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If you’re a football fan, Tom Brady’s resume speaks for itself. During his time on the gridiron, the quarterback has managed to fight off Father Time and keep playing football well into his 40s. While it’s unlikely that there’s one magic bullet, his infamous diet probably plays a role in that success.

Although you’ve surely heard the jokes about Tom Brady refusing to eat strawberries and clinging to other guidelines, that’s not the entirety of the story. According to TB12 himself, his diet isn’t as tightly regimented as you might think.

Tom Brady is still winning the race against Father Time

Whether you’re a professional athlete or not, time waits for no man. Tom Brady, however, seems to be an exception to the rule.

While, at this point, Brady’s resume needs no introduction, it’s still worth considering just how much the quarterback has accomplished over the years.

TB12 entered the NFL as a sixth-round pick in the 1999 NFL draft and wasn’t exactly tapped for stardom; Drew Bledsoe, for example, thought the quarterback would never be more than a journeyman backup. Fate, however, had other plans.

When Bledsoe went down injured in the early days of the 2001 campaign, Brady took over the Patriots’ offense; he, of course, never gave up the reigns. Almost 20 years and more than 300 starts later, the quarterback has six Super Bowl wins, three NFL MVP awards, and virtually every honor imaginable to his name.

In August 2020, Brady turned 43 years-old. While that’s a pretty advanced age for a pro athlete, he still threw for 4,633 yards and 40 touchdowns with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, making it back to the Super Bowl in the process. If nothing else, he certainly didn’t look like someone ready to retire.

A famous—or infamous— TB12 diet

Due to his incredible success, Tom Brady isn’t too popular among NFL at large. That makes him the target of plenty of digs and insults about random personal details like his diet.

Over the years, Brady’s diet has become a bit of a meme among football fans. While there are plenty of details, like starting the day with a smoothie, drinking plenty of water, or sticking to a strict eating schedule, other quirks have caught the eye of the Internet.

Chief among them, Brady refuses to eat strawberries. That’s not due to health concerns, though; the quarterback simply doesn’t like them. That disdain apparently traces back to an unpleasant memory of opening the refrigerator to be confronted by the smell of berries.

Tom Brady’s diet might be less strict than you think

While it’s more related to personal preference than anything else, refusing to eat strawberries has become Internet shorthand for Tom Brady following an incredibly strict diet. In reality, though, the quarterback may be more relaxed about his meals than you’d initially think.

According to Men’s Health, Brady has no problem slipping in a cheat meal now and then. His one credo, however, is to ensure that those treats are at least worth eating.

“If I’m craving bacon, I have a piece. Same with pizza. You should never restrict what you really want. We’re humans, here for one life,” he explained. “What’s changed as I’ve gotten older is now if I want pizza, I want the best pizza. I don’t eat a slice that tastes like s— and then wonder, ‘Why am I eating s— pizza?”

Even if you don’t care for Tom Brady, that’s something we can all agree on: there’s too little time to ever eat bad pizza.

Stats courtesy of Pro-Football-Reference