New England Patriots

To promote his book “It’s Better to Be Feared: The New England Patriots Dynasty and the Pursuit of Greatness’ being available now in paperback, author Seth Wickersham joined Zolak and Bertrand for some renewed perspective of the divorce between Brady and Belichick. Check out below for some of the highlights.

  • Where does the Belichick-Brady relationship stand today?

    ATLANTA, GA - FEBRUARY 03: Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots talks to head coach Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots after the Patriots defeat the Rams 13-3 during Super Bowl LIII at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on February 3, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

    ATLANTA, GA – FEBRUARY 03: Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots talks to head coach Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots after the Patriots defeat the Rams 13-3 during Super Bowl LIII at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on February 3, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

     

    “I think there’s a lot of love between Brady and Bill. I’m not sure there’s always been light, but I do think that they came out of the meeting feeling like a relationship that spanned as long as there did and was as complicated and successful and scrutinized, the problems are not going to get fixed in a 20 minute meeting, but they’re almost like a divorced couple that agrees for the sake of everybody to be civil, even if they have no intention of getting remarried. And I think that that’s that was how it was put to me. And I think that that probably fits with some of the things that you’re seeing. I think that the affection there on Belichick’s side has always been you know, I think since Brady left, obviously, I think that the bill has always held him in high regard. The day that he left, he called him the greatest quarterback ever. But I do think that there was some rawness on the Brady side that just the past couple of years in New England just weren’t as rewarding as they should have been. And obviously, they opened the door for him to leave and he walked right out.”

     

  • What has happened to Tom Brady?

    ARLINGTON, TEXAS - SEPTEMBER 11: Tom Brady #12 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers looks on before the game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium on September 11, 2022 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images)

    ARLINGTON, TEXAS – SEPTEMBER 11: Tom Brady #12 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers looks on before the game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium on September 11, 2022 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images)

     

    “For two decades, he lived his life in a public eye, and he was about as undramatic as it gets. I mean, this guy was a model in terms of consistency and low drama. And I just feel like that 2022, but maybe going back to the end of ’21 where he was starting to just get exhausted and feeling like that the Bruce Arians Bucs weren’t as buttoned up as they need to be going into the playoffs, losing a playoff game the way that they did, isolating Cooper Kupp on the safety. And then Jeff Darlington and Adam Schefter report that he’s going to retire. He denies that. A day later, he he retires. A week after that, he’s talking about retiring. A month after that, he decides to retire and says after a month, you know, he says after a month with my family, I’ve learned that my place is on the field. And then obviously the transition to the season has just been weird. I don’t know if it matters much that he missed 11 days of training camp. And now we’re at a point where none of us like to talk about it. But his marriage is being reported on in, you know, CNN People, The New York Post almost on a daily basis with sources close to Tom and sources close to the two Gisele almost like leaking against each other. I mean, this is a this is a does not look like a great situation for him this year. And you’re right, he doesn’t look like he’s having as much fun as he usually does.”

     

  • Has he faced any backlash for the book?

    Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots talks with Patriots owner Robert Kraft before the game against the Philadelphia Eagles the game at Gillette Stadium on December 6, 2015 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

    Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots talks with Patriots owner Robert Kraft before the game against the Philadelphia Eagles the game at Gillette Stadium on December 6, 2015 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

     

    “No, it’s been great. The fun thing about doing this was just that, I had gotten to know Tom back when we were both 24, 25 years old. I’ve been to his house, I’ve been to Super Bowl parties. I had written about him a lot. Especially in the 2009, ’10, ’11 part of the dynasty, I was working on a lot of stories with ESPN that Belichick was eager to cooperate in. And I had a lot of great conversations with him, often late at night. And when I did the book, you know, when I put it together, obviously I’d done some investigative pieces that a lot of the principals didn’t enjoy. But when I put it together, I felt like I knew who I could talk to around the league, with the team, outside the team to learn more. And I felt good about it. And, you know, I’ve gotten some terrific behind the scenes feedback. There was one guy who was high up in the Patriots who reached out to me and said that I nailed it. I was really shocked because he wasn’t someone who participated in the book, but it was it was really gratifying to hear.”

  • Will the Patriots ever be feared again?

    HOUSTON, TX - FEBRUARY 05: Head coach Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots celebrates after defeating the Atlanta Falcons during Super Bowl 51 at NRG Stadium on February 5, 2017 in Houston, Texas. The Patriots defeated the Falcons 34-28. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

    HOUSTON, TX – FEBRUARY 05: Head coach Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots celebrates after defeating the Atlanta Falcons during Super Bowl 51 at NRG Stadium on February 5, 2017 in Houston, Texas. The Patriots defeated the Falcons 34-28. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

     

    I think that when Brady was with New England, there was a certainty that there was like an inevitability that whenever Brady and Belichick were on the sideline together, they would figure out a way to win. And whether you loved them or hated them, whatever it was, it was beautiful to watch because I don’t think ever in NFL history we had seen too forces like that where Brady would make just enough throws to pull it out and Belichick would pull out this great third down or fourth down stop, and that would be just enough. And when Brady left, he took a lot of that magic with him to Tampa. I don’t think this is a shock to anybody, but it’s really hard to find that again. And while Mac Jones has definitely proven himself to be a competent quarterback, I don’t know if competence cuts it in the AFC right now where you have, you know, it’s almost overpopulated with great young quarterbacks. They need him to continue getting better. And I think he played one of his better games actually last week despite the turnovers and the injury. But they need him to continue improving. I, for one, think that Belichick’s ability as a developer of quarterbacks, he has more than proven himself able to do that. But with this kind of funky setup they’ve got on offense this year, what they need is for Mac to continue to get better so that when they get back to the playoffs he has that that ability to strike fear into the defense and, they can go up against some of these really heavy hitters in the AFC and beat them.”

  • Listen to the full interview!

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