“Whoever characterizes our relationship is completely wrong…We were together for 20-plus years and we were so productive and successful and I learned so much from him. Loved my experience here, loved my relationship with him.” – Tom Brady to King on his relationship with Bill Belichick
“Both men – both teams – won here…The Bucs are shaky and beat up and Brady was just okay all game, but that’s the way good teams win sometimes. Belichick won because his quarterback was equal to the moment, and the post-Brady rebuild seems on-track.” – King on Brady and Belichick
“The Bengals have a Dan Fouts for the future. As long as Burrow stays upright, Cincinnati is going to win more games than you’d bet they would.” – King on the Bengals and QB Joe Burrow
STAMFORD, Conn. – October 4, 2021 – Peter King speaks with Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady from the visitors’ locker room at Gillette Stadium following Tampa Bay’s 19-17 win over the Patriots last night on NBC’s Sunday Night Football in this week’s edition of Football Morning in America, available now exclusively on NBCSports.com. Brady discusses facing the Patriots, his return to Foxborough and meeting with Patriots coach Bill Belichick after the game. King also speaks with Buccaneers quarterbacks coach Clyde Christensen and backup quarterback Blaine Gabbert, hands out his Week 4 awards, and more.
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The following are highlights from this week’s edition of Football Morning in America:
Brady to King postgame from the locker room at Gillette Stadium: “I’m tired…I’m really tired. For a regular-season game, that was pretty intense.”
King on Brady’s week: “There was the emotion of the week, of course – Brady returning to the place he put on the football map with two decades of greatness, and playing the coach who was his boss for 20 seasons…But there was exhaustion, too, because of the detective work Brady and his Tampa buddies did to beat the odds. I’m not talking about the odds of a betting line. I’m talking about the odds of figuring out Bill Belichick.”
Brady on the game in Foxborough: “God, is it hard to come in here and win a football game.”
King on Belichick and Brady meeting postgame: “The extraordinary night ended with Belichick himself walking into the Tampa Bay locker room to seek out Brady for a face-to-face they never had in the 18 months since Brady phoned him one night in March 2020 to say he’d be moving on in free-agency.”
Buccaneers QB Blaine Gabbert to King on seeing Belichick walk into the locker room postgame: “We were like, Did we see what we all think we just saw?”
Brady to King on the meeting with Belichick: “It was a very personal, private thing. We’ve always had that type of relationship where we can say things to each other. You know, whoever characterizes our relationship is completely wrong. People want to focus on so much stuff that’s so unimportant. You know? We were together for 20-plus years and we were so productive and successful and I learned so much from him. Loved my experience here, loved my relationship with him.”
Brady to King on Belichick: “We’d known each other for 20-plus years, and when I left here, we just didn’t have a chance – he was out of town – to meet. When I went down to Tampa it was Covid. I was thinking about my season and so was he. It was just, we’ve known each other for a long time, and we didn’t have a chance to talk, and tonight we did, and it was great.”
King on Brady and Belichick: “Both men could be magnanimous Sunday night, because both men – both teams – won here…The Bucs are shaky and beat up and Brady was just okay all game, but that’s the way good teams win sometimes. Belichick won because his quarterback was equal to the moment, and the post-Brady rebuild seems on-track.”
Gabbert to King on how the Buccaneers prepared to face New England’s defense: “What we did this week was look at games throughout the last 10 years of opposing elite-level quarterbacks. We looked at how Belichick played Denver and Peyton [Manning] back in 2013…We picked games and tried to get as much knowledge as we could of what we could potentially see.”
King on Brady: “From the 199th pick in the 2000 draft to being called the greatest player of all time by 2019…that’s some heavy stuff … To return to the scene of his prime, while still being in his prime (odd as that sounds, at 44), is something that very few great ones have done.”
Buccaneers quarterbacks coach Clyde Christensen to King on Brady’s return: “I just think it all weighed on him. I think he went between feeling tremendous pride, tremendous emotion and tremendous pressure.”
King on the Patriots: “It was best for everyone to move on, and for the Patriots to draft a quarterback in 2021. Mac Jones handled the pressure and the task Sunday night. One thing this night proved was that it was smarter, for the continuum of a great franchise, to move on to Jones.”
King on Bengals QB Joe Burrow: “He is everything the Bengals needed. Cincinnati owner Mike Brown’s decision to not trade the number one pick in 2020 and stay put and pick Burrow will turn out to be great for the franchise for a long, long time.”
King on the Bengals: “The Bengals have some protection issues, and they don’t always run it like a playoff contender should. But they’ve got a quarterback. Burrow is the right man at the right time for a team that exits Week 4 in a three-way tie for first place at 3-1 in the AFC North. I said it at the beginning of the year: The Bengals have a Dan Fouts for the future. As long as Burrow stays upright, Cincinnati is going to win more games than you’d bet they would.”
Pro Football Focus’ Eric Eager on Cardinals QB Kyler Murray: “The NFL is going through a transitional phase at the quarterback position…Young players are taking over the position rapidly, and while people cite Patrick Mahomes, Josh Allen, Dak Prescott and Justin Herbert as the next great players at the position, Sunday we saw a coronation of sorts in the NFC West. Kyler Murray went on the road and handily defeated the previously unbeaten, and preseason divisional favorite, Los Angeles Rams 37-20.”
King on Washington QB Taylor Heinicke: “I think the week cannot end without acknowledging the day of Washington quarterback Taylor Heinicke. A year ago, he was living in the home of his sister and brother-in-law in suburban Atlanta, without much hope that he’d ever get another legit chance to play in the NFL…Such a great moment for a guy who is carving out a starting niche in Washington.”
King on Panthers QB Sam Darnold: “I think Sam Darnold is better than I thought he’d be in Carolina. Despite the loss in Dallas, he’s a commanding presence and playing with confidence. He could make the decision of owners David Tepper and coach Matt Rhule on the 2022 quarterback a difficult one.”
King on the Cowboys QB Dak Prescott: “Dak Prescott has never played better. Four TDs/zero picks against the top defense in the league after three games? He is just terrific. Never thought he’d look this good coming off such a mega-injury.”
King on Eagles QB Jalen Hurts: “I think the one lesson I’d harp on today with Jalen Hurts if I were Eagles coach Nick Sirianni is, Secure the ball. Hurts has played too much football, and at a high level, to be carrying it like a loaf of bread, the way he did late in the second quarter when it got swatted away … That cannot happen.”
KING’S WEEK 4 AWARDS
Offensive Players of the Week: Dak Prescott, Dallas, Daniel Jones, New York Giants, Cordarrelle Patterson, Atlanta, & Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City.
King on Prescott: “Leaving no doubt that he’s back to form after season-ending injuries last year…It was an efficient performance against what was the league’s top defense entering Week 4.”
King on Jones: “Not a bad time for your first 400-yard passing game, Mr. Jones. The Giants quarterback threw for 402 yards in his team’s 27-21 overtime win over the Saints.”
Defensive Player of the Week: Trevon Diggs, Dallas.
King: “Has any defensive player had a better first four games than Diggs? The Cowboys cornerback picked off two Sam Darnold passes on Sunday, and has had an interception in each game this season. Diggs is the first player in Cowboys history to record an interception in each of the first four games, and he’s just 24 years old.”
Special Teams Player of the Week: DeAndre Carter, Washington.
King: “Carter, with his eighth team in seven years, is a 5-9 whippet who made one of the year’s best special teams plays. He returned the second-half kickoff 101 yards for a sprinting score, giving WFT the lead.”
Coaches of the Week: Joe Judge, New York Giants, & Andy Reid, Kansas City.
King on Reid: “A health scare after last Sunday’s loss and a return to his old team – quite the challenging week for Reid. Fittingly in Philadelphia where he coached for 14 seasons, Reid became the first coach in NFL history to win 100 games with two teams when his Chiefs knocked off the Eagles on Sunday.”
The following are additional highlights of NBC Sports’ NFL coverage:
- PFT Live with NBC Sports’ Mike Florio and Mike Golic (Mondays) and Florio and Chris Simms (Tuesday-Thursday) streams live on Peacock from 7 a.m. – 9 a.m. ET on weekdays, followed by The Dan Patrick Show at 9 a.m. ET, The Rich Eisen Show at Noon ET, Brother From Another at 3 p.m. ET, PFT PM at 5 p.m. ET. At 6 p.m. ET, Chris Simms Unbuttoned streams Tuesday-Friday.
- ProFootballTalk.com continues to provide the latest news and updates.
- NBC Sports EDGE’s A Good Football Show continues the NFL discussion and Bet The Edge Podcast provides daily betting insights.
A new “Football Morning in America” posts every Monday morning exclusively on NBCSports.com through the NFL season. It was announced in May 2019 that King signed an exclusive agreement with NBC Sports Group that included writing a weekly Monday morning NFL column for NBCSports.com; making regular appearances on PFT Live with Mike Florio; and continuing to contribute to Football Night in America, the most-watched studio show in sports.