Ever since March of 2020 when Tom Brady announced his plans to leave the New England Patriots after winning six Super Bowls, the sports world has been grappling with a provocative question.
Why did he leave the team after 20 years after so much unprecedented success? Why not play two or three more years there and retire staying with the same team throughout?
Did his coach, Bill Belichick, cut him like he had so many other star players who were on the downside of their careers? Was money the issue? Did the two men – the best coach and NFL quarterback ever — just not get along?
Were their egos too big to endure any more time on the same team? Were they so alike in their determination to win and control everything around them that they drove each other crazy?
And now with Brady headed to the NFL championship game this weekend, is he on the path to winning his seventh Super Bowl – which would be one more than Belichick – and give Brady the undisputed claim as the greatest performer, player, or coach, in the league’s history?
Dynasty, an extraordinarily well-researched, 578-page book written by Jeff Benedict and published in 2020, delivers deeply personal and fascinating insights and answers to these questions.
The book traces this incredible and unique story from the beginning when Robert Kraft angled to buy the team, to the franchise turning into the greatest in NFL history, to the last and final meeting between Brady, Kraft, and Belichick.
In this review, you’ll find several of the most telling anecdotes and conversations that provide clues for answering this question of why Brady departed and whether he’ll win an incredible seven Super Bowls.
Psychological make-up of Belichick and Brady
We’ll start by delving into Belichick’s psychological make-up, hard-core decisions, and philosophy on winning, and his penchant for tough-minded and physically tough players. We’ll explore those same characteristics, and his approach to the game and leading teammates, in Brady.
Then we’ll zero in on a few of the most serious interpersonal tensions and competitive dynamics between these two unusual, gifted, fiercely competitive, and intelligent men.
These tensions will lead to an explanation of the delicate balancing act Kraft had to pull off to keep these two most important linchpins to the Patriots dynasty intact despite their personality differences and super-human characteristics.
Then we’ll share excerpts from the book about how this all came crashing down, the meetings and conversations, the chess-playing, the incidences when things went unsaid when meetings broke down and the end became inevitable.
At the end of this series of reviews, we’ll offer several other theories on why this remarkable break-up happened.
Randy Moss on his first day with the Patriots
Let’s start with this revealing — and memorable — event. It’s Randy Moss’s first day with the team in 2007. The star wide receiver sits in the team meeting room.
Immediately Belichick shows video of every mistake the team made in the second half of the team’s 21-3 loss in the AFC championship game the season before. One mistake belonged to quarterback Tom Brady who had thrown an inaccurate pass.
“What kind of a f—ing throw is this?” yelled Belichick at Brady who was sitting in the front row. “I can get f—ing Johnny Foxboro from down the street to make a better f—ing throw than this.”
The author writes:
Brady showed no expression while taking notes.
“Oh my God,” Moss thought to himself: Here’s the highest-paid player on the team, the most successful quarterback in the NFL, the leader of the most successful franchise of the field, and off the field America’s most famous football player.
“For him to just call out Brady,” said Moss, was striking.
At that point, he realized this new organization he had joined would place a high value on accountability, that players would be held to an extremely high standard or Belichick would cut them in an instant.
It’s this atmosphere of high-pressure to perform to extraordinarily high standards – and how players deal with a coach demanding perfection or he will cut them — that permeates this entire book.
In part 2 of this review to be published in the coming days, we’ll focus on the toughness of Belichick and Brady, how they clashed, and how Kraft had to play peacemaker to keep the dynasty together.
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