Tom Brady pays tribute to Bill Belichick after Patriots split

Tom Brady says he never would’ve been the player he became without Bill Belichick.

Brady, 46, paid tribute to Belichick Thursday afternoon on Instagram after Belichick and the Patriots parted ways following 24 seasons, calling his former coach the GOAT.

“I’m incredibly grateful to have played for the best coach in the history of the NFL,” Brady wrote.

“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. 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. And I wish you the best of luck in whatever you choose next.”

Tom Brady and Bill Belichick won six Super Bowls together.
Tom Brady and Bill Belichick won six Super Bowls together. AP

Brady and Belichick arrived to the Patriots the same year, in 2000, when Brady was nearly an afterthought as a sixth-round pick out of Michigan, while Belichick was infamously coming off resigning “as the HC of the NYJ,” leaving the Jets high and dry after one day on the job.

The Patriots went 5-11 in their first year before Brady took over for Drew Bledsoe two games into the 2001 season after Bledsoe was injured on a hit by Jets linebacker Mo Lewis.

Follow the Post’s coverage on Bill Belichick’s Patriots exit

From there, Brady and Belichick began their path toward becoming legends, winning the Super Bowl that season, the first of their three in four years.

They later won three more together, ultimately reaching the playoffs 17 times and appearing in nine Super Bowls; they lost two to the Giants and one to the Eagles.

Reported tension between the two ultimately led to Brady leaving the Patriots for the Buccaneers in 2020 after 20 seasons with Belichick in New England.

Tom Brady and Bill Belichick both joined the Patriots in 2000.
Tom Brady and Bill Belichick both joined the Patriots in 2000. AP

Brady won his seventh Super Bowl title in his first season with the Buccaneers and retired after the 2022 season.

Belichick, 71, struggled with the Patriots once Brady left, missing the playoffs three of the last four seasons and compiling a 29-38 record.

Despite the reported tension, Brady told ESPN in May that there was “a lot of mutual respect” between him and Belichick, noting that Belichick was “one of the first people to text me” after Brady’s Bucs won the Super Bowl.

“Were there times where you know it wasn’t always eye to eye? Very few and far between, actually,” Brady told ESPN. “I still envision our relationship as positive and always will.”

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