(CBS Boston/CBS Local) — Tom Brady is preparing to play in the Super Bowl. Bill Belichick is at home, preparing for a busy offseason after a sub-.500 season.
The juxtaposition of these two New England football legends has naturally led to conversations and speculation and even a little tomfoolery regarding the potential of a petty feud having driven a wedge between the head coach and his former QB.
Yet on Monday, while virtually participating in this year’s Super Bowl Media Day, Brady seemingly did all he could to end such discussions when he went out of his way to offer excessive praise to the man who drafted and developed him on the road to superstardom.
“I have a great relationship with him,” Brady said when asked if he had a message for Belichick this week. “Again, I’m just incredibly grateful for what he’s meant in my life as a coach. He was everything you could ask for as a player. I loved my time, I had two incredible decades there. My football journey took me to a different place.”
Despite that change in employment location, and despite finding great success at age 43 in his new home, Brady made sure to give credit to Belichick for making him into the quarterback he became.
“I certainly could never have accomplished the things in my career without his support and his teachings,” Brady said. “He’s an incredible coach and mentor for me. I’ve had a lot of those in my career, but obviously he’s at the top of the list.”
Such commentary won’t do much to stoke the flames on sports talk radio, of course, but it lends credence to the common sense view that Brady and Belichick both benefited greatly from each other over the course of their 20 years together.
Later in his 45-minute press conference, Brady expounded on that reality, even though he wasn’t speaking specifically about Belichick. Brady was asked why no NFL team has won consecutive Super Bowls since his Patriots did it in 2003 and 2004, and the quarterback showed that he fully recognizes that a whole lot more goes into winning Super Bowls than a quarterback making some nice passes.
“I think what makes it such a challenge is it’s hard to win one Super Bowl,” Brady said. “That just is something that, it’s difficult because it’s tough to win one Super Bowl. Every year, you know, 32 teams at it, every team can only spend the same amount of money, everyone drafts, everything’s meant to be 8-8. There’s salary caps. You just can’t go buy a football team. You have to develop players, develop processes and put good processes in place and you can be consistently a great football team.”
For his entire career in New England, Brady witnessed that comprehensive process firsthand. He was, of course, a driving force to the success, but the overall operation run by Belichick was a much larger undertaking. And the results — six Lombardis — will last in the history books far longer than any spirited talk radio debate.