One of the most anticipated showdowns of the 2021 NFL season will be happening next week when Tom Brady returns to New England to face the Patriots. Although that game is still 10 days away, some bitter feelings already seem to be coming out.
Earlier this week, Tom Brady's dad (Tom Brady Sr.) said a big reason his son left New England is because Bill Belichick wanted him "out the door" and that his son felt vindicated after winning the Super Bowl. Brady's trainer, Alex Guerrero, offered a few more details on the situation during an interview with the Boston Herald this week.
Apparently, the problem in New England was that Belichick treated Brady like every other player, even though Brady's not like every other player. Most coaches in the NFL try and treat players equally, but eventually you have to get to a point where you treat your top players a little bit differently, especially if that player is a quarterback who helped you win six Super Bowls. Belichick never did that for Brady.
"It was like Bill never really ... I think his emotions or feelings never evolved with age," Guerrero said. "As Tom got into his late 30s or early 40s, I think Bill was still trying to treat him like that 20-year-old kid that he drafted. And all the players, I think, realized Tom was different. He's older, so he should be treated differently. And all the players, none of them would have cared that he was treated differently."
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During Brady's final season in New England, he was 42 years old, but even then, Belichick refused to show his star quarterback any special treatment (Keep in mind, a coach showing a star QB some special treatment is pretty common in the NFL and Belichick's relationship with Brady when the QB was 25 should have definitely "evolved" and been different than it was at 42).
"He's older, so he should be treated differently," Guerrero said. "And all the players, none of them would have cared that he was treated differently. I think that was such a Bill thing. He never evolved. So you can't treat someone who's in his 40s like they're 20. It doesn't work."
One thing about the Patriots Way is that everyone is treated equally, but you have to draw the line somewhere. Maybe after 10 or 15 years with the team, Belichick could have sucked it up and said, "Alright, this guy can be treated a little differently." Imagine treating your 40-year-old son like he's 20. I'm guessing it wouldn't go over well.
According to Guerrero, there was a path that could have ended with Brady playing out his career in New England, but Belichick's indifference to Brady was one thing that kept that from happening.
"People could have made different choices, and they could have rode out into the sunset together," Guerrero said. "That could have been a pretty cool story, too."
Although Tom Brady Sr. used the word vindication, Guerrero wasn't ready to go that far.
"At the end of the day, when we prepare to play, we have a lot of drive and determination and will," Guerrero said. "I don't know that we prepare or have the drive and determination or will to win through vindication."
Even though Guerrero and Brady Sr. have been talkative this week, don't expect Tom Brady to make any headlines leading up to next week's game. Back in July, Brady was asked about the prospect of returning to New England in Week 4 and he made sure not to ruffle any feathers.
"I'm sure it'll be a great opportunity for me to go back to a place I know as well as anyone," Brady said. "It'll be a great day for football."
It certainly will be a great day for football. Brady's return to New England will be happening on Sunday night in Week 4.
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