Ian O'Connor: Belichick could have won with another QB that was good

October 24, 2018 - 5:47 pm

With the Buffalo Bills preparing to face the New England Patriots on Monday night, fans know two people in the Patriots organization all too well in quarterback Tom Brady and head coach Bill Belichick. ESPN's Ian O'Connor, the author of "Belichick", joined Schopp and Bulldog on Wednesday to talk more on the most successful QB-head coach duo in NFL history: 

On if Bill Belichick would have won Super Bowls without Tom Brady: 

"Bill found that special player in the knick of time. Do I think that he could have won multiple championships with another quarterback? Yes, if that quarterback was a very good one. But with Brady, he got a little lucky and got very good and found the player to get his own greatness out of him and that's why they've won 5 championships." 

On what Belichick saw in Brady: 

"Early in 2001, Belichick and Scott Pioli, his GM, they really liked Brady. They thought Brady was coming on like a freight train and they were looking for opportunities to get him under center. Now, they didn't wish a near-fatal injury on (Drew) Bledsoe, which is what that was with the internal bleeding. But when Brady got the chance to play, they were not unhappy." 

On if Belichick was possibly going to be fired by New England in 2001: 

"I'm thinking 'Belichick is about to get fired.' He went 5-11 in his first year in New England, now he's about to go 0-2. So 5-13 overall, his $100 million quarterback in Bledsoe is out indefinitely and in trots a sixth round pick... All of us there thought Belichick was in real trouble. I do know... Robert Kraft was already worried he might have to fire him after year two and he didn't want to do that. Belichick was worried, everyone was worried, because they didn't know what they had in Brady."

On the rumors of discord between Belichick and Brady: 

"As late as late March, Brady was still thinking of walking away rather than playing one more season for Belichick. It was DEFCON 1. It was really in a fragile place with their relationship. There's three reasons why. One, Brady being coached for 18 years in a very unrelenting, unforgiving way by Belichick sort of wore him down."

"Two, Alex Guerrero, that situation with Belichick cutting team access to him after giving it to him many years ago. That really angered Brady and also the Malcolm Butler benching in the Super Bowl. Brady was really angered by that, as were many Patriots. Belichick in a lot of ways lost the locker room by doing that."

"(Brady) seriously thought of either retiring or asking for his release. The reason why he didn't? Because talking about playing to age 45 as often as he did, after compelling the organization to trade his successor, Jimmy Garoppolo, had he walked away he would have become the bad guy in the drama. And he did not want that fan base that adores him to turn on him." 

You can hear more from O'Connor with Schopp and Bulldog below: 

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