The very same day a bombshell report suggested an ego-driven rift between Bill Belichick and both Tom Brady and New England Patriots ownership could lead to his departure from the franchise, a former employer and familiar foe came to Foxboro to interview coaching candidates: the New York Giants.
According to ESPN’s Seth Wickersham, various factors have ruptured Belichick’s relationship with Brady and the front office: the power provided to Brady and his trainer Alex Guerrero, whose TB12 Method following among Patriots players feels “like a cult,” according to one staffer, and has sparked division among teammates; owner Robert Kraft’s insistence on trading Jimmy Garoppolo, whom the coach viewed as “the final piece of his legacy,” hinting at the idea that Belichick was eager to replace Brady with the backup; and Brady’s seeing Garoppolo as a threat and being “famously unhelpful” to the young player.
On Friday, new Giants general manager Dave Gettleman and owner John Mara visited New England to interview Belichick’s defensive coordinator, Matt Patricia, and the Pats’ offensive coordinator, Josh McDaniels, for their head coaching vacancy.
Is it that crazy to think the pair checked in on Belichick to see if he had any insight as to his availability this offseason?
The Patriots head coach spent 12 seasons with the Giants, starting as an assistant and working his way up to defensive coordinator under Bill Parcells, a position he held from ’85 to ’90, culminating in a Super Bowl win over the Buffalo Bills in his last season with the team. Mara joined the Giants front office in ’88, and the two are so close that Belichick is actually expected to contribute to New York’s coaching search.
“Belichick’s long had a close relationship with Giants owner John Mara, who’d surely seek his advice,” Monday Morning Quarterback’s Albert Breer wrote in December. “And ex-Giants GM Ernie Accorsi has been retained as a consultant for the search, and Accorsi’s searches have, in the past, turned up Belichick proteges Thomas Dimitroff (Atlanta) and Bob Quinn (Detroit) as hires.”
In a recent NFL Films special, Belichick teared up while discussing his time with the Giants.
“I was just trying to establish my coaching career, be a good coach, win some games … [the Giants are] a great organization,” he said. “It is hard not to get choked up about it … I loved it here. I loved it here.”
If he wants to prove to the Patriots that he, and not Brady, is the key to New England’s unprecedented run of success, what better way to show it than by doing it with the one team that’s beaten Brady in the Super Bowl.