Predictably, the Tom Brady vs. Bill Belichick debate has dominated the 2020 NFL season.
With Brady leading the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to Super Bowl LV and Belichick's New England Patriots failing to make the postseason without their former quarterback, some already are declaring Brady the "winner" of the divorce.
While reaching the Super Bowl for the first time without Belichick may seem extra special for Brady, the 43-year-old insists that isn't the case. When Westwood One's Jim Gray likened it to Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant's desire to win a championship without longtime teammate Shaquille O'Neal, Brady shut down the comparison with a thoughtful answer.
"I've never once in my life thought about that," Brady told Gray. "That's a very hypothetical situation for me to -- you know, I think that's definitely a conversation that people like to have because in the end it just can create some entertainment. Coaches don't play and players don't coach. You need great coaches and you need great players. And that's the way that sports works. It's not an individual sport, it's a team sport. And the only thing that does is, again, it tries to create division either inside your team that the outside wants to tear apart what you have accomplished.
"I don't think that's an argument that I've ever wanted to be a part of, thought to be a part of. I've greatly appreciated what I've learned from the coaching mentors I've had, certainly Coach Belichick. I couldn't be who I am without those amazing coaches that I've had, and I couldn't be the player I am without all the other playing mentors I've had.
"In the end to me, it's all irrelevant. The greatest joy I have in sports is living up to my potential for my team and being the best I can be for my team, and that's what motivates me. That's 100 percent of my motivation.
Brady has been consistent in taking the high road when asked about his former head coach, so it's no surprise to see more of the same here.
The six-time Super Bowl champion will look to earn his seventh ring Sunday night with a victory over Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs.