Five quotes that stood out in rare Tom Brady-Bill Belichick podcast originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston
Tom Brady will have to stay retired now, because there's no way he's getting Bill Belichick to do another podcast appearance.
New England Patriots fans and Brady supporters got quite the treat Monday night when Belichick came on the SiriusXM podcast "Let's Go!" with Brady and co-host Jim Gray to have a rare public conversation with his former quarterback of 20 years, who announced his NFL retirement "for good" last week.
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The whole episode is worth the listen, as it features ex-Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski crashing the show from his car, legendary quarterback Peyton Manning trading barbs with Brady and Brady sharing an emotional moment with his parents.
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But if you don't have an hour and 12 minutes of free time, here are five quotes from Brady, Belichick and Manning that stood out above the rest.
Belichick congratulating Brady on his retirement
"The greatest player. The greatest career. The great, great person. It was such an opportunity and an honor for me to coach Tom. I guess it's got to end at some point. It's the greatest one ever. Congratulations, Tom."
Brady clearly appreciated Belichick's words and got choked up while thanking his former head coach. While Brady didn't leave New England on the best of terms in 2020 free agency, it's clear he and Belichick have a lasting admiration and respect for one another.
"I think it's more, 'What did he not do?'" Brady replied when asked what Belichick did for him as a player.
Brady setting the record straight on the 'Brady vs. Belichick' debate
"For me, there's nobody I'd rather be associated with. From my standpoint, I think it's always a stupid conversation to say, 'Brady vs. Belichick' because, in my mind, that's not what a partnership is about. Coach couldn't play quarterback and I couldn't coach. The best part about football is, and Coach says it a lot: Do your job. And he asked me to play quarterback. He didn't ask me to coach.
" ... In my view, people were always trying to pull us apart. I don't think we ever felt like that with each other. We never were trying to pull each other apart. We actually were always trying to go in the same direction.
"When we were in New England for 20 years together, they get tired of writing the same story. So, once they write all the nice things and championships, and then they just start going, ‘Well this works, let's start trying to divide them.' I never really appreciated those ways that people would try to do that. He and I always had a great relationship."
Brady added that while he and Belichick didn't always see eye-to-eye, the two "always respected each other" and recognized each other's fierce commitment to winning.
Belichick on what he learned from Brady
"Tom talks about how much I taught him in those meetings, but I learned so much from Tom, because I never played quarterback and I never saw the game through the quarterback’s eyes. I saw it through a coach’s eyes, and what Tom would tell me that he saw and how he saw it.
"It was incredible how during the game he’d come off and I’d say, ‘What happened on that play?’ and he’d go through eight things that happened. 'The tackle flashed in front of me. This guy slipped. I saw the linebacker drop wide. The safety was a little deeper than I thought he would be. Then this guy stepped in front, and I kind of put it a little bit behind him because I saw this other guy closing.'
"And then you would go back and look at the film, and every one of those things happened in the exact sequence that he explained it to you on the field coming off. I’m like, 'This guy sees everything.'"
Belichick on Brady's 'greatest skill'
"Tom always found a way to make his players productive. It didn’t matter who the receiver, who the tight end was. He could understand what would make Rob (Gronkowski) more successful, what would make Troy Brown more successful, what could Wes Welker do. Not, 'What did I do with Troy that I want to do with Wes Welker?' but, 'How do I make Wes Welker successful? How do I make Randy Moss successful?'
"Those players were all great players, but they were all very different, and they had different skills, and Tom could always bring out the best of their skills. So, it was James White, the running backs -- whatever the position was -- Kevin Faulk. He made all those players great by understanding what their strengths were, and he understood how to use their strengths. Very similar to what Bill Russell talked about in terms of using the other teammates on the Celtics -- how to get those guys shots, how to get those guys points.
"I think of all the things that Tom was great at, which is a long, long list, his ability to make players around him better and more productive was ultimately his greatest skill."
Peyton Manning on Brady influencing his 2012 free agency decision
"I’ve never told anybody this, but Tom’s a big reason why I decided to stay in the AFC (to sign with the Denver Broncos) after I left the Colts (in free agency). I mean, I easily could have gone to a couple of NFC teams but I thought, ‘No, look, I’ve played against Tom a bunch and the Patriots and eventually you’re going to have to play them at some point. Let me at least try to earn it in the AFC, seeing them in the playoffs.
"I enjoyed those games. I enjoyed that rivalry. And so that was one of the reasons I decided to stay in the AFC in Chapter Two for me."
Manning got his wish: He faced Brady's Patriots twice in the postseason as a member of the Broncos and won both times, beating New England in the 2013 AFC Championship Game and the 2015 AFC Championship Game -- both in Denver.