New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady believes his team and the San Antonio Spurs have similarities.
For the past 20 years, the San Antonio Spurs played with a consistency that no other NBA team matched. With playoff appearances in every season since 1997-98 and five championships in between (six NBA Finals appearances), it’s made for a terrific two decades in the Alamo City, with head coach Gregg Popovich leading the way.
In the NFL, the New England Patriots have found similar success. Behind head coach Bill Belichick, it’s been a dominant 15 years for the Patriots, ever since Tom Brady took over as the quarterback in the infamous 2001 game, where Drew Bledsoe got hurt. Five championships later, this team remains one of the league’s most feared teams.
Recently, ESPN’s Mike Reiss asked Brady about his thoughts on the Spurs, and how their franchises compare. The 40-year-old provided a glowing comparison, noting all the star players that passed through (or are still playing) and how their system led to continued success:
“They’ve had great stability, coaching and players, and I think there has been different carryover between David Robinson, to Tim Duncan, to Tony Parker, [Manu] Ginobili, Kawhi Leonard. I think they have a great system and great coaches, and players that have really been able to play in that system for a long time,” he said. “And the new guys come in and learn from the old guys, and they kind of embrace their culture and take it over.”
It’s almost a process in San Antonio. You can even throw the “trust the process” phrase in there, as it’s someone players have bought into for 20 years. From Tim Duncan to David Robinson, Kawhi Leonard, Tony Parker and even role players like Matt Bonner, Gary Neal, Patty Mills and Steve Kerr over the years, these players bought in and were part of the team’s success.
The Patriots go through the same thing. New players filed in when everyone around Brady and Belichick got hurt, left in free agency or retired, and provided the same, consistent production. Look at what they do at running back, with new pieces being plugged in every season.
The Spurs and Patriots represent models of consistency in their respective leagues, something that will continue as long as Popovich and Belichick remain in place. Unless something comes to the forefront, it doesn’t look like either coach will leave his post in the immediate future.