Tom Brady left the New England Patriots this offseason, but his departure nearly happened two years sooner.
With Tom Brady leaving the New England Patriots to sign with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this offseason, the ultimate chicken-or-the-egg experiment is coming. Who deserves the most credit for the Patriots’ dynasty? Brady, or Bill Belichick?
The possibility of a strained relationship between Brady and Belichick is no big secret, as Brady got older and Belichick had his eye on the future. Things seemed to shown signs of deterioration in 2017, when Belichick suddenly banned Brady’s personal trainer and TB12 business partner Alex Guerrero from the sideline and team plane in the middle of the season.
Then came a disappointing loss to the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl 52, as Nick Foles ripped apart Belichick’s defense on his way to Super Bowl MVP. Brady’s 505 passing yards were a forgotten footnote.
A new book coming out this week, “The Dynasty” by Jeff Benedict, sheds light on how close Brady came to leaving the Patriots after the Super Bowl loss to the Eagles. Owner Robert Kraft had obvious concerns, and brought Brady and Belichick to his his house for a meeting.
Via Yahoo! Sports:
Kraft’s paramount concern (after the Super Bowl) was the dynamic between Beichick and Brady. Belichick’s decision to banish (Brady’s body coach and TB12 business partner, Alex) Guerrero from the sideline and the team plane in the middle of the 2017 season had been a tipping point. Kraft knew that Belichick’s methods were grinding on Brady. He also knew that Belichick was tired of the exceptions that Kraft felt were necessary to accommodate a transcendent star. The differences of opinion between Brady and Belichick were more pronounced than ever. Kraft wanted to clear the air.
Later, Kraft had Brady and his wife Gisele Bundchen to his house for a discussion. Bundchen, naturally, was firmly in her husband’s corner.
“She also pointed out how ridiculous it was that after all these years, Belichick still treated Brady like “f****** Johnny Foxboro.”
Brady seemed to always be motivated by fear Belichick would move on from him, rooted in the mentality that drove him to greatness after being a sixth-round pick. He would of course stay in New England, and win one more Super Bowl there after the 2018 season. But in the moment after a tough loss, if he had had his way, Brady may have been elsewhere two years earlier than he ultimately was.