23 Sep 2001: Quarterback Drew Bledsoe #11 of the New England Patriots drops back to pass against the New York Jets during their game at Foxboro Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts. The Jets won 10-3. DIGITAL IMAGE. Mandatory Credit: Ezra Shaw/ALLSPORT

On Thursday night, the Apple TV series The Dynasty debuted (a few hours earlier than expected) with the first two parts of the 10 part series. The Dynasty, based on the book of the same name by author Jeff Benedcit, chronicles the Patriots’ run during the Bill BelichickTom Brady era. It includes interviews with multiple people who were part of or close to the team during that time, highlighted by Belichick, Brady, and owner Robert Kraft.

New episodes will be released two at a time very Thursday night/Friday over the next few weeks. Each week, as more episodes come out, we’ll take a look at the top new quotes from the interviews in each.


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Thursday’s premiere episode focused Drew Bledsoe’s injury and the initial weeks of Brady stepping in as his replacement. In the first episode, one of the big reoccurring themes was Belichick’s historical handling of the quarterback position. Not just as it related to Bledsoe and Brady in 2001, but also going as far back as his time in Cleveland and Bernie Kosar’s departure from the Browns.

Most of the notable quotes, specifically from the new interviews and not file footage, from the first part fit that theme. Here’s a look at those and more…

  • Drew Bledsoe explaining his mindset

    23 Sep 2001: Drew Bledsoe #11 of the New England Patriots signals to his team against the New York Jets during the game at Foxboro Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts. The Jets won 10-3. Credit: Ezra Shaw/ALLSPORT

    23 Sep 2001: Drew Bledsoe #11 of the New England Patriots signals to his team against the New York Jets during the game at Foxboro Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts. The Jets won 10-3. Credit: Ezra Shaw/ALLSPORT

    Bledsoe: “I was at my best when things were a little sideways and what other people may call ‘pressure situations,’ that’s when I was able to focus.”

    Interviewer: “I feel like I’ve heard the same thing from [Michael] Jordan, from Tiger [Woods], from all these people.”

    Bledsoe: “Yeah well, most people put me with them. Jordan, Tiger, Drew, same thing.”

    Overall this isn’t a very telling quote, it’s rather innocuous, but it’s fascinating given the context of what was to come. Given all Bledsoe went through, to recall that kind of confidence and then put himself in a class with athletes his successor was later regularly grouped with added a light-hearted element to a storyline that later becomes much more serious.

  • How Tom Brady began to win the trust of the veterans

    16 Dec 2001: Tedy Bruschi #54 of the New England Patriots running during the game against the Buffalo Bills at the Ralph Wilson Stadium in Orchard Park, New York. The Patriots defeated the Bills 12-9.Credit: Rick Stewart/Getty Images

    16 Dec 2001: Tedy Bruschi #54 of the New England Patriots running during the game against the Buffalo Bills at the Ralph Wilson Stadium in Orchard Park, New York. The Patriots defeated the Bills 12-9.Credit: Rick Stewart/Getty Images

    Damien Woody: “There was a lot of uneasiness. Drew’s hurt, your $100 million quarterback is down, moral is low. And Tom gives a speech to the team basically saying like, ‘believe in me. Let’s get it together, I’m gonna work my ass off, you’re gonna work your ass off, we got it. We got this.’ But for him to really come out and say that – takes a lot of balls. Because remember, trust is earned. What has he really done to earn that? Imagine saying that to the Willie McGinests, the Tedy Bruschis, all these veterans. 

    Tedy Bruschi: “Tom gathered us around and I remember thinking ‘aw look at the kid, he’s trying.’ For anyone that says ‘ah yeah, we knew Tom was going to lead us to victory,’ that’s bullshit. Come on, this guy’s never done anything for us before. From that first practice on it’s like ‘can you run the huddle? Can you grasp the offense?’ He didn’t know what he was doing at times.”

    These quotes provided an interesting look at the early signs of Tom Brady’s leadership. Here’s a guy who the year before was the fourth-string quarterback, and he quickly gets up in front of a team full of veteran leaders – mostly on defense – who had played in a Super Bowl just five years earlier and basically tells them to follow him. The buy-in may not have been there initially, but clearly the effort was noticed.

  • Drew Bledsoe on Bill Belichick’s reaction to him being medically cleared to play

    9 Sep 2001: Quarterback Drew Bledsoe #11 of the New England Patriots looks on from the field during the game against the Cincinnati Bengals at the Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Bengals defeated the Patriots 23-17.Credit: Mark Lyons/Allsport

    9 Sep 2001: Quarterback Drew Bledsoe #11 of the New England Patriots looks on from the field during the game against the Cincinnati Bengals at the Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Bengals defeated the Patriots 23-17.Credit: Mark Lyons/Allsport

    Bledsoe: “I was on my way back from the hospital and I remember I called Belichick and I was like ‘hey I got clearance, I’m ready to go.’ His response was like ‘O.K., well just get back here and then we’ll see how it goes.’ I thought he would be a little more excited that I got clearance than he seemed to be on the phone. That was the first indication that I had that ‘oh, maybe this isn’t playing out where I just get to go back and start playing again.” 

    Yes, Belichick likely knew Bledsoe was cleared or about to be cleared before the quarterback called him on the way home from the hospital. But this is part of an early theme of Belichick playing things close to the vest with his quarterbacks, even when it involves the quarterbacks themselves. Despite Belichick seemingly knowing he was going with Brady, he gave no indication one way or the other.

  • Bill Belichick on the decision to start Tom Brady over Drew Bledsoe

    Nov 12, 2000; Cleveland, OH, USA; New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichik with Henry Thomas during the game against the Cleveland Browns at Cleveland Browns Stadium. The Browns the Patriots 19-11. Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

    Nov 12, 2000; Cleveland, OH, USA; New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick during the game against the Cleveland Browns at Cleveland Browns Stadium. The Browns the Patriots 19-11. Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

    Belichick: “Look, Drew hadn’t played in several weeks. And Tom, he had played the previous however many games it was. Tom was, at that point in time, the most accomplished in running our offense.” 

    The use of the word ‘accomplished’ here by Belichick is fascinating. At that time Bledsoe was a three-time Pro Bowler and had led the Patriots to a Super Bowl. Brady had started seven games going 5-2 with pedestrian numbers. Belichick clearly felt Brady gave the team the best chance to win at the time (and obviously he was right), but it’s an interesting way of recalling that fact.

  • Robert Kraft confronted Bill Belichick about going with Tom Brady over Drew Bledsoe

    FOXBORO, MA - SEPTEMBER 9: Robert Kraft, owner of the New England Patriots looks on during the game between of the Pittsburgh Steelers and the New England Patroits at Gillette Stadium on September 9, 2002 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. The Patroits won 31-14. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

    FOXBORO, MA – SEPTEMBER 9: Robert Kraft, owner of the New England Patriots looks on during the game between of the Pittsburgh Steelers and the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium on September 9, 2002 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. The Patriots won 31-14. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

    Kraft: “When Drew was cleared medically, and Bill didn’t put him back, I didn’t feel good about it, and I felt that Drew was treated unfairly…Drew came to see me and we had a long chat and I said I’m going to go talk with Bill.”

    Scott Pioli: “As coaches, we knew that was going to be a difficult conversation. The relationship between Drew and the Krafts was very close. Drew was a big part of saving that franchise. He was the hope of – not only the fans, the franchise, the Krafts, they made this huge investment. So to Robert, this was more than just a player move. He expressed his disappointment, but in the end, he said ‘listen, if this is what you guys believe, if this is the way it’s going to be, it just needs to be right.”

    Kraft: “I came back and met with Drew in my office and I said ‘look, Drew, I could tell him that I want you to start. If that’s not what he wants to do, that’s not in your or my best interest. If nothing else, he can mess it up and I can hold him accountable.”

    As much as we’ve heard stories about Kraft’s father-son like relationship with Brady over the 20 years they spent together, it’s made clear that he had a similar relationship with Bledsoe during this time. With Bledsoe, according to a quote he gives, contemplating retirement, Kraft initially considers supporting Bledsoe by pulling rank on Belichick and forcing the hand of his head coach to protect the quarterback. In the end those he ends up deferring, a situation that pays off.

  • Bill Belichick on reputation

    New York Jets v New England Patriots

    FOXBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS – JANUARY 07: New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick speaks during a press conference after a game against the New York Jets at Gillette Stadium on January 07, 2024 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Winslow Townson/Getty Images)

    Belichick: “The only thing you have in the National Football League, really, is your name and your reputation. And you earn that, whatever it is. That comes in a lot of different stages but that – that’s for all of us.” 

    This is Belichick’s final quote of the episode, and it relates to him putting his reputation on the line by going with Brady over Bledsoe. Given how the next 20 years played out, and how Belichick’s career has shifted since these interviews were recorded, this one is likely to get some play for multiple reasons.

  • Alex Barth is a writer and digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Looking for a podcast guest? Let him know on Twitter @RealAlexBarth or via email at [email protected].

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