‘The greatest … it was incredible’


Things got icy toward the end between Tom Brady and Bill Belichick.

Now that Brady says his career is over — “for good” this time — the two are looking back fondly on their days as quarterback and head coach of the New England Patriots.

Brady appeared Monday on the first episode of his weekly “Let’s Go!” podcast since he announced his retirement last week. His first guest on an episode that also invited Peyton Manning and Rob Gronkowski? None other than Belichick. Six days out from a Super Bowl neither of them had a chance at winning, the two reflected on the most successful coach-quarterback pairing in NFL history.

Belichick was effusive with his praise of Brady.

“The greatest player, the greatest career, a great, great person,” Belichick said. “It was such an opportunity and an honor for me to coach Tom. I guess it’s gotta end at some point. But it’s the greatest one ever. So, congratulations, Tom.”

It was a rare moment of candor from Belichick, who’s made a career out of saying as little of interest in public as possible. He went on to praise Brady for his ability to process information and make quick decisions while crediting his longtime quarterback for teaching him to be a better coach.

“I was so lucky to learn from him and his vision,” Belichick continued. “No other coach will get that experience. It was incredible.”

Bill Belichick celebrates with Tom Brady after a Patriots playoff win over the Chargers in 2007. (Reuters/Robert Galbraith)

Brady’s voice cracked as he responded to Belichick and a question from host Jim Gray on what Belichick did to bring out the best in him.

“It’s more what did he not do to bring out the best in me,” Brady said.

“Coach Belichick and I developed an amazing relationship really from the moment I was drafted. We spent a lot of time together. He started to begin to teach me what football was all about, how to study defenses when I started to play, certainly. …

“I couldn’t imagine a better teacher to say, ‘Hey, here’s how you’re going to play quarterback in the NFL.'”

Brady also challenged reporting that his and Belichick’s relationship was strained at the end.

“It’s such a stupid — in my view, people were always trying to pull us apart. I don’t think we ever even felt that with each other.

“We never were trying to pull each other apart. We actually were always trying to go in the same direction. I think when we were in New England for 20 years together, they get tired of writing the same story.”

Before Belichick joined the episode, Brady expounded on his decision to call it quits. He insisted repeatedly that his retirement is permanent this time after last year’s effort lasted mere weeks.

“There’s always gonna be a part that wants to play and a part of me that feels like I can play,” Brady said. “I think there’s just a decision to know it’s the right time. So I think for me it’s gonna end at some point, and I think now’s the right time.”

After a year that saw his football career and his marriage to Gisele Bundchen come to an end, Brady said he intends to shift the focus he’s shown on the field to his life outside the game. He said so on the same day that he announced he won’t start his broadcast career with Fox until the 2024 NFL season.

“I’ve always wanted to maximize my ability as a player,” Brady said. “Now I get to maximize my ability in life as a person and as a human, as a man, as a father, as a son, as a brother, as a friend.”