The New England Patriots still means everything to Tom Brady.
Fast forward to 2023 and Belichick’s long-term future in Foxborough is under intense scrutiny with the Patriots languishing in the bottom half of the AFC with a 2-8 record on the season.
When asked by Smith whether it could be time for the legendary head coach to finally hang up the headset, Brady said he found it ‘hard to think about’ Belichick not being in New England.
“He’s the best coach in the history of the game,” said Brady.
After a brief pause, a speechless Brady appeared to look off camera as if contemplating the prospect of Belichick retiring.
“The thought of him not being in New England is hard for me to think about,” he eventually continued.
“He prepares the team really well. And ultimately, you got to have a lot of people around you to succeed.
“You gotta have a lot of things in place for the organization to be successful.
“I don’t think he’s probably coaching much different now than when we’re undefeated in 2007. I’m sure he’s preparing the team the same way.”
Brady lifted the Lombardi Trophy six times and won 17 AFC titles under Belichick in an era of unprecedented dominance for the Patriots having famously been the 199th pick out of Michigan at the 2000 NFL Draft.
The 45-year-old sent shockwaves through the NFL in 2022 when he signed for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, ending his 20-year affiliation with New England.
But despite reports suggesting Brady’s departure was prompted by a breakdown in relations with Belichick, the Hall of Fame quarterback moved to defend his former head coach.
“There’s a lot of reasons why teams win or lose. The head coach is a very small part on game day,” he told Smith.
“The quarterback plays a really big part on game day, not the entire thing, but because you touch the ball, you have a big opportunity to impact the game.”
The Pats paid tribute to Brady at their opening game of the 2023 season.
“The NFL is over a century old, and 20 per cent of those years of the NFL the greatest player in the history of the game played right here in Foxborough,” Kraft said in announcing the decision.
“And I’m happy to tell you and your audience that I invited him back, to come here and be with us at the opening game and let the fans in New England thank him for the great service he gave us for over 20 years.
“It will be the beginning of many celebrations to honour Tom Brady and say thank you for what he did for us those 20 years playing for the New England Patriots.”