HOUSTON -- Tom Brady has admitted over the course of the last few years that finding common ground with teammates who are 15 years (or more) younger than he is can be difficult.
He was winning Super Bowls when some of his co-workers were in elementary school. They listen to different types of music. They grew up watching different movies. They've had different life experiences.
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Brady wants to be thought of as one of the guys, though. He wants his teammates to be comfortable with him. He doesn't want to be merely the personification of the player on the poster they had hanging in their rooms as kids.
The way he's treated by coach Bill Belichick, Brady explained Thursday, has helped him achieve that everyman status to some extent.
You see, with Belichick, no one is safe. That means if he sees something he doesn't like from Brady at a practice or on film in a meeting, he'll let the future Hall of Famer have it as though he was a rookie barely hanging onto a roster spot.
"He's trying to do and coach the best way that he can in order to get us to go out there and execute at the highest level possible. I love it," Brady said. "He's certainly a disciplinarian, so in that sense, it's great because when you're the quarterback and your coach does that for you, I don't really have to do any of those things.
"I can be just like one of those other guys. I'm yelled at just like everybody else. But it's nice to feel, especially in my 17th year, that I am one of the guys because I think that's ultimately the best thing for our team."
When Belichick gets on Brady, not only does it help players realize that Brady makes mistakes like anyone else. It also forces them to be even more determined to do every . . . little . . . thing . . . the way they've been taught.
The logic: If Brady can be yelled at, imagine what Belichick might say to me?
"His style, I think, is very conducive to just getting the best out of me, so I think it's a good fit," Brady said. "I probably don't take compliments very well is something you guys probably know covering us, and he doesn't give very many compliments out. I think in that sense, he coaches us hard.
"There's some throws that I make and you throw it 50 yards downfield and hit the guy in stride, and I'm like, 'Damn, that was a pretty good throw.' And I'll look back at him and he'll be looking for the next play. That's just his style."
And Brady wouldn't have it any other way.