The Big Idea
The definitive story of the New England Patriots dynasty, covering from before Robert Kraft bought the team to Tom Brady leaving the Patriots in 2020
Brady’s biggest fear was to end up being a one-hit wonder
9/10 – even if you’re a diehard football fan, there are a ton of nuggets and insights about the Patriots and the NFL in general. A fun trip down memory lane for an NFL fan who grew up in the 2000s
Tippett ended up laminating the racist advice on a piece of paper the size of a business card and sticking in his wallet. He would end up working in the Patriots front office for twenty-five years. The statement remained in his wallet the entire time. “I carry that quote with me as a reminder that I can never let my guard down,” Tippett said in 2019. “And never stop working hard and never think that we’re all on the same level. Because it is not a level playing field. I tell my kids, ‘It’s not what you know. It’s who you know.’ ”
“I’m trying to build a system for the long term that makes us excellent year in and year out,” Kraft continued. “I don’t think you can do it on intuition.”
When facing big decisions, Robert Kraft lived by a rule: Measure nine times and cut once. It
Brady’s exceptional home life, however, was what ultimately convinced him to head east. “I needed to grow up,” Brady said. “I was a California kid, surrounded by three sisters. I needed to toughen up. There wasn’t a lot of adversity in my life. So I decided, ‘I have to go away for school.’ ” When Tom signed his letter of intent to attend Michigan, his father cried for two days.
Belichick was encouraged by the fact that the youngster was so malleable. He truly wanted to be coached. He responded affirmatively to constructive criticism. And he never made the same mistake twice.
His biggest fear was to end up being a one-hit wonder.
Brady was looking for things that he could incorporate into his own approach: What makes him tick? How does he continue to stay motivated? How does he keep the edge?
He revered his father so much that he once said if his father had been a fireman, he would have chosen firefighting for a career. He instead chose coaching as a profession because he was a coach’s son. Football in the Belichick home had always been so much more than a game.
Brady couldn’t look to other players for inspiration. He had to generate his drive from within. To sharpen his mental and emotional acuity, he looked to nontraditional sources.
Your body is your asset.
Now at thirty-nine, my arm never hurts. My body never hurts. Even after I get banged up, I know how to take care of it and jump on it right away so that I can feel good for a Wednesday practice. It really allows you to continue to improve because you can practice.”