In his conference call on Monday, Bill Belichick said that Tom Brady leaving for Tampa was “water under the bridge.” Huh?

Watching the reaction to these words by Big Jim Murray on 98.5 The Sports Hub's "Felger and Mazz" (simulcast on NBC Sports Boston weekdays, 2-6) had me laughing so hard it hurt. It hurt on two fronts. 

First of all, Murray was just flat out hilarious. Secondly, it was painful to hear Belichick treat the greatest quarterback of all-time as if he was a fourth-round pick he had just sent out the door for a fifth and sixth-rounder in 2023. Can never have enough picks you know… 

…and Belichick had better make them count because free agents are not coming here anytime soon. Especially at a discount and especially with what the coach said — or didn’t say — about Tom Brady.  

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As Tony Mazz pointed out on the same show, BB’s word count was 4 to 1 when comparing the tongue bath he gave Jimmy Garoppolo upon his departure to Brady's. Great job by Mazz, but without games things are really slow at his house.  

While I found all of this extremely entertaining, it hammered home the point I made the night prior on "Arbella Early Edition," which follows Felger and Mazz on NBC Sports Boston. I stated players will not want to come to New England anymore.  


The Patriots are no longer a favorite to get that player a Super Bowl ring.  


They do not pay. As we know, Belichick likes the word "value."  

The coach disrespected the greatest quarterback of all time, who by the way was underpaid throughout his career.  

We all know how important the word respect is to the pro athlete. It’s right there with money and most cases it’s the same thing, but in this situation it’s separate.

“With the way this coach brushed off Tom F%$#!* Brady, how is he going to treat me?” is a question any free agent would ask himself. 

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Look, the only reason Randy Moss, Corey Dillon and Darrelle Revis worked out in New England? Yes, it's because they wanted a ring, but they also knew if Brady took Bill’s hard coaching ways, they could too.  

I understand Moss and Dillon were trades, but do you see disgruntled yet talented players buying into the Patriot Way now? Not a chance.

How about a draft pick that actually works out and develops into a great player? Do you think they will stay in New England for less cash for the good of the team? Home-team discount Tedy Bruschi is not walking through that door.  

This all surprised me because Belichick has been a coach who has always changed with the times. He has changed defensive schemes, put his foot on the gas in 2007 when Brady turned into Dan Fouts and recently has become more about days off and field trips to the movies than training camp. 

No one has adjusted to the times better than Bill, but on Monday he fumbled. What would it have hurt to speak glowingly about a six-time champion?

Raving about Brady’s mental preparation, ability in the clutch and team loyalty wouldn’t have led his current players to fear their coach less. They just would have respected him more.