New England Patriots writers inside a secret and controversial franchise Robert Kraft, Tom Brady and Bill Belichick

New England Patriots writers inside a secret and controversial franchise Robert Kraft, Tom Brady and Bill Belichick

In the end, Tom Brady I just wanted to say goodbye – in person – to his longtime coach. But according to a new book to be published next month, Bill Belichick said he was not available and insisted the two New England Patriots legends talk over the phone.

Although Belichick told Brady that he was “the best player the league has ever seen”, Brady told a friend that the fact that he came over the phone was “telling” how bad the duo’s relationship had deteriorated over the years. the book, “You’d better be afraid,” Written by Seth Wickersham, Senior Writer for ESPN, to be published October 12 by Livewright Publishing. It is based on hundreds of interviews with a range of sources, including previously classified emails, scripts, game plans, scout reports, and internal New England studies – including an interview in which Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Tiger Woods and Brady are interviewed for character identification. traits that fueled their greatness.

The book reveals the inner workings of the secret and controversial Patriots series that dominated the NFL from 2001 to 2019, and also highlights the power dynamics between the paid and proud trio of team owners Robert Kraft, Belichick and Tom Brady. It also explores how some of the league’s biggest names inside and outside the organization have dealt with Juggernaut. The success showed the football genius and flaws of Brady, Belichick, Kraft — and others throughout the league, Wickersham wrote.

Wickersham wrote that Brady eventually left New England not only because both Belichick and Kraft refused to stick with him up to his stated goal of playing until age 45 – he believed that Belichick thought Brady was near the end – but because he wanted it to be in an organization that welcomed his input instead Who ignored it, something he eventually found in Tampa Bay.

“Tom Brady was curious to see if there was another way to win, and while no one would argue that Bruce Arians was a better coach than Bill Belichick, or even sooner, the fluidity of Brady’s mastery and performance made his former coach’s methodologies seem outdated, even ridiculous.” , as the book says. “It was better to be afraid – but was it necessary?”

As examples of what the dynasty made, Wickersham wrote that Kraft once described Belichick as “the biggest hole in my life”. The book says Bill O’Brien told a teammate that he tried to fire him as the Houston Texans coach because he thought he might be able to succeed Belichick. Belichick and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell had a much closer relationship than previously known, and once met secretly in a New England hangar to discuss rule changes — even as aides unsuccessfully asked Goodell to drop the Deflategate investigation, worried about long-term damage for the league mark.

The historic New England race has produced six Super Bowls in 19 years but also many controversies – Spygate and Deflategate between them.

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The book delves deeply into Kraft and his impact on the team and the league, portraying him as an exemplary, patient captain and loyal friend to the league but also carries a tough streak often attributed to his head coach. In 2018, with Bates’ success waning and their controversy over everyone involved, Wickersham wrote that Kraft, Brady and Belichick were trying to put grievances aside in order to stay victorious.

“Brady is tired of making amicable deals with the team without any input on how the money saved will be spent – and still wants a long-term contractual commitment,” Wickersham wrote. Belichick told his teammates that every organizational decision now was to support Brady, geared toward pleasing him and making him successful — and that Kraft stepped into the team, sometimes with opinions, sometimes with tight budgets.

“For Kraft, in late September, he was in Aspen (Colorado) for a conference, and bumped into some friends in the lobby early one morning. He told them he was going to leave later for Detroit, where the Patriots were playing their next turn. Kraft said:” I hate to leave here. She leaves here and leaves some of the most intelligent people I have ever met. You get a lot of knowledge from all these brilliant minds. And I have to go to Detroit to be with the biggest holeshot of my life – head coach. “

According to the book, Kraft told one of his confidants, “Bill was a dumb expert, referring to Belichick’s reputation before he hired the former Cleveland Browns coach in 2000.” I gave him this opportunity.”

The book says the tension within the franchise has been coming in for years. At some point years earlier, if there was an NFL franchise in Los Angeles, Brady might have tried to force a trade there, according to those close to him.

Wickersham wrote, “Craft sometimes groaned to those close to him that Belichick had not shown him the respect he deserved, but he was in no hurry to live after him.” “Even so, Brady seemed ready for it… ‘I don’t want to play for Bale anymore,’” he told people close to him in 2017.

In the end, according to the book, Kraft, Brady, and a few others discussed scenarios about who would replace Belichick. If offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels leaves after the season to be head coach elsewhere, New England could hire O’Brien and could one day succeed Belichick.

Wickersham wrote, “The plan was fictional, but O’Brien heard about it. He was in a power struggle of his own in Houston, fighting with general manager Rick Smith, a ‘dysfunctional’ and ‘toxic’ situation,” according to the Houston Chronicle. The leaks from O’Brien’s camp, who claimed he wanted out, were so aggressive that they were suspicious, as if he knew he had a golden parachute. In the end, although [Texans] He chose O’Brien instead of Smith, which gave the coach more control over football operations. O’Brien later joked to a confidant that it was a rather empty victory. ‘I was Attempt to be expelled,” he said.

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Kraft, Brady, Belichick, and the Patriots declined to interview Wickersham for the book, but were quoted from recorded interviews with the author over the past two decades. The Patriots did not respond to requests for comment for this story.

Among other findings in It’s Better to Be Afraid:

  • At the 2008 league meetings, Belichick and then-New York Jets coach Eric Mangini nearly got into a fistfight. After a dinner for the head coaches, Eric’s wife Julie Mangini bumps into Belichick and said hi, trying to relieve stress after Spiegate’s fallout. Belichick blew it up, and when she told Eric what happened, he ran across the room and needed to be stopped by the other coaches from swinging at Belichick. “Hey Bill, and–you!” Mangini shouted.

  • After Spygate and during U.S. Senator Arlen Specter’s investigation into whether the Patriots videotaped the St. Louis Rams’ practice prior to Super Bowl XXXVI, former Rams coach Mike Martz said he believes New England also videotaped the Rams’ practices within a week. “I’d like to hang Blechik out of a walnut,” he told one of those close to him.

  • During Spygate, then-Broncos coach Mike Shanahan backed Belichick and told Goodell he wished he had videotaped references and was frustrated that he hadn’t thought of cheating tactics himself. Goodell contacted coaches and executives trying to learn more about New England’s video shooting practices. Almost all of them wanted to punish Belichick severely – except for Shanahan. “You can’t say Bill Belichick is a bad guy,” Shanahan told Goodell. “Bill is better than most people.”

  • Brady’s adjustment to world fame early in his career was more difficult than he would publicly allow. Cars will follow him home from work. At one point during the week leading up to the 2002 Super Bowl against the Rams, Brady literally ran out of fame. He and some friends decided to hit Bourbon Street in New Orleans, and before they could even enter a bar or restaurant, a crowd formed around it so thick that they all got down on the sidewalk and into an alley, hiding until the fans had dissipated. “Our lives have changed,” Brady told his parents after beating the Rams. “You will change, and I will change.”

  • Near the end of the dynastic race, Belichick commissioned an internal study to examine the traits of transcendental athletes. Jordan, Bryant Woods, and Brady, among others, have been interviewed. The study revealed that while the motivations of the rest of the elite athletes centered around themes of artificial anger and conflict, Brady was different. Wickersham writes that he felt at the height of his powers “not when he was measuring the size of the chip over his shoulder, but when he was in a loving and supportive environment.”

  • Team owners attempted to negotiate a 2011 collective bargaining agreement with union president Demorris Smith at Miracraft’s funeral. Robert Kraft tried to ease a contentious moment between the NFL and then the NFL by attending CBA negotiations, even though his wife, Mira, had cancer. After her death in July 2011, several of the team’s owners and Smith attended her funeral. That was during the lockdown period. Many landlords have attempted to discuss the CBA and negotiate points at the funeral. “I wanted to throw up,” Smith told one of those close to him.

  • After Deflategate, Goodell was the general enemy of the Patriots. He decided to visit Gillette Stadium during a pre-season game in 2017 against the Jacksonville Jaguars. He wanted to walk the field during warm-ups, take his medication from the crowd and relieve stress so he can return for the inaugural season, when the Patriots’ fifth Super Bowl flag is hoisted. The trip was doomed from the start. First, the league plane broke down before it could take off. By the time the league got another plane, Goodell was late and missed the warm-up, ruining the flight point. League executives decided to leak the news that Goodell was in the game to Boston Globe. After reporter Ben Folin tweeted a grainy photo of Goodell in the Kraft booth, the owner hit the ceiling and yelled at the league’s executives. “You’re killing me with the fans,” Kraft said. “Why would I want to be here with Roger with all this stuff going on with Brady?”

  • Although Goodell had severely punished the Patriots three times for violating the rules, he became close to Belichick. Besides meeting secretly at a private airport to discuss rule changes, on the morning after the Patriots’ Super Bowl victory over the Hawks, Belichick hugged Goodell and lifted the Commissioner’s feet off the ground.

  • In 2016, after then-presidential candidate Donald Trump read a letter of support from Belichick at a campaign rally, Patriots assistant coach Brian Flores Belichick told that several players were angry and that he “needed to say something” to the team. Belichick addressed the team, but initially did not help. Many players felt that he was cheating. “It was hypocritical and out of character,” recalls one Patriots player. “I don’t think he’s an unforgiving coach. He’s not a bad guy. Bale just justified it in a way he would never accept from any player.” After the meeting, a small group of Patriots players considered interrupting practice but reconsidered.

  • In the lead-up to Super Bowl LII’s game against the Philadelphia Eagles, Patriots cornerback Malcolm Butler and defense coordinator Matt Patricia exchanged hot words during training for the former Super Bowl champion’s lack of effort. Butler was demoted. At the team party after New England’s loss, Butler responded to his teammates by asking why he was put on the bench by saying, “Those guys,” referring to the coaches, according to the book, “these moms.”

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