Earlier I mentioned this book "The Dynasty" by Jeff Benedict, the one that detailed how much worse Tom Brady's pre-AFC title game hand injury in January 2018 was way worse than reported at the time. I'm sure it's a fine book. But all the sexy people are holding out for the definitive "SIX RINGS," which was written by a handsome, virile genius and will be on shelves soon and is available for preorder.
Reportedly, there's area in there that details more of the dynamic around Brady, Bill Belichick and Mr. Kraft following the Super Bowl loss to the Eagles. Essentially the stuff we saw covered by the grim finale of "Tom vs. Time" and has been hashed out in an almost infinite number of conversations during the time of the Pliability War of 2017-18. It's old ground being covered again. And pretty much confirmed by Brady's decision to go snow-birding in Tampa for the next couple of seasons. From NBC Sports Boston:
Tom Brady asked Robert Kraft to honor an unwritten a verbal agreement the two men made in 2010.
The agreement? To let Brady leave the team if he felt the relationship with Bill Belichick had become too strained. …
“Tommy, if you want to go, you can go,” Kraft told Brady on a phone call during that time. …
Kraft’s paramount concern (after the Super Bowl) was the dynamic between Beichick and Brady. Belichick’s decision to banish (Brady’s body coach and TB12 business partner, Alex) Guerrero from the sideline and the team plane in the middle of the 2017 season had been a tipping point. Kraft knew that Belichick’s methods were grinding on Brady. He also knew that Belichick was tired of the exceptions that Kraft felt were necessary to accommodate a transcendent star. The differences of opinion between Brady and Belichick were more pronounced than ever. Kraft wanted to clear the air.
Soon after, Benedict writes, Kraft summoned Brady and his wife Gisele Bündchen to his home for a discussion. Bündchen took up for Brady. After pointing out how much Brady had done for the organization:
She also pointed out how ridiculous it was that after all these years, Belichick still treated Brady like “f Johnny Foxboro.” It was bad enough to never voice approval. It was bullshit to still be dressing down the most accomplished quarterback in league history during team meetings and treating his personal trainer and best friend like some kind of outcast.
When the conversation shifted to the future, Brady and Bündchen indicated it was time for them to make some changes that were in the best interest of their family. Among other things, they were contemplating a change of scenery.
Like I said, this is pretty much old news. And assuming it's true - which I do - it explains why Brady is now the face of the losingest franchise in the NFL instead of chasing his seventh ring in Foxboro. As with so many men in committed relationships, the major, Earth-shattering, history-making life decision he made was all about satisfying his significant other. Happy wife, happy life and all that.
If I had to guess, I'd wager that while Brady was probably pissed about Belichick limiting Alex Guerrero's access and wanted to see his fitness guru/life coach let back on the plane and in the building, he understood the decision. Maybe even respected it. Brady was never anything if not a guy who appreciated the hierarchy of the team. That there's a guy who gives orders and a bunch of guys who follow orders and they are there to defend democracy, not to practice it.
Two things I can't picture is Brady being bothered about the way Belichick coached him or going over his head to RKK. First, because he's a battler and always was. Brady is a horse who likes to be ridden hard. He was always a hyper-competitive rage monster, motivated by an insatiable appetite for destroying the opposition, not having his ego stroked. And a guy who respected the authority of the man, the staff and the system that have him the opportunity to rewrite the record books and set a standard of success that will never be duplicated. Too much to ever go behind his back and complain to ownership. I cannot imagine why suddenly that would reverse as he approached 40. Men don't change who they are on a fundamental level like that.
What does change is your wife's ability to see her husband disrespected, whether real or imagined. I'll bet that Brady could've listened to Belichick's harangues the rest of his life, but Gisele couldn't listen to him talk about listening to them another season. It's how wives are hard-wired. To protect the emotional well being of their loved ones.
My own alluring Irish Rose is someone with a generally sunny disposition and a positive outlook. Until she perceives a slight directed at her devoted husbandm no matter how minor it is. Then she goes full feral mother bear. Stuff that barely registers with me will make the claws come out and she will not leave a scrap of meat on your bones. Old bosses I've had giving me grief. Lousy co-workers not pulling their weight. Business dealing where she thought I was being taken advantage of. My lifelong friends just being dicks. A family member blowing off an invitation for whatever. Hell hath no fury like a woman who's husband has been scorned.
I've believed all along that is what was going on here. Gisele wanted her beloved husband praised for all he's done and Belichick has made himself into the most successful coach in history doing the opposite. By treating success is it's own reward. By employing military grade negative reinforcement. But watching game film and saying, "Look at that throw, Brady. I could get the quarterback of Foxboro High School to make that throw and you miss it," because that's what he considers coaching. You'll get a sincere "I love you" standing in the middle of a confetti shower on the field of the Gigantodome, and that will have to tide you over until the next championship. He wasn't going to change. Not even for the GOAT. And why should he, when his way has served him (and his team's owner) so well for so long?
Anyway, it's pretty obvious reading this that it confirms all my previous assumptions. Brady had to choose between his head coach and his wife, because she had reached the limits of her tolerance with the way things are done in Foxboro. And he chose the latter:
And as a happily married man of 26 years, I don't begrudge Brady his decision. All I know is my wife would never give me the same ultimatum. Because she knows who I'd choose.