Like most relationships, Tom Brady’s rapport with head coach Bill Belichick isn’t without its ups and downs. But following the 2017 season, the Patriots quarterback was ready to pull the plug on their nearly two-decade union.
As described in the book “Belichick: The Making of the Greatest Football Coach of All Time,” by ESPN’s Ian O’Connor, Brady long pondered this offseason about his return to New England and the only coach he’s ever known.
“If you’re married 18 years to a grouchy person who gets under your skin and never compliments you, after a while you want to divorce him,” an insider told O’Connor. “Tom knows Bill is the best coach in the league, but he’s had enough of him. If Tom could, I think he would divorce him.”
Though tensions between Brady and Belichick have been mounting over the past year, namely over Brady’s controversial trainer, Alex Guerrero, the 41-year-old quarterback knew walking away would hardly resolve his frustrations, let alone be easy.
“But in the end, even if he wanted to, Brady could not walk away from the game, and he could not ask for a trade,” O’Connor penned. “The moment Belichick moved [Jimmy] Garoppolo to San Francisco, and banked on Brady’s oft-stated desire to play at least into his mid-forties, was the moment Brady was virtually locked into suiting up next season and beyond. Had he retired or requested a trade, he would have risked turning an adoring New England public into an angry mob.”
Brady, who has the Patriots off to a 1-1 start, hasn’t shied away from commenting on Belichick’s coaching style. Earlier this spring, he “plead[ed] the Fifth” when asked about appreciation from New England’s brain trust.
“I think everybody in general wants to be appreciated more in their professional life, but there’s a lot of people that appreciate me way more than I ever thought was possible as part of my life,” Brady said, according to ESPN. “You have different influences in your life and the people I work with, they’re trying to get the best out of me. They’re trying to treat me in the way they feel is going to get the best out of me, and I’ve got to get the best out of myself.”
And while Brady did call Belichick the “best coach in the history of the NFL,” he also said, “He has a management style [with] players, and he would say, ‘Look, I’m not the easiest coach to play for.’ I agree. He’s not the easiest coach to play for.”
Brady’s family worries Belichick may kick the five-time world champion to the curb sooner rather than later. As Brady’s sister Nancy has allegedly said, “Belichick will definitely do to him someday what the Colts did to Peyton [Manning].”
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