Bill Belichick has established quite the culture in his 24 years as the New England Patriots head coach. It’s a culture where not any player was above the team, which even included his former six-time Super Bowl winning quarterback.
Many former Patriots have shared stories about how Belichick would not be afraid to call out Tom Brady in meetings for poor play. Appearing on Brady’s “Let’s Go!” podcast Monday night, Belichick shared he got the idea from Coach Bobby Knight and the 1984 U.S. Olympic Men’s Basketball team.
“Where I got that from was Coach Knight, because Coach Knight told me that’s what he did with Michael Jordan on the Olympic team,” Belichick said. “He said, ‘Michael, I’m going to rip your (expletive) because I can’t rip some of those other guys without ripping you.’ Jordan said, ‘Bring it on, because I need that and it’ll help me with my teammates.’”
Brady shared a similar message as Jordan, encouraging Belichick to go at him in team meetings.
“That was as much a part of Tom as it was me,” Belichick said. “There were a couple meetings where I would say something to Tom after the meeting. Like, ‘Hey, I didn’t really think that was that bad, but I just wanted to include you in there with everyone else.’
“Tom would say, ‘Coach, you have to. If you don’t yell at me, then what am I going to do with all the rest of my teammates? I’ve gotta be in there with all the rest of them and say, ‘Hey, he’s yelling at all of us and we’ve all gotta do better.’ But if you leave me out of it, then I don’t really have a platform to work from. So yeah, go ahead and rip my (expletive), too. Go ahead.’ I got the green light on that, so I went ahead and took it.”
Teammates certainly took notice.
“Players, they’d always come back to me and say, ‘Hey, the first meeting Belichick got on Brady. I’m like, Christ, if he’s going to talk to Brady like that I’d better be straight. I know what’s going to happen to me,’” Belichick added.