‘He wanted what everyone wants.’ How Bill Belichick fueled Tom Brady’s move to Tampa Bay.

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It was the union no one saw coming.

Tom Brady leaving the New England Patriots, the franchise that he helped build, for the less storied Tampa Bay Buccaneers. For some, it just didn’t make sense. Why leave Bill Belichick, arguably the greatest coach of all time?

But, according to ESPN’s Seth Wickersham, Belichick and Brady’s strained relationship fueled the quarterback’s exit.

“He wanted what everyone wants from an employer: to feel valued and to love work,” Wickersham wrote Sunday.

Belichick’s demanding approach, commonly referred to as the “Patriot Way” has been well reported. He doesn’t pick favorites. He’s critical. He’s tough. Explaining how the Patriots have maintained their success, Rob Gronkowski described his former coach’s dynamic with players like this:

“It’s kind of a work relationship with every player and Coach Belichick, for sure. That’s how he likes it,” Gronkowski said on Barstool Radio. “I feel like that’s how he believes he can keep the organization going.”

Brady, essentially, was fed up. The cracks in their relationship had begun to show in 2018, but after dealing with Belichick for another year, he just couldn’t do it anymore. but As Wickersham noted, the future Hall of Fame quarterback craved happiness.

“The tenet that had made the Patriots so hated and successful over the years — the emotionless pursuit of victory — seemed to finally touch the untouchable quarterback,” Wickersham wrote.

For someone such as Brady who ascended to pinnacles of his sport, winning can only do so much anymore. He isn’t the same scrawny kid selected with the 199th pick at the turn of the century. He’s a 42-year-old, six-time Super Bowl champ with a wife and three kids.

The rings, the banners, the MVPs — they’re nice but at some point, you want more. This move was Brady’s shot at getting more.