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Football Time

Thank goodness the 2018 NFL season is here.

I’m a huge football fan and am the QB of a team here in Switzerland, the Geneva Warriors. Luckily, football and watches often go hand in hand, combining two of my passions.

There are several brands involved with football and players, including TAG Heuer with Tom Brady, Hublot with the Dallas Cowboys and the New York Giants, and Mido with college football. Some other NFL players get involved with watches organically as they begin to make life-changing money and fall in love with fine timepieces. Here are some watch- and time-related musings from four famous NFL quarterbacks.

Tom Brady, NFL Quarterback, New England Patriots: “The right watch looks and feels good, is functional and the technology and craftsmanship behind it is interesting and something to be appreciated — I like Swiss craftsmanship and a great look. For athletes, many sports plays require timing that literally comes down to a fraction of a second. Part of being a great player is a keen awareness of time, and this is also important beyond the playing field. A professional athlete’s life is so highly scheduled that it practically requires military discipline to keep pace. I wear a watch all the time because I depend on my watch to keep on schedule.”

Last year, TAG Heuer introduced the Tom Brady Special edition Heuer 01 Chronograph. Brady worked closely with TAG Heuer to design his timepiece in shades of blue, red and silver, the colors of the New England Patriots jerseys. Brady made the 12 o’clock hour marker larger to highlight his number (12). Each timepiece has “Tom Brady Special Edition” on the case back as well the limited edition number, along with the TAG Heuer logo and Brady’s signature. Only 466 pieces are being produced, a nod to Brady’s Super Bowl-record 466 yards passing. The special edition piece retails for $5,600.

Kilian Muller, CEO of TAG Heuer North America, (L) and New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady attend TAG Heuer Unveils Tom Brady’s Limited Edition Carrera Watch at Scampo Restuarant at The Liberty Hotel on September 24, 2017 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Paul Marotta/Getty Images for TAG Heuer)
A view of the Carrera Heuer 01 Tom Brady Limited Edition on display during the TAG Heuer Unveils Tom Brady’s Limited Edition Carrera Watch at Scampo Restuarant at The Liberty Hotel on September 24, 2017 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Paul Marotta/Getty Images for TAG Heuer)

Eli Manning, NFL Quarterback, New York Giants: “During that three-hour period when we are playing, time changes and goes to the 60-minute clock and how much time is left on the clock as it counts down each quarter. For that period every game, I am concentrated on how much time is left. My whole concept of time changes.

“As I got more comfortable as a player, time slowed down for me on the field. When I came into the NFL, things were happening so fast and I was thinking so fast. There are a lot more plays, different defenses, and the speed of the game is intensified so much, I was forced to speed up my thinking process. Now that I am more experienced, I am thinking ahead and know exactly what I am doing. That’s when things slow down – but it’s really my mind that has caught up. When the blitz comes, I know exactly what to do.

“I have always worn a watch, even when I was eight years old. If I forget to put one on, I feel like I’m missing something. Every day, it’s part of my routine, wearing a watch – it’s like a part of me now.

“Especially during the football season, everything is on a strict time schedule. Tuesday is our off day, but starting Wednesday, I get up at the same time every day to have meetings. Everything is timed out pretty precisely and that’s the way I like it. It’s comforting for me to know that I have a schedule I have to match, and that keeps me in rhythm.

“I love preparing every week to beat another team. I am watching film and scheming for a new defense. I love seeing a certain look from the defense and knowing what to do, how to call the perfect play and then have it work the way you planned and practiced it. In football, that’s half the battle. You might have the perfect scheme, but you have to execute it. A lot of things have to work exactly how you planned it to get a perfect play, and that’s the fun of it. I have a whole week of practice for one three-hour period and we can see right away if all that hard work pays off.”


Dan Marino, former NFL Quarterback, Miami Dolphins, NFL Hall of Fame: “When you look at successful people, it’s about having a passion and a love for what you do, and that was instilled in me early on when I watched my father, who was a truck driver and worked extra jobs on weekends. You have to have talent, but talent doesn’t always do it, you have to have the hard work.

“To me, I like the look and the style of watches, and I like what I feel comfortable wearing. I like having a watch that other people might not have.

“One of my first watches was a Rolex, which I won for Rookie of the Year. After that, my local Miami retailer got me into watches. I don’t really have a favorite. I am wearing a Franck Muller Master Banker right now, but I have Panerais, IWCs, Audemars Piguets and a bunch of different watches. I love them all.”

Norman Julius “Boomer” Esiason, Former NFL All-Pro QB: “I love the design, style and fashion of watches. The intricacies of a beautifully designed and manufactured timepiece are what make a particular watch appealing. I own many kinds of watches — simple, intricate and of all metals. I have watches in stainless steel, yellow gold, rose gold, white gold and platinum. I enjoy pilot’s watches the most. I tend to gravitate towards automatic movement watches, which is why I own a multiple watch winder.

“The Breitling brand has some of the most unique styles and designs in the watch industry. The watches are of high quality and they really last. My favorite watches right now are the Breitling Chronometer Etanche 100m in Rose Gold (no.257) and the Chronometer Etanche 300m in Black Steel (no.7/3000). I have my eye on my next watch already, the Breitling Avenger Hurricane Military Limited edition. My total collection numbers more than 20 watches, including Breitlings, IWCs, Panerais and the Rolex Datejust that started it all. I wear my collection. There’s a watch for every occasion.

“Watches are definitely still a status symbol of success. Most NFL football players love watches of all types. There’s only one piece of jewelry more coveted by any NFL player and that’s the Super Bowl ring.

“Every year I played brought great memories. Being able to last 14 years in a game where the average career span is only four years allows for those memories. I would say the 1988 season as a whole would be the most memorable. We went to Super Bowl XXIII. Even though we lost that game, it’s the journey that creates the powerful memories that last a lifetime.”


Boomer Breitling Avenger Hurricane Military 03-2
Avenger Hurricane Military

As a long-time Philadelphia Eagles fan, the 2017 season was special, culminating in the franchise’s first Super Bowl win.

My prediction for 2018? A Super Bowl repeat for the Birds.

Go Eagles.

About The Author: Keith Strandberg


Keith W. Strandberg ( has written about timepieces in many different publications for the past 25+ years. One of the few international journalists living in Switzerland, he has written for the trade extensively as well as for mainstream publications like Variety, the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, United Airlines’ Hemispheres, Men’s Vogue, USA Today, Tennis and many more.

Read more from Keith Strandberg

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