Throughout Tom Brady’s tenure with the Patriots, it was well known that Bill Belichick would be very critical of Brady and rip him during film sessions. Now we finally know why that was the case.
In today’s episode of Brady’s Let’s Go! podcast, the two NFL legends explained why this was the case and how the two created and sustained the greatest partnership in NFL history. It was clear that if Belichick was going to demand greatness from all 53 players on the roster, he would have to do the same with Brady. This was something Brady not only tolerated but something he fully embraced.
That was as much a part of Tom as it was a part of me. There were a couple of meetings where I would say something to Tom after the meeting, ‘Hey, I didn’t really think that was that bad, but I just wanted to include you with everybody else. Tom would say, ‘Coach, you have to. If you don’t yell at me, then what am I gonna do with all the rest of my teammates? I’ve got to be there with all the rest of them and say, ‘Hey, he’s yelling at all of us, and we’ve all got to do better. But if you leave me out of it, then I don’t really have a platform to work from. So go ahead, rip my ass, too.Bill Belichick on the Let’s Go! podcast.
The lack of preferential treatment from Belichick had a great impact on the rest of the team, it was a real tone-setter.
I got the green light on that, and I went ahead and took it. Players always come back to me and say, ‘Hey, the first meeting, Belichick got on Brady. I’m like, Christ, if he’s going to talk to Brady like that, I better be straight. I know what’s going to happen to me. Tom’s acceptance of that, and also then his ability to lead his teammates by putting himself in the same boat with everybody else like, ‘We’ve all got to do a better job. He’s after me, just like he’s after everybody else. Let’s go.’ That’s a tremendous platform to lead from, and Tom recognized that. Yeah, was he our best player? Did he make the fewest mistakes out there and all of that? Yeah, but everybody can do better, every coach, every player, no matter how great they are. If you’re really looking to strive for perfection, then we all want that. I want to be a better coach, Tom wants to be a better player, and so does everybody else.Bill Belichick on the Let’s Go! podcast.
This information provides a new perspective on how the Patriots functioned. It involved two people who were obsessed with getting better and welcomed criticism. Toward the end of Brady’s time with the Patriots, it was reported that Belichick’s style was losing its luster with the quarterback. Brady did acknowledge their disagreements, but productivity was always found in the struggle and they respected each other.
He and I always had a great relationship. We met all of the time. Did we always see everything exactly the same way? Who does in life? What close relationship can you have where everything goes like a bright sunny day? There were moments, it was never intolerable, but it was always just, I would say healthy debates about certain things. We always talked it face-to-face. If there’s one thing I appreciate about Coach Belichick in life is, he’s not afraid to have a hard conversation, too. We didn’t always agree, but we always respected each other.Tom Brady on the Let’s Go! podcast.
Belichick’s approach to coaching Brady was heavily inspired by Bobby Knight and how he ripped Michael Jordan during the Olympics. It’s hard to argue with success, Knight coached the U.S. Men’s Basketball team to a gold medal in 1984 and the Brady and Belichick duo won six Super Bowls together.