The tension that existed between Tom Brady and Bill Belichick toward the end of the quarterback’s New England Patriots tenure was palpable.

Just ask Matthew Slater.

Slater, who recently retired after a 16-year career with the Patriots that included three Super Bowl titles, revealed on Episode 8 of the Apple TV+ docuseries “The Dynasty” that Belichick treated Brady differently, a dynamic that likely weighed heavily on the longtime New England signal-caller.

“During that season (2016), Tom was unbelievable. But Coach Belichick being Coach Belichick, held Tom to an even higher standard than everyone else,” Slater said. “Did I think Tom felt disrespected? Yeah, I think so. I don’t think I’d want to be treated differently, but I’d expect a certain level of respect, especially as a grown man. What that does for Tom Brady, that’s going to add fire to an already burning inferno.”

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Brady began the 2016 season with a four-game suspension related to Deflategate. He finished it by hoisting the Lombardi Trophy, as New England overcame a 28-3 deficit to defeat the Atlanta Falcons in Super Bowl LI.

Clearly, not everything was rosy in Foxboro, though. The seeds already were planted for an eventual breakup between Brady and Belichick.

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“It just seemed like at times with Belichick, I felt like we lost a game even though we won. It was brutal,” Slater said. “I mean, not only was he critical of every player in there, but he was extremely critical of Tom. You see a lot of coaches in the league and the love affair they have with their star players, and Bill has never been that way.”

Brady and Belichick coexisted for three more years, during which they reached two more Super Bowls and winning one. After that, Brady took his talents to Florida, where he won a seventh ring with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, much to Patriots owner Robert Kraft’s chagrin.

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What could have been had Brady and Belichick worked together a little longer? Who knows. But it’s apparent the rest of the Patriots’ locker room was cognizant of their failing relationship long before the actual split.

Featured image via Allen Eyestone / USA TODAY Sports Images