Years later, Tom Brady addresses Tom Jackson's claim that Patriots hated Belichick

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“They hate their coach.”

It was one of the most infamous proclamations surfaced about the Patriots during their dynastic run, and finally, Tom Brady is addressing it.

Episode two of Brady’s “Man in the Arena” covers the Patriots’ 2003 Super Bowl run. In it, Brady and Rodney Harrison talk about ESPN’s analyst Tom Jackson’s bold claim, which he made following the Patriots’ disastrous Week 1 effort against the Bills just days after they had released Lawyer Milloy. The beloved Patriot started for the Bills in that game.

“That kind of rocked the locker room a little bit,” Brady said. “I didn’t believe it.”

Perhaps Brady’s rift with Bill Belichick will be broached later in the series, but in the latest episode, Brady affirms Belichick’s austerity. Brady says the Patriots truly ignored outside criticism.

“We’ve always said, ‘ignore the noise.’ So living by, and practicing that, rather than ‘this is our rallying cry, this is our motivation,’” Brady said. “The reason why we win was not because someone insults us. The reason why we win is we ignore it, and everything everyone says, and focus on the tactical things that matter.”

The ’03 Patriots quickly recovered from their Week 1 embarrassment, winning 17 of their next 18 games — including Super Bowl XXXVIII.

As it turns out, Jackson didn’t appear to know what was going on after all.

“This was early on in my career, but it’s just another sense of bull—,” Brady said. “More people who have no idea — who aren’t in the arena — who can’t influence anything. It’s just another example in life: ignore the noise. No one knows. Believe in yourself, believe in what you’re doing, believe in your business, believe in your teammates. These are the things that are important. These are the things that matter.”

“Man in the Arena” is streaming on ESPN+.

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