Ian O'Connor: New York Giants Scout Wanted To Draft Tom Brady

The Giants almost drafted Tom Brady – and had a chance to hire Bill Belichick. They did neither.

The DA Show
March 16, 2019 - 1:02 am

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Video of Ian O'Connor Author of "Belichick: The Making of the Greatest Football Coach of All Time"

Bill Belichick and Tom Brady have given the New England Patriots two decades of excellence, but they almost gave it to the New York Giants.

“A Giants scout wanted them to pick Brady in the fourth or fifth round in 2000,” Ian O’Connor said on The DA Show. “He was really pushing for Tom Brady, and they decided not to go that route.”

Instead, Brady went to the Patriots, where Belichick had just become head coach. Belichick, by the way, could have become head coach of the Giants. There was just one problem.

“George Young, the GM with the Giants, couldn’t stand him,” O’Connor said. “Just didn’t like him and never thought he projected as a successful head coach. In fact, after (Belichick’s) failure in Cleveland, George Young was one of the people in the league office who told Robert Kraft, ‘Don’t do this. Do not make this mistake. It’s a big one.’”

It wasn’t.

“George Young was a tough guy from Baltimore,” O’Connor said. “He didn’t believe real athletes played lacrosse. I think he held that against Belichick. There were a lot of things there that he didn't see in Belichick, and he wasn’t alone. There were other people in the Giants’ hierarchy who thought that the Cleveland Bill was the real Bill and that he wouldn’t succeed in Foxboro.”

Belichick went 36-44 in five seasons in Cleveland, finishing above .500 only once. He went 5-11 in both his last season with the Browns (1995) and his first season with the Patriots (2000).

“I was among the most serious doubters at the time,” O’Connor said. “I wrote a column saying it was a bad hire, and he proved everyone wrong, including many people in the Giants organization who saw him as one of the best assistants ever.”

O’Connor, the author of “Belichick: The Making of the Greatest Football Coach of All Time,” also discussed the relationship between Brady and Belichick, which was seemingly on the rocks over the last year or so.

“Tom realizes that Bill’s the best coach in the league, but Bill does realize that Tom is the best quarterback – so it’s never been about that,” O’Connor said. “But their relationship has always been transactional. No love, no affection, never go out to dinner – and that was fine. That all caught up to them last year. The whole Alex Guerrero thing – the benching of Malcolm Butler did not help. In the offseason, (Brady) was in a place where he was seriously considering walking away, and did not. I think their relationship now is functioning. My suspicion is that they had to survive one meltdown – and they did, barely. 

“It’s actually a testament to them that the first time we saw a fracture in that partnership came after 17, 18 years,” O’Connor continued. “ But I think they’re okay now. Obviously it’s fluid, but let’s see how the rest of the season plays out.”