Tom Brady doesn’t need to say anything heading into his showdown with Bill Belichick. His dad and closest confidante are talking for him.
Earlier this week, Tom Brady Sr. said his son feels vindicated about leaving New England. “Damn right,” Daddy Brady told Tom Curran. “Belichick wanted him out the door and last year he threw 56 touchdowns. I think that's a pretty good year.” (Brady actually threw 50 touchdowns in the regular season and playoffs combined, but then again, Cam Newton threw eight.)
This is the third time in nine months that Brady Sr. has jabbed at Belichick. Back in January, Brady Sr. told Karen Guregian of the Herald he thinks Belichick “is on a little bit of a hot seat.” When the NFL schedule was released, he called the other guys, and said he was “salivating” when he saw “we play the Patriots in the fourth game of the season.”
For years, Brady Sr. has served as a conduit to his son’s guarded ego. Brady admits he lies “95% of the time.” If you want the truth, call dad.
And if you want armchair psychological analysis, call Alex Guerrero. Brady’s longtime trainer and business partner spoke with Guregian Wednesday, and said he doesn’t think Belichick evolved with Brady. But that’s just his viewpoint, of course.
“This is just me, an outsider looking in — it was like Bill never really … I think his emotions or feelings never evolved with age,” Guerrero said. “I think in time, with Tom, as Tom got into his late 30s or early 40s, I think Bill was still trying to treat him like that 20-year-old kid that he drafted. And all the players, I think, realized Tom was different.”
Later, Guerrero lauded the Buccaneers organization for its “fun” culture and the support they’ve provided to TB12 ™.
“We have great support over here,” Guerrero said. “The ownership is super supportive, the coaching staff is super supportive. The players are supportive. So it’s been great.”
Famously, Belichick curtailed Guerrero’s access during the 2017 season, banning his massage table from the locker room and presence from the sidelines. Belichick was also irritated about the number of players who were getting treated at the TB12 Center, which is just a few feet from Gillette Stadium.
He reportedly chewed out Rob Gronkowski for working with Guerrero instead of the Patriots’ staff. Gronk, by the way, leads the league in touchdown catches.
Brady leads the NFL in touchdown passes.
For years, Brady was content letting his play speak for itself — offering little more than amiable banalities during interviews. That’s still largely the case today, but in recent years, members of his close circle have started to offer more hints about his mindset. Gisele started this trend in 2018, when she revealed on “Tom vs. Time” that her husband just wants to “feel appreciated at work.”
When Jim Gray asked Brady at an indulgent conference in Beverly Hills about his wife’s remarks, the quarterback pleaded the fifth. On Wednesday, Guerrero basically confirmed Gisele’s account.
“All the players, none of them would have cared that he was treated differently,” he said. “I think that was such a Bill thing. He never evolved.”
While Tom Brady Sr. might just be an aggrieved dad speaking freely, Guerrero almost certainly wouldn’t provide his unvarnished take on Belichick if Brady didn’t at least give him tacit approval.
The guru has the green light.
There’s a possibility this covert PR campaign could backfire on Brady. He’ll be asked about his dad’s and Guerrero’s remarks all next week, creating the sort of unnecessary distraction he used to avoid.
He would look foolish if he lost at this point.
But this is a different Brady. He gets visibility plastered at Super Bowl parades and calls out teams for bypassing him and sticking with “that mother—“ at QB. After being stifled in Foxborough, maybe Brady feels liberated.
He’s certainly exerted more influence over personnel in his two seasons with Tampa Bay than all 20 of his years in New England.
There’s also this: Brady believes he can’t lose. He’s playing against a rookie quarterback and defensive scheme with which he’s intimately familiar. The GOAT is not going to fall to Mac n’ Cheese.
Brady knows austerity doesn’t translate to wins — he does. His arm is responsible for the Patriots’ six Super Bowl wins, not Belichick’s culture of silence.
The pressure is on for next Monday’s revenge game, and perhaps that's exactly the way the real Tom Brady likes it. He’s publicly above the fray, and privately salivating over the prospect of humiliating Belichick on his home turf.
Wickersham is coming: Seth Wickersham’s tell-all book about the end of Brady and Belichick is going to be awesome.
And it’s probably not a coincidence it’s getting released one week after their Monday night duel.
On Thursday, Wickersham tweeted the first excerpt of his book. After the Patriots’ sloppy 2017 playoff win over the Texans, Belichick ripped Brady in front of the team for his performance. That’s when Brady’s frustration with Belichick began to boil over, Wickersham writes.
This is the greatest prolonged sports drama of our lifetime. More, please.
Mac Jones is already polarizing: It’s easy to forecast where the national dialogue on Mac Jones will continue to head if the Patriots remain conservative on offense. The pro-Patriots side will rave about Jones’ precision and poise; the anti-Patriots side will rant about how Jones only throws check downs.
In many respects, it’s a resuscitation of the debates surrounding Brady prior to his record-setting 2007 season. Despite three Super Bowl wins, he was dismissed as a system quarterback in some circles.
Jones may have to carry that same label. What a burden.
Red Sox uniforms are a great baseball story: So much baseball coverage these days is centered around analytics and probability. It’s nice to see stories about good old fashioned superstition.
Of course, the notion that yellow alternate jerseys are propelling the Red Sox to victory is asinine. But it’s a lot more fun to talk about than BABIP and FIP. Sign me up for jersey talk any day.