Bill Belichick will face his best pupil Sunday night at Gillette Stadium.
Tom Brady returns to New England for the first time as a visitor Sunday when his Tampa Bay Buccaneers take on Belichick's Patriots. And while much has been made about the reported tension between Brady and Belichick that led to Brady's departure, the quarterback and head coach had one of the most successful relationships in professional sports for two decades.
An upcoming ESPN documentary titled "Man in the Arena" will offer a glimpse into that relationship. On Friday, the network dropped a teaser clip that features Brady discussing how Belichick helped the young Patriots QB develop into a star.
"I had Coach Belichick there to teach me," Brady says in the documentary. "Every Tuesday we would meet and go through the entire defensive starting lineup and their strengths and weaknesses: what we could attack, what he was watching and how I could see the things that he saw so I could gain confidence and anticipate."
The clip also shows footage from a Patriots practice in which Belichick instructs a young Brady about the nuances of clock management.
"As soon as (the referee) made the ball ready for play after the 10-second runoff, he wound the clock," Belichick tells Brady. "So, you want to make all the point-outs and everything .. and go, right?"
It's a pretty fascinating early look into the Brady-Belichick relationship, which in many ways was the perfect match: an extremely driven quarterback willing to do whatever it takes to win paired with arguably the most detail-oriented and knowledgeable coach of all time.
That partnership produced six Super Bowl titles and nine AFC Championships over 20 seasons before Brady finally left in 2020 free agency.
Might that partnership have continued if both sides handled things differently during their final years together? Possibly. But the body of Brady and Belichick's work still overshadows how things ended last March.
"Man in the Arena" -- which is directed and co-produced by Religion of Sports' Gotham Chopra, who created the 2018 "Tom Vs Time" Facebook documentary series -- will debut in November on ESPN+.