By Tony Massarotti, 98.5 The Sports Hub
“The Last Dance” has been getting an absurd amount of hype, but so be it. Under the circumstances, we’ll take whatever we can get, and the truth is that we could do a hell of a lot worse than Michael Jordan.
And yet, as I began watching ESPN’s 10-part documentary on the final days, weeks and months of Jordan and the Chicago Bulls, here’s what I couldn’t help but think of:
Tom Brady, Bill Belichick and the Patriots.
Apples to apples? Not exactly – and for obvious reasons. The Bulls won six titles in eight years before it all came apart, and Patriots fans will be quick to point out that the Patriots dynasty under Brady lasted 19. But the end felt similar in Chicago and in New England, where the star player (Jordan/Brady) tussled with the general manager (Jerry Krause/Bill Belichick) over respect and power, though in the latter case the GM was also the coach.
Don’t misunderstand. Krause the GM and Belichick the coach/GM aren’t in the same class. But that’s not the point. The point is that the dynamic was at least similar, even if only in a relatively loose manner.
The biggest difference? The Bulls ultimately won.
Yet, listening to Jordan argue for his own cause as the Bulls faced a rebuild, one couldn’t help but think of Brady. Jordan’s frustration at the prospect of an organizational overhaul was apparent from the very beginning as he argued that the Bulls had “the right” to remain together so long as they continued to win, then pointing out that the Chicago Cubs had been rebuilding “for 42 years.” Krause wanted to move on the way Belichick undoubtedly did, and Jordan – like Brady – resented it.
Look, the comparison between Jordan and Brady is hardly new. They both have the same number of championships (six). Jordan certainly had more charisma outside of the arena, but both were (and, in Brady’s case, are) intense competitors. Yet, watching Jordan in the early stages of that season, one couldn’t help but feel the frustration that Brady undoubtedly possessed with youngsters like N’Keal Harry and Jakobi Myers, among others, let alone with the man who oversaw the entire operation, plug in hand.
Oh, you probably find yourself thinking, that’s what Brady must have felt.
In any case, Jordan is always worth watching – as is Brady. And if the two are as similar (in at least some ways) as we all think, well, there might be another reason to watch every step of “The Last Dance.”
It might give us further insight into Brady, Belichick and the last chance they had together in Foxboro.
You can hear Tony Massarotti weekdays from 2-6 p.m. EST on the Felger & Massarotti program. Follow him on Twitter @TonyMassarotti.