Any tension between Tom Brady and Bill Belichick has been well documented and intensely speculated on — even before the quarterback’s departure from the New England Patriots.
But in the ninth and penultimate episode of “Man in the Arena,” debuting on ESPN+ on Tuesday, the Tampa Bay Bucccaneers quarterback had nothing but warmth for his longtime coach and mentor. In fact, most of the episode served as a message of appreciation for the man and organization that drafted him in the sixth round of the 2000 NFL Draft.
“I had a great relationship with Coach Belichick,” Brady said during the documentary, as transcribed by CBS Boston’s Michael Hurley. “I think he wanted a quarterback to show up every day and put the team first, and I wanted a coach that showed up every day and put the team first. And we found an amazing working relationship together. And I think he was the best coach I could ever ask for.
“We had our challenges at different moments, but they were just moments. They don’t define what the relationship was. And in the end we accomplished things that no one had ever accomplished in NFL history.”
Brady also expressed his admiration for Patriots owner Robert Kraft, whom the eight-time Super Bowl champion developed a personal relationship over the years. His relationship with Kraft was much different than with Belichick, though, which Brady acknowledged in the episode.
“Coach Belichick and I had for so many years a really great relationship — but it was always player-coach. He was there to coach football, I was there to play football,” Brady said.
“He had always said there’s nobody I’d rather have play quarterback for our team than you, and I felt that same way about him as a coach.”
Belichick mentioned in the past that he’ll definitely be watching the documentary series, so we’ll see how he responds to the latest installment.