Bill Belichick lists his favorite Tom Brady memory ahead of Week 1 return to Gillette Stadium


“Can’t say enough about Tom — what he’s meant to this organization, what he’s meant to me personally.”

With only three days off betwen games, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (rear) and head coach Bill Belichick (front) will have very little time to get ready for Thursday night's game vs the Dolphins. They are pictured on the sidelines during Sunday's game vs. the Jets. The New England Patriots hosted the New York Jets in a regular season NFL football game at Gillette Stadium.
Tom Brady and Bill Belichick won six Super Bowls together in New England. Jim Davis / Globe Staff

Sunday, Sept. 10 will not just mark the 2023 Patriots’ season-opening matchup against the reigning NFC champion Eagles.

It will also stand as Tom Brady’s anticipated return to Foxborough, with the legendary QB set to be honored in front of over 65,000 fans after finally ending his Hall-of-Fame career in February. 

With Brady’s long-awaited tribute on the horizon, Bill Belichick was asked during his weekly appearance on WEEI’s “The Greg Hill Show” about his favorite memory involving Brady during their two decades together. 

As expected, Belichick couldn’t whittle his answer down to just one moment.

“Well, there are six of them that come to mind,” Belichick said of Brady’s numerous contributions to the Patriots. “Can’t say enough about Tom — what he’s meant to this organization, what he’s meant to me personally.

“He just epitomized everything you would want in a player — his work ethic, his ability to handle and process a lot of things on and off the field. His critical playmaking ability, instinctiveness and anticipation and decision making at the most critical times in the biggest games in the team’s history not to mention the seasons.

“For so many years, he set a standard of daily performance which turned into yearly performance which turned into not only a Hall of Fame career, but probably the best career of all time in the National Football League.”

Even though Belichick has never been one to truly wax poetic about individual players (unless it’s Lawrence Taylor), the Patriots’ longtime coach has not been shy about heaping praise toward Brady once the star signal caller hung up his cleats this winter. 

While Brady’s individual accolades and on-field heroics speak for themselves, Belichick pointed out Brady’s longevity and consistency as arguably the most unique and prized aspects of his career — given the punishment and unpredictability that most NFL players trudge through during their playing days.

“He did it on a day-to-day basis,” Belichick said of Brady of WEEI. “I’d say that’s really the biggest thing about Tom that’s so impressive is what you got from him every day was that same level of commitment, work ethic, performance, attention to detail and inquisitiveness and coachability.

“Tom’s always looking to get better, improve and find ways to be a little bit better than he was no matter how good he was. That’s really a great, great attitude to have with a player of his person and ability and performance and production.”

As of now, details remain scarce on how the Patriots will welcome Brady back home on Sunday beyond a halftime ceremony that will feature a highlight video. But whatever else plays out, one can expect a thunderous ovation once Brady once again walks out onto the field at Gillette Stadium once again.

“It’ll be great to see Tom,” Belichick said Monday morning during his conference call with reporters. “Tom’s meant so much to this team, organization, me personally. It was a tremendous experience to be able to coach him and for us to share the things we shared together.

“Certainly recognizing him for all his great achievements here is more than appropriate. Look forward to seeing him and glad that he’s getting a lot of recognization and appreciate for that because he certainly deserves it.”