While the team continues to roll this season, claiming the top seed in the AFC with Brady the likely MVP, a lengthy piece by Seth Wickersham of ESPN shows signs the powerful trio may be starting to crack.
Brady has always followed the chain of command associated with the team and taken well to Belichick's often tough coaching, but it appears that is starting to wear on the 40-year-old, according to Wickersham:
"As his age has increased, Brady has become an advocate of positive thinking. Belichick's negativity and cynicism have gotten old, Brady has told other Patriots players and staff. He feels he has accomplished enough that he shouldn't have to endure so much grief. Patriots staffers have noticed that this year more than ever, he seems to volley between unwavering confidence and driving insecurity. Brady has noted to staff a few times this year that, no matter how many game-changing throws he makes, Belichick hasn't awarded him Patriot of the Week all year."
Say what you will about the weekly award, the fact Brady is the likely MVP of the league and hasn't been recognized as the best player on his team once this season is fairly remarkable. He played three games that saw his quarterback rating above 130, including an incredible performance against the Houston Texans where he was 25-of-35 for 378 yards and five touchdowns.
If there is tension inside the Patriots locker room, it certainly isn't affecting their play on the field. The AFC East champions are off this week on a bye before hosting a playoff contest next weekend.
With Belichick at the helm and Brady at quarterback, the Patriots have been to seven Super Bowls since 2001, with another a distinct possibility this season. Judging by Wickersham's report, it wouldn't be the most surprising thing in the world if this is the last for either man in Foxborough.