Their on-field exchange was awkwardly brief. Their locker-room exchange also may have had some awkward moments, but it lasted a lot longer.
Per multiple and various reports, Patriots coach Bill Belichick and Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady met for 20 minutes in the Tampa Bay locker room after Sunday night’s 19-17 win by the Bucs.
“I mean, all those are personal,” Brady told reporters after the meeting. “We got a personal relationship, you know, for 20-plus years. He drafted me here. We’ve had a lot of personal conversations that should remain that way and are very private. And I would say so much is made of our relationship. You know, as I said earlier this week, from a player’s standpoint you just expect the coach to give you everything he’s got, and I’m sure as a player that’s what he was hoping from me. But nothing is really accurate that I ever see. It’s all kind of — definitely doesn’t come from my personal feelings or beliefs. I got a lot of respect for him as a coach and obviously a lot of respect for this organization and all the different people here that try to make it successful.”
The most controversial comments made in the days preceding the game came from Alex Guerrero, who is very close to Brady and who said Belichick didn’t evolve during their 20-year relationship, that he continued to treat Tom like a 20-year-old kid. Brady never provided a direct disavowal of that observation, which presumably was based on things Brady said to Guerrero over the years.
Regardless, Belichick and Brady likely achieved some sort of closure last night. Unless Brady plays four more seasons, unless the new formula for the seventeenth game has them cross paths before then, unless the Bucs and Pats end up meeting in a Super Bowl, or unless Brady lands on a different team, the two men will never square off in a game again.