After Sunday’s Buccaneers win over New England NBC Sports Peter King spoke with Tom Brady about his return to the place where he became a star. The duo also spoke Brady seeing his old coach Bill Belichick again for the first time since he left the franchise two years ago.
King and Brady sat down for a conversation on Monday’s edition of Pro Football Talk that streams live on Peacock at 7 a.m. ET every weekday and re-airs at 9 a.m. ET on NBCSN. Thanks to NBC Sports for sharing some of the highlights of the conversation with us.
Brady to King postgame from the locker room at Gillette Stadium: “I’m tired…I’m really tired. For a regular-season game, that was pretty intense.”
King on Brady’s week: “There was the emotion of the week, of course – Brady returning to the place he put on the football map with two decades of greatness, and playing the coach who was his boss for 20 seasons…But there was exhaustion, too, because of the detective work Brady and his Tampa buddies did to beat the odds. I’m not talking about the odds of a betting line. I’m talking about the odds of figuring out Bill Belichick.”
Brady on the game in Foxborough: “God, is it hard to come in here and win a football game.”
King on Belichick and Brady meeting postgame: “The extraordinary night ended with Belichick himself walking into the Tampa Bay locker room to seek out Brady for a face-to-face they never had in the 18 months since Brady phoned him one night in March 2020 to say he’d be moving on in free-agency.”
Buccaneers QB Blaine Gabbert to King on seeing Belichick walk into the locker room postgame: “We were like, Did we see what we all think we just saw?”
Brady to King on the meeting with Belichick: “It was a very personal, private thing. We’ve always had that type of relationship where we can say things to each other. You know, whoever characterizes our relationship is completely wrong. People want to focus on so much stuff that’s so unimportant. You know? We were together for 20-plus years and we were so productive and successful and I learned so much from him. Loved my experience here, loved my relationship with him.”
Brady to King on Belichick: “We’d known each other for 20-plus years, and when I left here, we just didn’t have a chance – he was out of town – to meet. When I went down to Tampa it was Covid. I was thinking about my season and so was he. It was just, we’ve known each other for a long time, and we didn’t have a chance to talk, and tonight we did, and it was great.”
King on Brady and Belichick: “Both men could be magnanimous Sunday night, because both men – both teams – won here…The Bucs are shaky and beat up and Brady was just okay all game, but that’s the way good teams win sometimes. Belichick won because his quarterback was equal to the moment, and the post-Brady rebuild seems on-track.”
Gabbert to King on how the Buccaneers prepared to face New England’s defense: “What we did this week was look at games throughout the last 10 years of opposing elite-level quarterbacks. We looked at how Belichick played Denver and Peyton [Manning] back in 2013…We picked games and tried to get as much knowledge as we could of what we could potentially see.”
King on Brady: “From the 199th pick in the 2000 draft to being called the greatest player of all time by 2019…that’s some heavy stuff … To return to the scene of his prime, while still being in his prime (odd as that sounds, at 44), is something that very few great ones have done.”
Buccaneers quarterbacks coach Clyde Christensen to King on Brady’s return: “I just think it all weighed on him. I think he went between feeling tremendous pride, tremendous emotion and tremendous pressure.”
King on the Patriots: “It was best for everyone to move on, and for the Patriots to draft a quarterback in 2021. Mac Jones handled the pressure and the task Sunday night. One thing this night proved was that it was smarter, for the continuum of a great franchise, to move on to Jones.”