In one of the great passive/aggressive flexes of his career, Tom Brady took time out of his virtual press conference to remind everyone that this was a unique experience for him. “This is a crazy Media Day," he said. "I’m sitting here in an empty room. This is very different than the other nine experiences.” The GOAT. Just casually unzipping and rolling it out like a fire hose. Showing the Chiefs and Patrick Mahomes and the assembled media the discoverable universe what true sustained greatness sounds like.
Inevitably, he was asked about the more important reason his 10th Super Bowl trip is different than Super Bowl trips one through nine. The question was whether Brady has a "message" for Bill Belichick. Warning: The following contains extreme language and real human emotion and is not intended for all audiences. Reader discretion is advised.
“I have a great relationship with him,” he said. “I’m just incredibly grateful for what he’s meant in my life as a coach. He’s everything you could ask for as a player.
“I loved my time and two incredible decades there. My football journey took me to a different place. I certainly could never have accomplished the things in my career without his support and his teachings.
“Incredible coach and mentor for me, had a lot of those in my career, but obviously he’s at the top of the list.”
And I'm spent. This was a two tissue interview for all of New England. It's OK to be sorry that it's over. Sometimes relationships need to change, but that doesn't mean they have to end. When I worked in Family & Probate Court there was one judge who would finalize divorces with the words, "You are no longer married, but you will always be parents." And Brady and Belichick will forever share custody of a brood of six banners.
The cynic in you may think this is simply Brady flexing on Belichick as well. Or just talking in platitudes about someone who is in his rearview, will never be in his life again, and someone for whom he no longer has feelings other than bitterness and contempt. But the hopeless romantic in me chooses to believe the opposite. Both men needed a change, but there's is a bond that endures. And will forever. It's the bond of the two best there have ever been in their respective field and appreciate all that they accomplished together.
This feels like the time not long ago when I read an interview with John Lennon from 1980 where he mentioned Paul McCartney was hanging out at the Dakota with him watching TV, a full decade after The Beatles split up. Because I was led to believe they couldn't stand to be in the same room together, much less be each other's house guests. Maybe it shouldn't matter when old colleagues still have feelings for each other. But it does. You may say I'm a dreamer. But I'm not the only one.
So good for Brady and for Belichick. The only time I've ever come close to having this kind of gut reaction to a Media Day was that other time Brady was asked about one of his mentors.
Message: Delivered. I'm gonna need a bigger box of Kleenex.