Zolak & Bertrand

Zolak & Bertrand

Zolak & Bertrand

In Bill Belichick’s recent visit on ‘The 33rd Team’ podcast, the Patriots’ head coach shared thoughts on his early years with the Patriots. Belichick alludes to the fact that he inherited a less-than-ideal roster in his first season with New England.

On Wednesday’s Zolak & Bertrand radio program, Former Patriot Ted Johnson expressed his frustration with Belichick’s comments. Johnson was an integral piece of the early Patriots dynasty, winning Super Bowls in 2001, 2003 and 2004.

Parts of conversation are abbreviated for clarity.

  • ted

    7 Dec 1997: Linebacker Ted Johnson of the New England Patriots stands in position during a game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Alltell Stadium in Jacksonville, Florida. The Patriots won the game 26-20. Mandatory Credit: Andy Lyons/Allsport

  • Bill Belichick: 

    “You know, 1996 was a big year for me here in New England. I developed a great relationship with Mr. Kraft and other people in the organization. And then the opportunity came in 2000 [to be head coach]. 

     

    “The team was nowhere near the team that we left in ’96. It had declined quite a bit. There were still a few pillars here that we could build with. And by 2003—even though we won in 2001—we knew this was a pretty good football team in all three phases of the game. 

     

    “It took us the same four-year window to build the team that we did in Cleveland. 

     

    “Again, we were fortunate to win in 2001, but I would say by ’03 and ’04, we had one of the better teams in the league.

  • LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - DECEMBER 18: Head coach Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots watches his players warm up before a game against the Las Vegas Raiders at Allegiant Stadium on December 18, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Raiders defeated the Patriots 30-24. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

    LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – DECEMBER 18: Head coach Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots watches his players warm up before a game against the Las Vegas Raiders at Allegiant Stadium on December 18, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Raiders defeated the Patriots 30-24. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

  • Bertrand: I got to say, listening to that again, there’s one part that caught my ear. 

     

    Ted Johnson: Just one part? Oh, my gosh. You could dissect this thing all day. 

     

    Bertrand: He doesn’t give you, Ted, and your teammates that carried over the Patriots enough credit. “Oh, there were a few pillars there.” I mean, he inherited a list of important players. 

     

    Ted Johnson: Can I list them? 

     

    Bertrand: Yes, please do. You’re on the list. I’ll put you on the list, so you don’t have to. 

     

    Ted Johnson: You’re talking about the 2000 team he inherited when he started coaching. The list of players includes:

  • Drew Bledsoe

    drew bledsoe

  • Troy Brown

    DETROIT - NOVEMBER 28: Wide receiver Troy Brown #80 the New England Patriots runs with the ball during the NFL game against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field on November 28, 2002 in Detroit, Michigan. The Patriots won the game 20-12. (Photo by Tom Pidgeon/Getty Images)

    DETROIT – NOVEMBER 28: Wide receiver Troy Brown #80 the New England Patriots runs with the ball during the NFL game against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field on November 28, 2002 in Detroit, Michigan. The Patriots won the game 20-12. (Photo by Tom Pidgeon/Getty Images)

  • Tedy Bruschi

    FOXBORO, MA - JANUARY 16: Tedy Bruschi #54 of the New England Patriots recovers a fumble from the Indianapolis Colts during the AFC divisional playoff game at Gillette Stadium on January 16, 2005 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. The Patriots defeated the Colts 20-3. (Photo By Elsa/Getty Images)

    FOXBORO, MA – JANUARY 16: Tedy Bruschi #54 of the New England Patriots recovers a fumble from the Indianapolis Colts during the AFC divisional playoff game at Gillette Stadium on January 16, 2005 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. The Patriots defeated the Colts 20-3. (Photo By Elsa/Getty Images)

  • Ty Law

    patriots

    13 Sep 1998: Cornerback Ty Law #24 of the New England Patriots in action during a game against the Indianapolis Colts at the Foxboro Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts. The Patriots defeated the Colts 29-6. Mandatory Credit: Ezra O. Shaw /Allsport

  • Willie McGinest

    PITTSBURGH - JANUARY 23: Linebacker Willie McGinest #55 of the New England Patriots celebrates victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC championship game at Heinz Field on January 23, 2005 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The Patriots defeated the Steelers 41-27 to advance to the Super Bowl. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

    PITTSBURGH – JANUARY 23: Linebacker Willie McGinest #55 of the New England Patriots celebrates victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC championship game at Heinz Field on January 23, 2005 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The Patriots defeated the Steelers 41-27 to advance to the Super Bowl. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

  • Lawyer Milloy

    FOXBORO, MA - SEPTEMBER 22: Safety Lawyer Milloy #36 of the New England Patriots calls out a defensive audible during the NFL game against the Kansas City Chiefs on September 22, 2002 at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts. The Patriots won 41-38 in overtime. (Photo by Rick Stewart/Getty Images)

    FOXBORO, MA – SEPTEMBER 22: Safety Lawyer Milloy #36 of the New England Patriots calls out a defensive audible during the NFL game against the Kansas City Chiefs on September 22, 2002 at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts. The Patriots won 41-38 in overtime. (Photo by Rick Stewart/Getty Images)

  • Adam Vinatieri

    Adam Vinatieri

    3 Feb 2002: Adam Vinatieri of the New England Patriots celebrates winning Super Bowl XXXVI 20-17 against the St. Louis Rams at the Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana.

  • Ted Johnson: … And thank you, Beetle, for including me. I guess there are a few pillars there! 

     

    Hardy: Not a bad start. I mean, quite a ragtag group. 

     

    Ted Johnson: It amazes me that he would devalue or discredit the 2001 Super Bowl team. I know we were 14-point underdogs, but it’s weird. I would think he would be more proud of that Super Bowl than any of them. I take issue with these comments. 

  • Full Segment

  • Ryan Beaton is a producer for 985thesportshub.com. You can follow Ryan at @ry_beaton on Twitter.

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