Patriots

'Tom vs. Time' producer reveals what Tom Brady told him about his relationship with Donald Trump

'Tom vs. Time' producer reveals what Tom Brady told him about his relationship with Donald Trump

Many have jumped to judge Patriots quarterback Tom Brady's relationship with president Donald Trump without knowing all of the details.

Gotham Chopra, producer of Brady's Facebook documentary Tom vs. Time, provided some context for Brady's relationship with Trump on NBC Sports Bay Area's "Warriors Insider Podcast." Chopra revealed what Brady told him about the history between him and the President of the United States.

"There's a personal relationship [between Brady and Trump] back in the day, like from way back when he was a kid or -- not kid, but like 2001," Chopra said. "He hosted a Ms. America Pageant, he played a lot of golf with president -- or, you know, Donald Trump at the time. And so, there was a history far before the guy became President Trump. And then, if you actually look now, the conversation's pretty one-sided.

"[Tom Brady] never really talked publicly about these things, never even really thought about them in many ways," Chopra continued. "But all of a sudden was put on blast during this election."

In 2015, a hat with Trump's campaign slogan "Make America Great Again" was spotted in Brady's locker. Chopra explained how the criticism for Brady possessing the hat got out of hand.

"That hat thing happened like way before the election," said Chopra. "It was like the early days, like 'this guy's running for President, kind of crazy'. Like, most of us thought, 'I mean, he's not gonna win'. And so, it just kind of snowballed, and I think those guys live at a level where everything they say or do is so scrutinized."

You can listen to the rest of Chopra's interview on the "Warriors Insider Podcast" below:

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Five takeaways from HBO's documentary 'Belichick and Saban: The Art of Coaching'

Five takeaways from HBO's documentary 'Belichick and Saban: The Art of Coaching'

HBO's behind-the-scenes feature on the relationship between Bill Belichick and Nick Saban debuted for a national audience on Tuesday night and was called "The Art of Coaching." Fitting given that the conversation between Belichick and Saban that began the piece was almost impressionist in nature. 

The audio was intentionally interrupted time and again by a narrator -- "Are you still playing, like, some 3-4 stuff? But mostly out of a lot of sink but with different guys dropping. . ." Saban started to ask Belichick before being muffled -- offering a glimpse into what it might be like to sit in on a football discussion between two of the most successful coaches in the sport's history.

Running more than an hour, leaning on new interviews as well as stock footage compiled by NFL Films over decades, HBO provided plenty in the way of detail on how Belichick and Saban's paths crossed (Navy, of course), their philosophies on coaching, how they impacted each other's careers, and how they were influenced by their fathers. 

Here we'll highlight five of what we deemed the most fascinating moments from the special. 

HOPE FOR THE 2019 PATRIOTS?

We heard about how Belichick and Saban might be distant cousins. ("There aren't that many Croatians around so somewhere down the line we're probably related, distantly," Belichick said smiling.) We heard about Terry Saban's sarcastic streak ("Terry walks in," Belichick said, "and says, 'Oh look at this! Bill Belichick and Nick Saban! The two great football coaches!... I feel so blessed to be in your presence!' That was a very humbling moment for us.") But before all that we heard Belichick's quick assessment of the 2018 season for the Patriots. 

After Saban complimented Belichick for how his defense played en route to winning Super Bowl LIII, Belichick offered an honest review. "Last third of the season we played good," he said. "We were [expletive] for two-thirds of the year. But then it kind of came together."

The Patriots have about a third of the 2019 season left . . . if they end up playing 18 or 19 games. Three regular-season games remain, and depending on how those go, they'll play either three or four postseason games at most. Can this year's team improve late the way last year's did? Belichick would surely rather lament a bad stretch of the season to Saban next offseason after winning another Lombardi Trophy.

INFORMATION OVERLOAD 

Both Belichick and Saban had tales of what it required to access the kind of information that is now available with the push of the button. Saban cut film and taped it back together to get games organized by offense, defense and special teams. Belichick used ice picks with the Colts in 1975 to help organize index cards that had diagrams of opponent plays. Ice picks.

"It was tedious," Belichick said. "But you learned the game."

Of course, now teams -- like the Patriots -- have the ability to upload video of games to their laptops before the team plane has taken off for home. Times have changed.

"Now it's like rushing to do the most important work, the breakdown stuff, so we can get to the other stuff. It always drives me crazy too. We get on the place after a loss. I walk on the plane after a loss. A lot of times the coaches will be there with their computers and everything. I'm like, 'You know, fellas, the reason we got beat is because we can't tackle and we can't force the run. All the rest of this is a bunch of garbage. This isn't about a computer, getting into some space world technology. We can't tackle."

AN ECONOMIST? NOT EXACTLY

At one point in the piece, Belichick might've dispelled a commonly-held assumption about one reason why he's been as successful as he's been. He was an economics major at Wesleyan University, and so if he spots a market inefficiency when it comes to team-building, many (myself included) have referenced his Wesleyan background as the place he likely sharpened his understanding of supply and demand. 

"I'd struggle to say that that's really helped me," Belichick said. "I'd say the biggest thing I learned in college wasn't the material. It was how to solve problems and how to think. How to come up with your own idea and solution to the problem. That's really what our job is, my job is. There are problems every day. What are my options? Are there any variables, or do I just have these options? Pick the best one and figure out how to implement it."

RAIDING STAFFS A NO-NO

When Saban left the Browns in the mid-1990s to become the head coach at Michigan State, HBO pointed out that he didn't take assistants from Belichick's program in Cleveland. That led into an interesting back-and-forth between the two coaches about why they don't look kindly on staffs being raided when one assistant gets a head gig elsewhere. 

Coincidentally, that could be how one might describe what happened to the Patriots this past offseason. Former Patriots defensive play-caller Brian Flores took the head-coaching job in Miami, where former Patriots receivers coach Chad O'Shea became the offensive coordinator, former Patriots corners coach Josh Boyer became the pass-game coordinator/corners coach, and where former Patriots assistant quarterbacks coach Jerry Schupinski landed. 

"We've always had sort of a mutual respect for how we take each other's people," Saban told Belichick. "It's one thing that I always try to emphasize to the guys. What I have a tough time with is we've had however many guys who've worked here who are at Georgia, Tennessee, whoever, wherever. When they get those jobs, and in most cases, you helped them, then they have a hard time understanding why they can't take your people. I want to help you get a job so you can try to take what I've tried to build here and destroy the continuity of what I have. The assistants don't understand why that's not a good thing." 

"I'm happy for the people who've worked hard for me to get opportunities," Belichick said. "I want to see them build their own program. When they try to tear down our program. That's kind of where the line, I feel gets crossed." 

REALITIES OF SOCIAL MEDIA

You had to know this was coming in some way shape or form.

"I hate social media," Belichick said. "We get rid of it whenever we can, [meaning] do things that you don't bring your phone. You just have a conversation with the other person in the eye instead of texting back and forth. 

"But it's the way of the world. [College coaches] deal with it more than we do. It still comes back to fundamental relationships and communication. There's no cell phones out there on the field. You better know what your teammate is doing, you better know what you're doing or you're going to get beat."

While both coaches work with young athletes, Saban's opinion of social media seemed to be derived on the fact that anyone and everyone is now an opinion-maker.

"I think because of social media," Saban said, "they're getting a lot of their positive self-gratification by the communication they have without looking someone in the eye, without developing the relationship with them. I think that's a critical part that they all need to develop and you need to have to have a team. 

"No question. Who cares how many likes you get from 2,000 people you don't even know," Belichick said. "There's 53 guys in the locker room. Those are the 53 that matter. And I don't know if that always gets through or not but we keep pounding away, we keep trying."

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Report: Bill Belichick was 'furious' upon learning of Patriots-Bengals video incident

Report: Bill Belichick was 'furious' upon learning of Patriots-Bengals video incident

The New England Patriots have a major distraction on their hands entering Sunday's game against the Cincinnati Bengals.

Guess what Bill Belichick doesn't like? Distractions.

The Patriots head coach was "furious" upon learning the NFL was investigating his team for illegally taping Cincinnati's sideline in Cleveland during last Sunday's Browns-Bengals game, The Athletic's Jeff Howe reported Tuesday.

New England said in a statement Monday the three-person production crew was in Cleveland to film a team scout for an upcoming episode of "Do Your Job," the team's online video series highlighting the work of staffers behind the scenes.

The production crew had no connection or correspondence with New England's football operations, the team insisted, and Belichick said twice this week he had absolutely no knowledge of their filming before he was notified of the investigation.

The Patriots still could face discipline, however, considering the production crew allegedly violated an NFL rule by reportedly training a camera on the Bengals' sideline for more than eight minutes.

According to Howe, Belichick and his football operations department also could take action.

"The Patriots have also taken steps toward handling the matter internally," Howe wrote. "Those in the production wing fear jobs are at stake."

Howe added a few more details to what we know about the incident so far, including:

-- The three-person Kraft Sports Productions crew included a full-time producer and two independent contractors (an audio technician and video technician).

-- The producer was unaware of the rule that prohibits teams from shooting video of opponents' sidelines, in part because Kraft Sports Productions has permission to shoot the Patriots' sideline during home games.

There's still no word on if or how the NFL will punish the Patriots, but at the very least, the incident has focused unwanted attention on a team that's lost two games in a row.

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