Devotees of The Brady Bunch, the popular family sitcom which aired on ABC television in the early 1970s, probably have no difficulties in making some connections between football and that show.
One of the more memorable episodes ("The Subject Was Noses") involved an errant football toss by Peter that hit his sister Marcia in the face, swelling up her nose and ruining her date with the big man on campus. Deacon Jones, a member of the Los Angeles Rams' vaunted "Fearsome Foursome" defensive line, guest-starred as himself in an episode ("The Drummer Boy"), helping to convince Peter that he shouldn't let his football teammates' razzing dissuade him from pursuing his interest in singing with the school's glee club. And legendary New York Jets quarterback Joe Namath did a star turn in an episode of the show ("Mail Order Hero") as well, lured into showing up at the Bradys' house by a bogus letter stating that Bobby was dying.
And football fans certainly have no difficulties in making a connection between that sport and Tom Brady, the New England Patriots quarterback who has led his team to three Super Bowl victories and was on the verge of capping off a perfect season with a fourth NFL championship in 2008 (falling just short when the Patriots lost Super Bowl XLII to the New York Giants). But is there a connection between Tom Brady and The Brady Bunch, other than the similarity in surnames?
Undoubtedly some people have been led into believing there is a connection by a segment from the E! cable channel's True Hollywood Story (THS) series detailing how an 8-year-old Tom Brady was cast as the "mischievous fourth Brady brother" on The Brady Bunch but was later fired and then excised from the show's history:
It was all just a bit of fun, however — this was not a real THS segment, but a spoof aired by ESPN. The dead-on imitative THS style is convincing, though, and straight-faced interview appearances by Barry Williams, Christopher Knight, and Mike Lookinland (the actors who played Greg, Peter, and Bobby Brady, respectively), as well as Tom Brady himself and teammate Drew Bledsoe lend verisimilitude to the joke. The gag's plausibility was likely helped along by casual fans' recalling that the show did briefly feature a fourth boy, the Brady kids' Cousin Oliver, who appeared only in the series' final six episodes.
But we don't really need to know all this to debunk the notion that Tom Brady was ever a Brady Bunch cast member, as one simple fact will suffice: The series was in production from 1969 to 1974, but Tom Brady wasn't born until 1977. Not only couldn't he have been a cast member, but he couldn't even have watched the show during its original network run.