The latest book by Dave Wedge—in collaboration with fellow journalist Casey Sherman—covers territory in which the authors have been deeply embedded for a lifetime: Boston and sports. “12” tells the story of New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady from “Deflategate” (the scandal that could have destroyed him) to Super Bowl LI (the game that confirmed his resplendent GOATness). Any sports fan in town will tell you with pride, and no lack of local bias, that Brady is, for sure, the Greatest Of All Time—but this book goes deeper into his evolving legend than ever before. What emerges is an incredible tale that cracks open the pressure cooker of pro football both on and off the field, and Hollywood has taken an interest. “12” is set to follow the same authors’ Boston Marathon bombing account “Boston Strong”—filmed as “Patriots Day” with Mark Wahlberg—to the big screen. Here, Wedge chats with us about Brady, Boston sports culture and why he wouldn’t trade his favorite oyster bar for the world.
As a lifelong Bostonian and a sports fan, do you have any favorite haunts?
The Union Oyster House. It’s just a great atmosphere in there. They have some of the best oysters in town. You walk around that place it’s like a museum: I love going there before a Celtics game.
Where do the Patriots sit in Boston’s intense culture of sport?
Boston is a great sports town. The Red Sox and the Bruins and the Celtics all took their turn owning this town for years, decades, eras. Right now the Patriots own this town. Everyone’s been riveted by this saga since Brady walked through the doors in 2000. It’s really been non-stop ever since. Certainly nothing in football compares. It’s ridiculous.
What, in a nutshell, was “Deflategate?”
Footballs that were supposedly underinflated [by the New England Patriots] were used in the first half of the Colts AFC Championship game in the 2014/2015 season. The balls were changed out at halftime and the Patriots went out and torched the Colts 28-0 in the second half. It became a federal court case and the biggest sports scandal that we’ve seen in the past 20-30 years.
What was the upshot?
Brady served a four-game suspension. He could have avoided it if he’d paid a fine, but he didn’t want to do that. I think that ultimately history will show that some footballs were underinflated, and it’s unclear whether or not Tom Brady personally took part in that. The fact of the matter is that Tom Brady has pretty much been a model player for his entire career, he’s been the face of the league, and he’s been a good union guy with the NFL Players Association. And for him to be treated that way, for such a minor violation, is pretty inexcusable in my personal opinion.
Can you recommend any other spots around town?
I’m enjoying Fort Point these days. Get involved in the waterfront, find somewhere to sit down, have a glass of wine or a nice meal. If you have kids, the Children’s Museum is amazing. We’re lucky here in Boston: it’s a waterfront city. There’s a lot of fun things going on: They have boats that leave out of Rowes Wharf and you can rent kayaks in the Seaport down by The Barking Crab. Also, I’ve gotta give a shout out to J.J. Foley’s in the South End on East Berkeley Street. That’s a Boston institution. It’s the oldest consistently family-owned bar in America I believe. It’s been there for 100 years. There’s all sorts of political memorabilia in there. Foley’s is a classic.