The New England Patriots were bounced in the first round of the playoffs, but they’re currently the talk of the NFL in light of Tom Brady’s retirement.
Between the premature reporting from ESPN’s Adam Schefter and Jeff Darlington, and Brady’s official announcement just days later, it’s been a Patriots-dominated news cycle for the last several days, which is significant given Super Bowl LVI is right around the corner.
Of course, this isn’t all that surprising. The consensus greatest player to ever grace the NFL has retired. Obviously, it’s going to be a hot topic of conversation. Throw in all the controversy about Brady’s privacy being violated and you’ve got the ideal layover story for Pro Bowl week.
However, another layer of controversy was added by Brady himself after he omitted the Patriots — including Robert Kraft, Bill Belichick, the franchise itself, city of Foxborough and fans — from his nine-slide Instagram message.
That didn’t stop Kraft, who apparently had a meltdown after reading Brady’s post, from penning an emotional statement.
On Wednesday evening, Belichick followed suit. In his message, the Patriots coach heaped enormous praise on Brady’s behalf.
Patriots head coach Bill Belichick’s statement on Tom Brady’s retirement included significant praise.
Would you look at that? Brady’s relationship with Belichick is said to be among the reasons why he left New England after the 2019 season. There might still be some bad blood between the two Patriots legends, but the mutual respect they have for each other cannot be denied.
Regardless of how their relationship ended, it’s impossible to forget how much they accomplished together. Over two decades with the Patriots, they took home 17 AFC East titles, appeared in nine Super Bowls, and won six of them.
In terms of individual hardware, Brady won three MVP awards and his four Super Bowl MVPs would still be good for the most in NFL history even though he won a fifth with the Buccaneers last year. Belichick, on the other hand, was named AP Coach of the Year three times with TB12 as his quarterback.
So, how did Brady respond to Belichick calling him “the greatest player in NFL history”? Just as you would expect, actually. After all, he wouldn’t be “Tom Brady” without the “greatest coach in NFL history” by his side.
It admittedly would’ve been nice to see Brady respond with a legitimate statement as opposed to an Instagram story that Belichick probably had to go out of his way to find, but beggars can’t be choosers and Brady set a pretty low bar for himself by excluding the Patriots in his initial message in the first place.
But we digress.
Hopefully the two all-time greats can meet and hash out their differences sometime in the near future, because the split-second hug they shared after the Week 4 matchup between the Pats and Bucs wasn’t nearly enough.