We can all rest a little easier. New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady said his relationship with coach Bill Belichick is fine.
An ESPN story last week detailed drama within the Patriots. One part of the story is that Brady has gotten tired of Belichick’s criticism. There were also details about Brady’s trainer Alex Guerrero being stripped of certain privileges by the team. In a weekly interview with Jim Gray on Westwood One radio, Brady denied there’s any issue.
“I have a great relationship with coach Belichick,” Brady said, via the Boston Herald. “We’ve worked together for 18 years. There’s no coach I’d rather play for and I’ve loved my experience here. I certainly couldn’t be the player I am today without playing for such a great coach. I see these as all positive things. . . . That obviously doesn’t sell many newspapers.
“To me, I have such gratitude for my time here. I love my experience. I continue to love my experience. We’ve had a great season so far and hopefully we can write a great chapter, a great ending to this season by going out and playing great in the playoffs.”
Brady has a remarkable way of deflecting controversy with platitudes, and he did so again here. Brady wouldn’t exactly detail any frustration, if he had any, in an interview right before the Patriots play their first playoff game. But even if Brady is miffed a bit privately, it’s likely not that big of a deal.
The ESPN story detailed that Belichick often singles out Brady for criticism in front of the team, because it sends a message that even the Hall-of-Fame quarterback isn’t above it. ESPN wrote that as Brady has gotten older and adapted a more positive power of thinking, that’s often at odds with Belichick’s negative tone. There was the humorous detail of Brady, perhaps the greatest quarterback in league history, being upset that Belichick hadn’t named him “Patriot of the Week” this season. But if you went through NFL locker rooms and got honest answers, you’d find that a player being bothered with at least one of his coaches over criticism is as common as chinstraps. Just because Brady is an international celebrity and wealthy beyond any of his dreams doesn’t mean he likes being yelled at by his boss any more than you. That part seemed like a non-story.
What might have been a little more unique were the details of Brady’s trainer Guerrero having some of his privileges revoked by the team. Guerrero was working with other players, and according to reports before ESPN’s big story, what he told them was often at odds with the Patriots’ philosophies. Guerrero wasn’t allowed on the team plane or sideline anymore and was allowed to only train Brady at the team facility, according to reports. Again, Brady presumably wasn’t thrilled with that news, but it’s really hard to believe he’d let it affect his play or break up the Patriots’ dynasty for it. In the grand scheme of things, this is probably not that big of a deal either … probably.
Brady said he has a great relationship with Belichick. Maybe that’s true, maybe it’s not, but the results don’t lie. They gained the No. 1 seed in the AFC again, an unbelievable eighth straight season they’ve had a No. 1 or 2 seed and a bye. Brady is the favorite to win NFL MVP. The Patriots are the favorites to win a second straight Super Bowl. Whatever Brady and Belichick are doing is working pretty well.
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