An “incredibly grateful” Tom Brady is paying tribute to his New England Patriots coach, Bill Belichick, following the news that Belichick’s remarkable run with the franchise has come to an end.
Belichick, 71, and the Patriots have parted ways after 24 seasons in which they won a record six Super Bowls.
Brady, considered the greatest quarterback of all time, was the centerpiece of those championship teams. The two will forever be linked, as the Patriots also won 30 playoff games, 17 AFC East titles and reached the Super Bowl nine times during their run together.
Brady on Thursday posted a photo on Instagram of himself with Belichick on the field, writing that he is “incredibly grateful to have played for the best coach in the history of the NFL.”
“He was a great leader for the organization, and for all of the players who played for him. We accomplished some amazing things over a long period of time, many of which will be hard to replicate,” Brady, who retired for good in 2023 after three seasons with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, continued.
“He worked every day to help us achieve the ultimate goal, in the ultimate team sport. And, although we were successful, some of the greatest lessons I learned were in the moments where we faced the most challenging adversities. He set the tone for the organization to never falter in the face of adversity, and to do what we could do, and what was in our control, which was to go out and DO OUR JOB.
“I could never have been the player I was without you Coach Belichick. I am forever grateful,” Brady concluded. “And I wish you the best of luck in whatever you choose next.”
Belichick provided stability rarely seen in NFL history, as the other 31 NFL franchises had a combined 213 head coaches during his 24-year tenure, according to ESPN. He has 333 career wins, second only to Miami Dolphins legend Don Shula (347) for the most in NFL history.
After Brady left in 2020 to play for the Buccaneers, there appeared to be some friction between the star quarterback and the Patriots franchise. The quarterback did not mention his former team in his initial 2022 retirement announcement.
However, Brady returned to Gillette Stadium in September for a “Thank You Tom” ceremony in which he made an emotional speech, calling himself “a Patriot for life.”
Belichick also spoke glowingly of Brady in a radio interview ahead of the ceremony.
“Can’t say enough about Tom — what he’s meant to this organization, what he’s meant to me personally,” he told Boston’s WEEI. “He just epitomized everything you would want in a player — his work ethic, his ability to handle and process a lot of things on and off the field. His critical playmaking ability, instinctiveness and anticipation and decision-making at the most critical times in the biggest games in the team’s history, not to mention the seasons.”
The Patriots’ recent slide began after Brady left to play for the Bucs from 2020 to 2022, which included winning his seventh Super Bowl title.
New England has gone 29-38 since Brady left, bottoming out at 4-13 this season for their worst record since 1992.