Now that the long-awaited reunion between Tom Brady and Bill Belichick is over, both men have some thoughts to get off their chests.
Brady and Belichick, who spent 20 years together in New England, shared a brief on-field embrace and a longer locker room discussion after Brady's Tampa Bay Buccaneers defeated Belichick's Patriots 19-17 at Gillette Stadium on Sunday night.
Brady was asked about those moments following the game, and in his response hinted at some disdain for the publicity surrounding his relationship with his former head coach.
"Yeah, I mean, all those are personal," Brady said in his postgame press conference. "We got a personal relationship, you know, for 20-plus years. He drafted me here. We've had a lot of personal conversations that should remain that way and are very private.
"I would say so much is made of our relationship. You know, as I said earlier this week, from a player's standpoint you just expect the coach to give you everything he's got, and I'm sure as a player that's what he was hoping from me.
"But nothing is really accurate that I ever see. It's all kind of – definitely doesn't come from my personal feelings or beliefs. I got a lot of respect for him as a coach and obviously a lot of respect for this organization and all the different people here that try to make it successful."
The Brady-Belichick relationship came into the spotlight this week when ESPN released excerpts from Seth Wickersham's upcoming book, "It's Better To Be Feared."
Those excerpts detailed major behind-the-scenes drama between Belichick, Brady and team owner Robert Kraft, including Brady saying in 2017 that he didn't want to play for Belichick anymore and discussing with Kraft the possibility of bringing Bill O'Brien in to replace Belichick.
"I don't think I've ever even talked to the guy," Belichick said. "So, you'd have to ask him what his great sources are. I'm not sure."
That Brady decided to leave the Patriots in 2020 free agency is evidence that he was ready to move on from Belichick, and there very well may have been tension behind the scenes in his final years with New England.
But even if that's the case, Brady and Belichick couldn't have won six Super Bowls and nine AFC Championships in New England without a strong relationship, and it appears both parties are a little irked that the focus is on their occasional rough patches instead of their entire body of work over two decades.