Is Tom Brady leading a revolt against Bill Belichick?

Mike Florio
ProFootball Talk on NBC Sports

On the 18th anniversary of Bill Belichick’s decision to make Tom Brady a Patriot, is Brady actively trying to unmake the Patriots?

The notion that #Tommy is fomenting Foxborough friction would have been inconceivable a year ago. Now, Tom Curran of NBC Sports Boston connects the dots in a way that suggests Brady resides at the center of the storm that keeps gathering around Belichick and his grumpy old man ways.

Curran identifies scattered Patriots who revolted in the past, from Adalius Thomas to Randy Moss to Wes Welker to Logan Mankins. This time, it’s very different.

“The pushback now is being led by Brady,” Curran writes. “And it’s not about one thing, it’s about everything. It’s about the culture. A culture we’ve all celebrated for nearly two decades as being the reason the Patriots from 2001 through 2019 will be the standard by which all American sports dynasties are measured.

“But when the player whose buy-in is most important — Brady — begins an open revolt, then what? What changed? Who changed? How many teammates agree with him? What next?”

Curran’s column lacks hard evidence that would support the proclamation that Brady is leading a “pushback,” or that he has launched an “open revolt.” Curran will join Monday’s PFT PM podcast, where that will surely be one of the questions.

The column contains plenty of quotes from now-former Patriots that suggest a sea change regarding the willingness of players to continuously be mentally and emotionally beaten down by a “zero fun, sir” head coach whose quest to win each and every Super Bowl may not be shared by guys who eventually have a couple of rings (or more) and who decide that life is too short to let it be run by a single-minded, all-consuming, soul-expunging obsession.

Really, how many times can a guy give everything he has to keep scaling a mountain he already has scaled, especially when there’s no clear evidence that all work and no play is the secret to making it to the summit? The Eagles, a far more fun-loving and loose group than the Patriots, won the Super Bowl this year by beating the Patriots, thanks in part to Belichick choosing to send a message to the locker room in a way that kept one of his best defensive players on the bench for four hours.

It’s one thing to process a pair of losses to the Giants that felt like divinely-intervened flukes. It’s quite another to lose the Super Bowl to a team with a head coach who doesn’t expect his players to be robots, thanks in large part to a specific effort by Belichick to remind his robots that they should remain robotic by removing the battery from Malcolm Butler.

For more, check out Monday’s PFT PM podcast. Subscribe here. People seem to like it. If you haven’t tried it, this may be the best day to hear what happens.

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