ORLANDO – The last moments of the last episode of Tom Brady’s documentary “Tom vs. Time” concluded with Brady seeming philosophical.
After the loss to the Eagles in Super Bowl 52, Brady said reflectively from his couch, “It’s a big commitment, laying here three days after the game and getting my Achilles worked on and my thumb,” Brady said. “You go, ‘What are we doing this for?’ You know? ‘What are we doing this for, who are we doing this for, why are we doing this?’ You gotta have answers to those questions. And they have to be with a lot of conviction. You know, when you lose your conviction then you probably should be doing something else.”
The tenor of those comments insinuated that Brady would have to find the reasons why all over again so that he could play with the same conviction. Filmmaker Gotham Chopra has backed up that interpretation repeatedly since.
Asked Sunday evening about Brady’s state-of-mind, Belichick essentially said that, if Brady has an issue with anything, the head coach looks forward to hearing it directly from Brady rather than interpreting the film.
“So, I’ve had direct conversations with Tom many times over a long period of time,” Belichick said. “I’ll rely on those conversations I have with him directly rather than something else. Tom and I have always had a good line of communication, we’ve always been able to talk directly with each other. I don’t see that changing. I’ll rely on those instead of . . . anything else.”
I also asked Belichick how -- over the course of 19 seasons together -- Brady has changed.
Belichick was unspecific but said, “Everything’s an evolution and everything’s different. Things change. Guys go from not being experienced to experienced. We all have a lot of things along the way that happen to us and we all learn from them. We’re always evolving. It evolves every year. Every day, every week, every month, every game plan.”
There’s no arguing Brady altered his approach over the past year. His 2017 off-field brand marketing was vastly different (Tom vs. Time being a prime example of that). His wife, Gisele Bundchen, made allusions to Brady wanting to “go to work and feel appreciated and have fun” in the last Tom vs. Time as well.
For all their success, the Patriots have always been built on urgency with a dash of fear and a sprinkle of negativity. “Do Your Job” and “No Days Off” are catchphrases that look awesome on T-shirts but, for the first time, Brady gave indications that the relentlessness of the chase was starting to wear on him.
As far as Belichick seems concerned, he’s waiting to hear it for himself.