New England Patriots: Will strain between Tom Brady, Bill Belichick affect team

FOXBOROUGH, MA - JANUARY 21: Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots and head coach Bill Belichick look on during warm ups before the AFC Championship Game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Gillette Stadium on January 21, 2018 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
FOXBOROUGH, MA - JANUARY 21: Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots and head coach Bill Belichick look on during warm ups before the AFC Championship Game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Gillette Stadium on January 21, 2018 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) /

We take a look at the key issues that are brewing between the New England Patriots top brass.

The New England Patriots season is quickly approaching, leaving us to ask the obvious question; will the strenuous relationship between Bill Belichick and Tom Brady bleed into the new season?

Or will the tandem rise above the recent distractions and focus on what they do best, winning football games.

There are many points to unpack when approaching this topic, however. Let us keep this issue in the context of New England’s history when it comes to dealing with adversity.

The Patriots dynasty has been running like a well-oiled machine for the past 18 years, due to the professionalism and hard work implemented at the very top of the organization.

Robert Kraft, in essence, gave the keys of the franchise to Belichick, who has operated as the head coach of the Patriots while assuming the responsibilities of a general manager.

As the Patriots coach-in-chief, Belichick was able to cultivate a winning culture within the organization, based largely on discipline and the everlasting emphasis on teamwork.

Belichick is not the run of the mill NFL coach. His militaristic approach to football goes back to his roots, learning the game from his father, who was a football coach for the Naval Academy team, serving as the example who Belichick gleaned from.

The pillars of the New England system removes the onus on individual players and focuses on team accomplishments; winning and demanding perfection from every player that fills a roster spot.

Whether it’s a star quarterback or a second string defensive back, Belichick applies the same rules and expects the same professionalism across the board.

This is why Tom Brady has been the perfect quarterback for Belichick’s style of coaching. Brady has been the ultimate team player, able to endure criticism, direct coaching all while following the Patriot way to a tee.

Conversely, with all the success attained by the two football giants, enters the ego of both men. Brady is well aware of his accomplishments as a player for the Patriots and what he represents as the face of the NFL for so many years.

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Since Brady took over as quarterback for Belichick, the Patriots have been to eight Super Bowls, winning five. They have also played in a record 12 AFC championship games coupled with a whopping 14 division titles.

Brady also was willing to take a home-town discount for a large part of his career, giving the front office cap space to obtain other key players for the roster.

All these concessions by Brady, coupled with his ability and commitment to winning, made him the exemplary star player that any franchise would dream for.

This resulted in Brady beginning to veer from the Patriots way mantra. The superstar began to pursue all the opportunities he had available, from endorsements to launching his own training facility, eventually introducing the TB12 principles to the world.

Brady’s personal trainer and close friend Alex Guerrero has been his partner in developing the TB12 method over the years. They also collaborated to release Brady’s first book “The TB12 Method”, that outlines the core principles of Brady’s philosophy when it comes to athletics.

Last year, Guerrero also became involved with other Patriots players, with his reach extending to Rob Gronkowski and Julian Edelman.

Who began seeking different methods of training as well as rehabilitation from nagging injuries, Guerrero’s methods differ from the traditional way of training, as well as lifting weights and sustaining an athlete’s overall health.

This alliance clashed with the way Belichick operates the Patriots, as it also interfered with his ethos. Belichick has a training staff, who have a job to fulfill when it comes to players injuries, rehabilitation, and training.

Belichick ultimately decided to cut Guerrero’s privileges with the Patriots. Sideline access was taken away in addition to flights with the team. Guerrero was also was barred from treating players.

This naturally put Brady in a difficult place because of his friendship and belief in Guerrero’s methods. Nevertheless, Belichick needed to maintain order as he had 52 other players to manage as well as a training staff that is qualified.

Another cause of tension between the coach and quarterback resulted from a perceived lack of appreciation on Belichick’s behalf.

Belichick also threw cold water on the severity of Brady’s injury on the eve of the AFC championship game:

Conversely, Brady expressed that he felt the injury could be season-ending at first, doubting if he could even play in the most important game of the season.

Whether Belichick did this intentionally in front of the media or if he actually felt this way is unknown, but Brady could see that his coach was opposing him on every turn.

After the season ended in a heart-wrenching loss to the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl LII, Brady sat with Jim Gray in April, Brady gave a cryptic answer when asked if he felt appreciated:

Despite his interesting answer, Brady insisted that he still respects and loves being coached by Belichick after all these years even after admitting that Belichick is not the easiest coach to play for.

After further unpacking this situation we can see a clear difference between Brady and Belichick, the quarterback feels he garners a certain amount of special accommodations, for being the ultimate team player and the greatest quarterback in NFL history.

And the coach on the other hand, who does not want his Patriot way changed neither from internal or external forces.

It is fair to assume that there will be no shortage of drama coming out of Foxborough this season, owing to the tension atop the organization.

However, I predict that any issues that transpire in the future will ultimately be pushed aside for the greater good of the team and winning another Lombardi Trophy.

Belichick and Brady will deal with their differences under the surface while putting winning and team at the forefront.

Next: 10 Greatest Quarterbacks In Patriots' Franchise History

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