An ESPN reporter takes readers inside one of the NFL's most revered and reviled teams, exploring how the tense but productive relationship between star quarterback Tom Brady and coach Bill Belichick built—then toppled—a sports dynasty.
... a superlative sports book full of intimate, fly-on-the-wall reporting, savvy insights and deft, page-turning writing ... this is hardly a dual hagiography. Brady’s vanity, rage and obsessive perfection rituals are on full display. So, too, are Belichick’s secrecy, ruthless dispatch of fading players, manipulative tricks and weakness for cheating to gain advantage ... Brady’s glittering career on and off the field unfolds in pointillist detail ... the best picture I’ve ever encountered of what the cutthroat, multibillion-dollar world of NFL football is actually like.
Seth Wickersham, with thorough reporting and the experience of covering New England’s twists and turns, manages a noteworthy feat in It's Better to Be Feared... he humanizes Brady, Belichick and the Patriots owner Robert Kraft for outsiders in a way that can be exceedingly difficult ...This is Belichick as Walter White rather than Heisenberg, and Brady with intimate moments of self-awareness about his career and personal life. Love New England? Spygate, Deflategate and the other self-inflicted problems and toxicity within the organization were probably uglier than you thought ... Wickersham does not shy away from any of the problems associated with New England’s rise and eventual breakup ... Wickersham lays out the strains in the Brady-Belichick relationship over hundreds of pages.
... thorough and thoughtful ... Wickersham’s book is an honest, sprawling, meticulously reported, and beautifully written portrayal of perhaps the greatest and probably the most unlikely dynasty in modern professional sports. It does not hopscotch from Super Bowl to Super Bowl, but instead draws richly detailed portraits of Brady, Belichick, the dynasty’s third constant in owner Robert Kraft, and how their personalities and relationships changed through the years ... Wickersham is more than fair to all of the key figures, including Belichick ... It’s Better To Be Feared is the accounting the Patriots dynasty deserves.