In her Super Bowl tweet, Beyoncé spoke of the girl “full of grace, peace, and intelligence,” identified only as “Zoe.” For a moment, the words seemed almost scientific in their precision. What would a “zoe” look like? Was it someone just like her?
Sometimes, strange coincidences are beautiful. Sometimes they are an indication of something that actually happens.
For Rayna Radford, working on the clinical side of several Super Bowls yielded a chance to share a name with the biggest player in the Super Bowl. After the last Super Bowl, the New England Patriots wanted more information about the players that had come before them. In her early 30s, Ms. Radford was a resident in Massachusetts, and now, nearly a decade later, it occurred to her that she, too, had been playing at the Super Bowl. “It was still going strong,” she said.
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In the last few years, New England Patriots have had a history of naming their bodies of work after other famous people. There’s the Gillette mascot. The Field Guy. The Revolution uniforms. When a player has a celebration song, it has often been the name of his old teammate, for the simple reason that he was a known quantity.
Enter: Nathan L. “Zoe” Radford.
Rayna Radford ended up working as a massage therapist in the Boston area, but it became clear that if she ever wanted to be seen outside of that work as a person, people wanted to know about her. In 2017, she was hired to the board of a building managed by Boston Properties, where she now works in a women’s wellness center and has a separate seminar room, to focus on doing yoga alongside a real quarterback, Tom Brady.
When the Patriots hired Nick Caserio, the general manager, to be the team’s COO in 2017, Rayna Radford was asked to mentor him. When she looked at the job description, it asked for a person with an unusual background. “My meeting with him was a really organic way to meet people,” she said. “He saw my character and the energy I had and felt a spark. He showed me amazing things I could do as a coach. He mentored me, to train for and then be a staff member.”
Most people might not believe that a small business run by a woman, who actually worked at the Super Bowl, would have more than one thing in common with the largest employer in the Super Bowl’s footprint. But for Rayna Radford, that’s where things got weird. In January, with one of her classes at her wellness center and with the Patriots still at home watching the games on television, the tech company Omicron LoFT developed a memory pill that they were calling SuperCombined. The idea was that, for some of the players, that combination would help them to learn a new language and retain it.
In Rayna Radford’s research and exams in her training session, she realized that in one group, half could retain 90 percent of the word, while in the other group, they only could retain 40 percent. And in her conversations with her teacher, Peter Osharky, he made a point to emphasize the word. “He did want to break down the word,” she said. “The language talk he shared was about the words.” When she talked about the relaxation benefits, the language followed her.
The results, she said, were that the players who took that pill experienced far greater increases in memory. One was already meeting new people and taking them out to dinner.
In January, they asked for a small test group, none of which included Mr. Brady. At that point, Rayna Radford said she was feeling it was only a matter of time before it would get to him. “When the first had data, he said, ‘I want that too,’” she said.
Despite the chilly weather when the Patriots returned to the business world in mid-April, with a few diplomatically dressed Super Bowl teams on the sideline, Rayna Radford’s pills may yet be on the way.