As the New England Patriots prepare to begin the 2018 NFL season Sunday against the Houston Texans, everything seems like business as usual.
Despite the rumors of friction between Tom Brady, Bill Belichick and Robert Kraft that have swirled since ESPN’s January bombshell, the Patriots are at least giving the appearance that things are no different in Year 19 of the Brady-Belichick regime.
But looks can be deceiving.
Enter Mark Leibovich, a well-respected New York Times reporter known for his in-depth profiles of politicians, who released a book on the Patriots and the NFL on Tuesday titled “Big Game: The NFL In Dangerous Times.”
For the book, a four-year side project for the veteran reporter, Leibovich spoke to Kraft and Brady multiple times, as well as President Donald Trump. The book promises to have more than a few bombshells, a few of which already have been released.
The latest of which came over the weekend when Leibovich spoke to The Boston Globe’s Dan Shaughnessy, and gave dropped a little tidbit about the friction between the triumvirate, beginning with an odd quote from Kraft.
“With all due respect to the media, they don’t know what’s really going on. No one would believe what’s really going on,” Kraft told Leibovich.
Shaughnessy asked the author what he made of the comment, and he wasn’t sure, but he did report that based on his conversations with Brady, Kraft and others, things are not as they appear in Foxboro.
“That was like a taunt,” Leibovich said. “Believe me, there is plenty going on that the insiders don’t know or can’t print. The friction between the key players is sort of hiding in plain sight . . . I know a lot of people close to the situation. I’ve talked to two of the principals (Kraft and Brady) pretty extensively. It’s not that complicated. It’s not like Tom’s not giving clues. It’s not like Robert’s not giving clues. I think there’s a huge backstory. This thing is not as buttoned-down as Bill Belichick is at his weekly press conferences.”
In the book, Leibovich also states that he got the impression in April that Brady wouldn’t care if the Pats cut him and let him finish his career elsewhere.
We’re sure this won’t be the last bombshell from Leibovich.