In Tom Brady’s first Let’s Go podcast since announcing his retirement, he was joined by a slew of special guests that included his former head coach, Bill Belichick.
Belichick had plenty of praise for his former quarterback.
“The greatest player, the greatest career,” Belichick said. “A great, great person. 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.”
No player-coach combo had a more successful run than Brady and Belichick did throughout their time together. In 20 seasons, the duo led the New England Patriots to nine Super Bowls — winning six of them — in an unprecedented stretch of dominance.
“It’s more what did he not do to bring out the best in me,” an emotional Brady said when asked how Belichick brought out the best in him. “I was just very lucky...”
Brady and Belichick both came to New England in 2000, where their relationship immediately started. Despite being a sixth-round draft selection, Brady said he would be thankful his head coach believed in him from the start.
“We came in together,” Brady explained. “And I always think for so many young players, whose going to turn you into something, whose going to develop you, whose going to take you under their wing? Sometime it’s a player that does it — and I definitely had a lot of players do that — and obviously I had someone who really saw something in me that not a lot of people did.
“Coach Belichick and I developed an amazing relationship, really from the moment I was drafted but then really we spent a lot of time together and he started to teach me what football was really all about. ... I couldn’t imagine a better teacher to say, ‘Hey this is how we’re going to play quarterback in the NFL’ and the nuances of the game.
“What a blessing for me. There’s no way I had the success that I’ve had, personally, without him and I’m very grateful for that.”
As Brady departed New England to continue his career in Tampa Bay in 2020, many pointed to the relationship between the two as the driving factor. Brady, however, wouldn't have wanted any other coach during his time with the Patriots.
“For me, there’s nobody I’d rather be associated with,” he said. “From my standpoint, I think it’s always such a stupid conversation to say, ‘Brady vs. Belichick’ because, in my mind, that’s not what a partnership is about. Coach couldn’t play quarterback and I couldn’t coach.
“In my view, people were always trying to pull us apart. I don’t think we ever felt like that with each other. We never were trying to pull each other apart. We actually were always trying to go in the same direction.”
The same direction didn't mean the quarterback and coach always saw things eye-to-eye, but Brady recalled that as being a key part of their relationship.
“I think that’s one thing I appreciate about Coach Belichick in life: He’s not afraid to have a hard conversation,” Brady explained. “We didn’t always agree, but we always respected each other. I know he respected me for the job that I did and I certainly did the same.
“I think even when you go away from each other, you respect each other probably that much more. I certainly did because I realized the commitment he was trying to make to get our team to win.”