As Tom Brady has gotten older — and closer to his health guru Alex Guerrero — his values no longer align with his head coach Bill Belichick.
Brady has also gotten other Patriots players, most notably the team's star tight end Rob Gronkowski, into Guerrero's methods.
Now, there appears to be tension between the two which could be turning other players against Belichick and threatening one of the most successful partnerships in NFL history.
Some more details on the relationship between Tom Brady and Bill Belichick have emerged, thanks to an interview with Tom Curran of NBC Sports Boston on Mike Florio's podcast PFT PM. In the interview, Curran tells a fascinating story of how Brady and Belichick's relationship has shifted over time, and how that change has gone on to disrupt the larger Patriots locker room.
Early in his career, Curran says, Brady was, "A very, very good soldier who never wanted to be a lieutenant."
"But over the course of time, you know, taking less money, seeing players who he valued very much, jettisoned or nickel and dimed or who went out the door, along with the team success, I think started to wear on him," Curran said of Brady.
"As did Belichick's very present inclination towards negativity. And as the 2010s have worn on, you know I think Brady has become more and more spiritual, positive, his wife has exercised a lot of influence on him, so has Alex Guerrero, who he's very close with, in the importance of positivity, in the importance of lifestyle and life choices. And a lot of those are at complete loggerheads with what Belichick needs to run the team."
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The drafting of Jimmy Garoppolo pushed Brady and Belichick further apart, as Brady, in Curran's telling, was incensed that the team had drafted his would-be successor and became determined to hold on to the starting job.
"And what has happened, he's absolutely been historic: 2014, that Super Bowl comeback against the Seahawks, 2016, the comeback against Atlanta. No player will ever match that," Curran said.
But that Super Bowl may have helped lead to the current tension between Brady and Belichick.
"After winning the fifth Super Bowl, he really made a conscious turn, after that. Maybe it was his mother's mortality. Maybe it was the historic nature of the win. But . . . They also became more out there with the TB12 stuff," Curran said. "All that stuff runs absolutely positively diametrically counter to what Bill Belichick has been all about."
That did not prevent Brady from getting Gronkowski into Guerrero's method after the former suffered another injury. But Belichick did not care for how Gronkowksi's new fitness approach had changed him.
"And then finally, when training camp started, and Belichick and [the Patriots strength coach] couldn't get Gronk to do a squat, and Gronk looked horrible, that's when the flashpoint really started," Curran says.
For some time now stories have circulated that Brady's relationship with Guerrero is a significant source of tension within the team and that this tension is threatening the most successful coach-quarterback partnership in NFL history. And Curran himself has said in a recent column that Brady is beginning "an open revolt" against Belichick and his methods.
Brady and Belichick have been the faces of one of the greatest sports dynasties of all time. Now, it appears that a change in that relationship could be what brings about the end of that dynasty.
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