Tom Brady spoke about his growth as a player under Bill Belichick with the New England Patriots, and its importance in making him into the player he became, in a new clip from the upcoming ESPN+ documentary series Man in the Arena. You can see the clip below.
If you believe that the Patriots’ unprecedented success from 2001-19 was all about the quarterback, Brady would disagree. He credits Belichick with teaching him how to play winning football, particularly early in his career. And he uses that as a launching pad for his thoughts on other good young QBs: yeah, but what about his coach?
“When I look back at that time, it was a really ‘growth stage’ part of my career,” Brady says in the new clip. “It was a development of myself as a player, but also as a person off the field. And I was soaking up all the information.
“Even today, I look at so many of these young players, and they’re like, ‘What do you think of this guy in his third year, fourth year, and in my mind I’m thinking, ‘OK, he’s talented, but who’s going to teach him how to evolve and grow? Who’s going to assist him in his learning of what football’s all about?”
And that’s when the video cuts to an older clip of Brady with Belichick, teaching him about on-field clock management.
“I had coach Belichick there to teach me,” Brady said. “Every Tuesday, we would meet and go through the entire defensive starting lineup and their strengths and weaknesses, what we could attack, what he was watching and how I could see the things he saw, so I could gain confidence and anticipate.”
Patriots Hall of Famer Rodney Harrison also makes an appearance in the Man in the Arena clip, and distills the Patriots’ dominance into three simple factors: Brady’s brilliance, Belichick’s program, and a collection of team-first talents around them.
“Tom was blessed because he had structure for his career, and that’s what coach Belichick gives you, he gives you structure,” Harrison says. “He gives you expectations, and he knows the game, and he’s gonna surround Tom with … unselfish guys, guys that are willing to put the team first, and that’s how you win.”
Brady’s departure from the Patriots, and the deterioration of the relationship between him and Belichick, has been arguably the biggest story in football over the past several years. But when looking at the totality of the New England dynasty, neither Brady nor Belichick – publicly, anyway – are taking all the credit.
The 10-part Man in the Arena series premieres on ESPN+ in November, according to a recent press release from ESPN. Religion of Sports is co-producing the series, directed by Gotham Chopra.
“I was a Patriots fan before I was a Tom Brady fan,” Chopra said. “I was a Tom Brady fan before I was a Tom Brady collaborator. I was a Tom Brady collaborator before I was a Tom Brady friend. Man in the Arena is me and the team at ROS bringing all those roles together. It’s a celebration of greatness because that’s what Tom’s career has always been about in the Arena. It’s also a recognition that greatness isn’t an individual pursuit.”
The series’ first trailer premiered on May 21, 2020, originally with nine parts. It turned out that Brady added a 10th, after leading the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to a win in Super Bowl LV.
Matt Dolloff is a writer and podcaster for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Yell at him on Twitter @mattdolloff and follow him on Instagram @mattydsays. You can also email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.