Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady's relationship with his longtime former New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick has been a topic of discussion even before their eventual split in March 2020.
The duo, which won six Super Bowls and nine AFC championships during 20 seasons together, were once again the topic of discussion during the final episode of Brady's Man in the Arena special for ESPN+ and the 44-year-old quarterback said he had a "really great relationship" with the legendary coach, though it was a business-first mindset.
“Coach Belichick and I had for so many years a really great relationship — but it was always player-coach. He was there to coach football, I was there to play football,” Brady said in the ESPN+ special as transposed by WSB-TV. “He had always said there’s nobody I’d rather have play quarterback for our team than you, and I felt that same way about him as a coach.
“I had a great relationship with Coach Belichick. I think he wanted a quarterback to show up every day and put the team first, and I wanted a coach that showed up every day and put the team first. And we found an amazing working relationship together. And I think he was the best coach I could ever ask for," Brady added. “We had our challenges at different moments, but they were just moments. They don’t define what the relationship was. And in the end we accomplished things that no one had ever accomplished in NFL history.”
Belichick's quick embrace with his longtime former quarterback Tom Brady after their first matchup as opponents on October 3 did little to silence questions regarding a possible falling out in their 20-plus-year relationship.
However, the two apparently shared a private moment away from cameras after the on-field postgame hug that followed the Buccaneers' 19-17 win in New England.
The Athletic's Jeff Howe reported Belichick "was in the Bucs locker room for 23 minutes" and "walked out with Brady" after the game, adding that the two "planned to meet up after the game, so they coordinated this meeting beforehand."
Brady also confirmed the meeting during his postgame press conference, though opted to keep details of his conversation with his former coach private.
"We've had a lot of personal conversations that should remain that way," Brady said via ESPN's Mike Reiss. "They’re very private. I would say, so much is made of our relationship. … Nothing is really accurate that I ever see."
Belichick's brief on-field hug with Brady was caught during NBC Sports' postgame coverage of the quarterback's his first and only game against his former team.
While several other Patriots coaches and players with past ties to Brady were also captured giving the seven-time Super Bowl champion much more emotional embraces after the game, Belichick's was brief and seemed rushed.
CBS Minnesota sports anchor Norman Seawright III tweeted that the hug was, "giving 'ran into my ex in public and completely overthought the situation'" vibes.
During Belichick's October 1 Zoom call with reporters, the six-time Super Bowl champion was asked if he believed he would've had the same success without Brady in New England, which he answered with an emphatic, "no."
“Of course not,” Belichick said via CBS Boston. “We talked about that for two decades. I think I have been on the record dozens of times saying there is no quarterback I’d rather have than Tom Brady. I still feel that way.
“I was very lucky to have Tom as quarterback and to coach him,” Belichick added. “He was as good as any coach could ever ask for.”