Take out meals on Kraft, Brady, Belichick

Patriots

Here’s what we learned from reading Seth Wickersham’s new book.

The Mighty Three of the Patriots: Robert Kraft, Bill Belichick and Tom Brady.

  • Bill Belichick Seth Wickersham

    Seth Wickersham responded to Bill Belichick’s claim that he had never “talked to the guy”

One of the most compelling recurring themes in “Better To Be Feared,” ESPN reporter Seth Wickersham’s in-depth and thoughtful book on Dynastic Patriots, is that Tom Brady’s rise to become a football and sports icon. culture has no history of singular origin.

There were times he announced his arrival (the final training of Super Bowl XXXVI of the Rams) and times he upped his performance to another level and then to another level beyond (the regular season Vengeful 2007).

But as Wickersham revisits and collects in sum, there are so many sliding doors Brady could have walked through that would have altered his storybook football journey, in a significant and possibly negative way.

Would we know that Tom Brady now, if his frustrations at being buried on the Michigan quarterback depth chart had led him to be transferred to the University of California, as he envisioned? Would we ever have met him? What if Bill Belichick hadn’t seen enough in the meager sixth-round pick to decide to keep a fourth quarterback on a slim and understaffed roster in 2000? What if Drew Bledsoe saw Mo Lewis arrive? What if?

For a while – several times – it seemed like Brady, determined to succeed even when others needed to be convinced, would never have the right opportunity. One of the book’s most poignant moments comes as Brady waited in growing frustration to hear his name called in the 2000 NFL Draft. His father, Tom Sr., finds himself searching for the right, straightforward but heartwarming words to tell his son that all athletic careers come to an end at some point. He remembers something a parent once told him at one of the Brady Girls’ softball tournaments.

“You know, Tom,” said the parent, “some of these kids will never progress beyond that point. Some kids peak at 12, some kids peak at 14, some kids don’t do well on their high school team, some peak in college. Sooner or later all the children will explode.

It was something Brady Sr. never thought much of. He found it deep and was about to deliver his version of the sentiment to his devastated son. But then the phone rang. It was Bill Belichick. The Patriots had just made the biggest draft pick in professional sports history.

Wickersham (full disclosure: I hosted a book event for him on Monday night) says Brady whitewashes at the suggestion that luck has been a factor in the Patriots’ success. The reality is that luck is always a factor in any prolonged success in sport. Serendipity has been friends with the Patriots at times and ditched them to others in their six Super Bowl wins in nine visits. But it’s understandable that Brady would choose to believe in hard work, mindfulness, and preparation over good fortune. His journey has not been easy. Still, it has brought him to that rarest altitude in professional sports: he can determine when it ends.

Wickersham’s book is an honest, sprawling, meticulously reported, and beautifully written description of perhaps the greatest and possibly the most unlikely dynasty in modern professional sports. He doesn’t hopscotch from Super Bowl to Super Bowl, but instead draws richly detailed portraits of Brady, Belichick, the Third Dynasty constant at owner Robert Kraft, and how their personalities and relationships have changed over the years. . “Better Be Feared” will not be sent as gifts to Patriots season ticket holders, like Jeff Benedict’s “Dynasty” from Kraftiography.

Belichick said during his weekly WEEI radio appearance last week that he was not sure he had spoken to Wickersham yet. In essence, a statement like this gives the more sensitive old Patriots permission to dismiss the book out of hand, even though Wickersham is quite fair to Belichick throughout.

Anyone familiar with Wickersham’s reporting of the Patriots over the past 20 years – a solid foundation for the book – knows that Belichick is dishonest at best. He’s conversed with the author several times over the decades, and in a vivid scene from the book, Belichick physically demonstrates and mimics the downfall of a quarterback for the author.

Wickersham is more than fair for all the key figures including Belichick. My favorite paragraph in the book might be the author’s assessment of different levels of football understanding among particular groups. At the bottom are “most fans, who get the basics,” with the talk radio hosts rung out. (I would return those two groups.) At the top of the scale, he writes, are “the NFL head coaches; winning NFL head coaches; Super Bowl Winning Head Coaches; and finally, at the height of obscure knowledge and expertise, in a slightly ridiculous corner of American intellectual esotericism, Bill Belichick.

Wickersham also discovers what Brady and Belichick have in common, in addition to a special combination of genius, competitiveness and pure love for the sport. They’re both upbeat in their own way, Brady genuinely, and Belichick dwelling on anything that can go wrong in a game until he’s sure he’s prepared enough to make it all right.

Even though they are now separated, there are still chapters of Brady / Belichick’s story to be written. And any epilogue or postscript still seems a long way off for the two men. But the story of their 20 years together has now been expertly and entertainingly told. “Better to be feared” is the accounting the Patriots dynasty deserves.

Source link

About Homer Yonker

Check Also

City of Oakland | 187th Basic Recruit Academy Graduation

For Immediate Release April 29, 2022 NEW OPDs: 187th Basic Recruit Academy Graduation The Oakland …

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.