For all the other issues percolating under the surface of this morning’s story by Seth Wickersham of ESPN, the clear sense that emerges is that while the professional relationship between Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and coach Bill Belichick is good in that it is mutually beneficial, the personal relationship is either damaged or absent altogether.
Belichick being a demanding taskmaster is not news. He has long espoused a team-first/individual-last way of thinking, but Brady has apparently become more of a target of late.
Specific mention was made of Belichick lighting into Brady after a sloppy (18-of-38, two interception) performance against the Texans “in a way nobody had ever seen, ripping Brady for carelessness with the ball.”
“This will get us beat,” Belichick reportedly said, in front of the entire team. “We were lucky to get away with a win.”
But Brady has always been able to withstand the criticism, knowing that it comes as part of working with Belichick. Apparently that has changed as he’s aged. Citing Brady’s new reliance on “positive thinking,” it seems he has simply gotten tired of “Belichick’s negativity and cynicism.”
In a system where no player is bigger than the team, that even includes the star quarterback. But Brady has reportedly griped about the approach, and mentioned to others that he hasn’t won Belichick’s “Patriot of the Week” award all year.
That something so seemingly petty would trigger such a response from Brady seems unusual, considering the calmness he’s always projected. But as the story notes, this is an issue years in the making.