This is the last in a series of articles about the book Dynasty that focuses on Tom Brady and Bill Belichick.
So what are we supposed to take away from this book called Dynasty? What are we to make of Brady and Belichick and why the dynasty is no longer?
Here are some final thoughts.
Kraft played an unusual and big role
Robert Kraft’s role in the building of his dynasty was more important than many people may realize. It started with his gut intuition after meeting with Belichick that he would be the perfect fit to coach the Patriots.
Many NFL insiders advised against this because Belichick had an underwhelming head coaching performance with the Cleveland Browns and, more importantly, a peculiar, less-than-charming personality that many warned would not translate to success as a head coach.
Despite the naysayer’s warnings, he did it anyway. His belief in the greatness within this coach was as shrewd an insight as Belichick’s insight about the great potential of Tom Brady when so many others didn’t see it.
From a relationship perspective, the book brings to life what many may not know: Kraft and Brady were close friends probably more so than any athlete has ever been with a franchise owner. They traveled to Europe together in the off-seasons.
Kraft grew tight with Brady’s parents. They talked frequently and told each other often “I love you.” Truly, it was like father and son.
Kraft mostly focused on keeping Brady happy and feeling good about himself because he knew how important it was to keep Brady on the team and because he genuinely liked him. Belichick was his other authority figure enforcing the discipline and making him feel he needed to accomplish more by working hard.
It’s clear after reading this book that Kraft became the protector of Brady against Belichick. The quarterback could go to his owner’s house and have dinner and have someone in the organization who treated him well and didn’t criticize him.
Had Brady not had Kraft to lean on and gain emotional support, the dynasty may have never become one because Brady may have gotten fed up with Belichick’s criticisms after a few years and left the team much earlier.
Kraft knew he had to keep Brady and Belichick together and he knew Belichick would never be friends or emotionally nurturing to his quarterback. So Kraft filled that void. And it kept them together so they did become a dynasty.
Belichick didn’t “cut” Brady per se
Before reading this book, I had assumed Belichick had cut Brady or didn’t offer him as much money as Brady wanted, which insulted him and motivated him to leave.
But that’s not exactly how it played out. Kraft’s role in these final negotiations turned out to be large. And Belichick stayed in the background knowing Kraft wanted Brady to remain a Patriot. He was ready to move on from Brady in 2017, according to the book, but unlike with other players, he didn’t make the move because Brady had a tight relationship with Kraft and his quarterback was an unusual type of player and star.
Brady’s main frustration: Didn’t feel appropriately appreciated
The core frustration Brady had – and the biggest reason he wanted to leave — was Belichick’s unwillingness to express to Brady the depth of his appreciation often enough, and his constant criticism. As a legitimate superstar, Brady got tired of working harder than everyone else and having a coach that didn’t tell him how much he valued his work ethic.
Brady spoke about this issue in a press interview when asked if he felt appreciated.
“Man, that is a tough question I think everybody, in general, wants to be appreciated at work. The people that work with me are trying to get the best out of me. So they treat me in a way that they feel is going to get the best out of me.”
That’s an explanation, but it doesn’t say how Brady feels about that treatment. I think he got tired of not being praised enough for all his amazing accomplishments and the astounding amount of time and effort he invested.
It’s obvious both these men were (and still are) hypercompetitive, have big egos, and love to win. But what makes the competitive dynamic between the two of them especially unusual shows up in the incident when Belichick forces Brady to stop passing to Deion Branch in practice.
Feeling slighted, humiliated, and underappreciated, Brady went to his natural reaction: crush his opponent in this case, his coach. He wanted to demolish his coach’s defense because he had been disrespected.
Players often don’t like their coaches and egos clash often, but Belichick was dealing with an unusual player who, in his quiet way, wanted not just to beat his coach. He wanted to “smash” him.
That’s seriously competitive. You can see why someone like that who feeds off being disrespected would boil over eventually and decide to leave as Brady did.
Two reasons Belichick was especially tough on Brady
So why did Belichick treat Brady so harshly?
Two main reasons: First, he believed if he was tough on Brady, the other players would understand he didn’t play favorites and expected every guy on the team to play to their highest potential.
That worked for the team and Belichick – they won six Super Bowls. But Brady had to endure the brunt of that constant criticism even though he was a perfect employee doing everything a coach could possibly ask him to do to get better. Brady brought glory and fame to Belichick and didn’t feel his coach gave him enough credit for that. So he felt unfulfilled.
Belichick felt jealous of Brady
Belichick also felt jealous of Brady’s fame. He was never going to be on all the national magazine covers as Brady was. No matter how hard he worked as a coach and how many Super Bowls he won, he was never going to get the limelight he felt he deserved. He had to share it with his star player and actually got less adulation because Brady got so much.
This bothered Belichick, I believe. And so he took it out on his player not just to make him play better but because he envied Brady’s star power and popularity that he was never going to get no matter how many football games his teams won.
As clever and innovative as he was, Belichick could never quite figure out how to handle a superstar quarterback who was given a ton of credit for all the Super Bowls when the coach felt he deserved just as much – if not more – credit.
The books sum up this dynamic:
“The one thing Belichick hadn’t quite figured out was how to treat an enigmatic global player who had become a world-famous icon. Brady had become the genius’s conundrum.”
Why Brady will win his 7th Super Bowl this year
After reading this book, you gain a much deeper appreciation for how different a human being Tom Brady is from the rest of us and why I believe he’ll win his seventh Super Bowl next month.
It all starts with Belichick. Brady wants to beat Belichick. And that means winning his seventh Super Bowl to be alone and ahead of Belichick for the all-time leader.
He wants to beat Belichick because this coach ticked him off constantly. When Brady gets mistreated or slighted, the fire inside him burns like an inferno none of us can even relate to or if we can, we’re not as determined as Brady to work as hard. As he prepares for this weekend’s game against the Packers, he’ll be thinking about smashing Belichick, not the Packers.
Nothing motivates Brady more than when someone tells him he isn’t good enough, which Belichick did constantly. For years and years, Brady tolerated Belichick’s harassment and the only reason he stayed as long as he did was because Kraft took care of his emotional needs and told him how great he was because Belichick did not or could not.
Brady’s keenly aware that now is his chance, with his career approaching its finality, to shut up everybody who has ever questioned whether Belichick – and not Brady – is more responsible for the six Patriots Super Bowls. He knows it. And he’s proven non-stop in his career that when he gets his big chances, he capitalizes.
And it’s because he outworks everybody – even Belichick. One of the reasons his coach had difficulty coaching him, I believe, is because Brady worked so hard that even Belichick couldn’t keep up and it wore out and frustrated the workaholic coach.
Football rewards those who prepare the most and the best. Brady’s better at this than anybody in the sports world – and virtually any other profession. Have no doubt, he’ll be ready for the Packers, more ready than Rodgers or anyone else on either team including both coaches.
And he’ll win. Then onward he’ll march to the Super Bowl. He’ll out-prepare everyone involved with that game and will perform better. And we’ll all have to admit, unequivocally and forever, that Brady’s the biggest reason the Patriots won six Super Bowls, that he’s better than even the superb Belichick because Brady will make sure through raw determination and sweat that he is the ultimate victor.
Still, there are unanswerable questions
Still, we’re left with this unanswerable but endlessly fascinating question. Why did he leave? It seems Brady had had enough of Belichick controlling his life, pushing him to achieve more. Brady seems to have concluded he was never going to get the appreciation from his coach that we craved. So he felt he’d be happier someplace else.
But here’s the thing: Neither Brady, Belichick, or Kraft ever really admits definitively that any of these reasons are why he left. It’s probable, but we don’t know for sure and likely never will because these three men will keep this a mystery.
In a similar way, we’ll never know for sure which of these two men deserves the most credit for the Patriots winning six Super Bowls, Brady of Belichick, even if Brady wins seven?
The answer is both, of course. But which one had more to do with this success?
We’ll never know.
It’s the great mystery of everlasting mystique about the New England Patriots dynasty – the greatest in NFL history.
But it sure was and continues to be, fascinating theatre to watch because Belichick and Brady are rare, deeply complicated, and in many ways admirable human beings.