he bought the weird enzymes and powders, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he even bought the snacks, or the absurd $200 “Nutrition Manual” (which is a pretentious name for a cookbook) that includes recipes for things that might as well be called Air Doughnuts and Ice Cube Ravioli.
Given that Gruden is a self-described TB12 disciple, it would make sense he’d know that, if you’re Tom Brady, the most important thing is keeping your muscles long and soft. Last week on WEEI — a Boston sports radio station — I heard Brady go on, like, a ten minute explanation of how important it is that he keep his muscles long, soft, bendy and flexible.
Look, I even tweeted about it:
On WEEI this morning Tom Brady said he has to keep his muscles long and soft.— Charlotte Wilder (@TheWilderThings) December 5, 2016
What is the definition of pliable? According to Google, it’s this: “Flexible, pliant, bendable, elastic, supple, malleable, workable, plastic, springy, ductile; informal: bendy.”
The definition was even posted on the screen behind Gruden as he talked about it! Pair that with the fact that Gruden seems to be way into the TB12 way of life, and the signs start to suggest that maybe, just maybe, Gruden knew EXACTLY what he was saying.
Thank you for coming along on this wildly important and very serious investigation.