Tom Brady Calls Bill Belichick an ‘Incredible’ Mentor Ahead of First Super Bowl Without Him
Tom Brady and his new team will face off against the Kansas City Chiefs at Super Bowl LV on Sunday
For the tenth time in history, Tom Brady will appear in a Super Bowl game. But when he steps onto the field this Sunday, it will be the first time without his longtime coach, Bill Belichick, on the sidelines.
Over the offseason, Brady left Belichick and the New England Patriots for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and sunny Florida. With Brady and Belichick, the Patriots were contenders for the Super Bowl nearly every year for two decades, and many fans wondered whether the 43-year-old quarterback could take the Buccaneers to the Big Game without his former coach.
Yet the Buccaneers finished this season with a 12-5 record and beat the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship Game. Before now, Tampa Bay had not been to a Super Bowl since 2003.
Ahead of Super Bowl LV this Sunday, Brady reflected on his time with Belichick on the Patriots.
"I have a great relationship with him," Brady said to reporters this week, according to NESN. "I'm just incredibly grateful for what he's meant in my life as a coach. He's everything you could ask for as a player."
"I loved my time and two incredible decades there," he added. "My football journey took me to a different place. I certainly could never have accomplished the things in my career without his support and his teachings."
Brady joined the Patriots when the team selected him with the 199th pick in the sixth round of the 2000 NFL draft. While he initially played back-up to starting quarterback, Drew Bledsoe, Brady took over the job when Bledsoe went down with an injury in the second game of the 2002 season.
Brady, Belichick and the Patriots would go on to win six of their nine Super Bowl appearances.
"Incredible coach and mentor for me, had a lot of those in my career, but obviously he's at the top of the list," Brady told reporters of his former coach.
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Belichick and the Patriots did not reach the playoffs this season and finished with a 7-9 record.
Super Bowl LV will air on CBS at 6:30 p.m. EST on Feb. 7.