Danny Amendola on Monday took a swipe at Bill Belichick while praising Tom Brady, explaining on FS1’s “First Things First” that the quarterback, not the coaching staff, embodied the “Patriot Way” in New England.
“…and that’s the reason why Tom Brady’s in the Super Bowl right now and the Patriots aren’t,” the former Pats receiver concluded.
The comments didn’t sit well with Stephen A. Smith, who on Tuesday called out Amendola for putting his former organization on blast.
“I think this was incredibly insulting, very disrespectful and, dare I say, flat-out ignorant,” Smith said on ESPN’s “First Take.”
Amendola spent five seasons with the Patriots (2013-17), during which he appeared in three Super Bowls and won two rings.
Still, the 35-year-old, now with the Detroit Lions, couldn’t help but fire a shot at Belichick as his former teammate, Brady, prepares to play in his 10th Super Bowl in his first season with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
“Danny Amendola is a bright guy. He plays football, he knows football,” said Smith, who started out by acknowledging he’s fond of Amendola as both a player and a person. “Last time I checked, he knows they have special teams, he knows they have a defense.
“The New England Patriots were ranked as a top-10 defense every single year he was there. Three times, they were top eight. Two times, they were top five. One time, they were the No. 1 defense in the National Football League. It wasn’t just Tom Brady.”
Smith also pointed to the success — or lack thereof — Amendola has had in his NFL career with the Lions, Miami Dolphins and then-St. Louis Rams as evidence the veteran wideout might be off base in his assessment of the situation in New England.
“How the hell are you gonna just ignore Bill Belichick and bring up this year when they started off the season with nine different damn dudes saying, ‘We ain’t gonna play because of COVID-19,’ which included Patrick Chung and Dont’a Hightower,” Smith said. “How are you gonna do that? That’s shade very, very flagrantly being thrown on Bill Belichick, and I think it’s unfortunate that he would choose to do that because the facts do not support what he’s saying. I think it was wrong for him to say that.”
Amendola since has clarified his comments, saying he “loved” playing for Belichick in New England and is a “huge fan” of him as a coach. Belichick also serves as the Patriots’ general manager, though, and his approach to that aspect of the job apparently rubbed Amendola the wrong way.
Nevertheless, Amendola sure ruffled some feathers with his initial take on the Brady vs. Belichick debate, which everyone seems to be chiming in on as the Bucs prepare for Super Bowl LV and the Patriots sit at home after going 7-9 in 2020.