Huddle Up with Gus
Huddle Up with Gus

Episode · 2 years ago

Jeff Benedict


Joining me in the Huddle this week is author, Jeff Benedict. He talks about all of his books that he has written but we spend the most time on his latest book about the New England Patriots and the Dynasty they created.  Growing up in the North East you think his team would be the Giants or Jets or Patriots but he fell in love with the Miami Dolphins because of their uniforms.  He has also been a special-features writer for Sports Illustrated and the Los Angeles Times, an this essays have appeared in the New York Times.  Benedict's stories have been the basis of segments on 60 Minutes, CBS Sunday Morning, HBO Real Sports, Discovery Channel, Good Morning America, 48 Hours, NFL Network, NPR, and ESPN’s Outside the Lines.  He is also a television and film producer.  He resides in Connecticut. Check out Jeff and all of the books he has written at   See for privacy information.

Hey everyone, we appreciate you joining us in the huddle. I'm your host, fifteen year NFL quarterback guests for at alongside my longtime friend and Co host Dave Hagar, where we talked to guests about how sports shape their life. Be sure to check us out on our website. How do up with Gustscom, where you can listen to more episodes just like this. Now let's join the huddle. Hey everyone, welcome to do another episode of Huddle of guests. I'm your host guests fat and usually joined by my friend Dave Hagar, but Dave is not here. Obviously you got another job, so trying to get fitam in is been very difficult. Now we're in the middle of football season. I think things have been grown going great, but we've had a lot of guests on that are professional athletes and people who who are professional athletes but tell the stories of professional athletes and great teams, and so today I'm really honored to have a guest that we can ask a lot of questions to that write those types of stories. But if you're really interested in hearing all of our other guests, you can find us on Radiocom or wherever you listen to your favorite podcast. You can look for us on AMTV and also on the new sixteen thirty one digital news. This is a sixteen thirty one digital news studio. So we are excited to welcome our guests today. Our guests has written a new book called the dynasty, and I think we know who he's talking about if you if you all of football at all. But Jeff Benedict is our guest today and I'm really excited, Jeff, to really dig into not only the dynasty but all the other books you talked about and then really how sports shaped your life. So welcome into the Huddle, Jeff. Hey, it's good to be here, gust thanks for having me on your program yeah, no, so it's really exciting. I think people like you that have a great knowledge of a lot of different things, and especially in your background and talking about sports. But let's get into your life about sports and why it's means something to you. So where did you grow up and what was that first moment in your life where you fell level sports? I grew up in southeastern Connecticut right along Long Island, show sound and a blue collar town, a beach community. Basically, I think the first real memory I have of sports was watching the Miami Dolphins play the Dallas Cowboys and get thea in yearly s Super Bowl and and really gravitating towards the colorful uniforms of the dolphins and over the next couple of years with my my friends who were, you know, we were five, six years old, seven years old, and fell in love with the Miami Dolphins because they had the best uniforms and and at that time they had the best team. I went to my first professional baseball game at Fenway Park when I was about ten years old. And I think you know, growing up in New England doings a great sports area. Were right kind of between Boston and New York, so great rivalries between the Yankees and the Red Sox, the Celtics in the nicks, the giants and jets and the Patriots. It was a just a great place to grow up. I played a lot of sports as a kid and then, I think you know, by the time I was old enough to get a subscription a sports illustrated that became a, I think, a real sort of influential magazine for me as a as a youth. It was sort of a ritual that I had of running home from school once a week on Thursdays. That was the day the magazine came in the mail to my house and I would run home every Thursday as soon as school let out to have that moment where I'd opened the mailbox and pulled the magazine out and see who was on the cover that week. And I still remember vividly the day that I pulled the magazine out and saw Larry Bird on the cover for the first time. He was in Indiana state and he was surrounded by a couple of cheerleaders and who you know, who had their fingers up to their mouth going and I remember looking, looking at that picture and thinking who is this guy and and not imagining that a few years later he would come to Boston and become the the athlete that most kids my age grew up idolize. It. So that was sort of my for r into sports as a as a as a kid. Yeah, you know, it's funny you say that. I just saw I follow this guy on twitter. His He has set super seventy sports and it's a lot of fun just because he does a lot of seventy sports. And he said, Hey, pick your one favorite athlete that if you saw them in the s you would say this guy is definitely not going to be an Allstar athlete right. And he put a picture Larry Bird Up, you know, from when he was in college and and but that was the great that's a great thing about sports. You just never know who's going to WHO's...

...going to be that guy or have that drive to be the best. Sorry, you're young. You're play at all. Did you play all types of sports? Did you just want to try everything? What we what did you do when you were younger? Played football and baseball and I wrestled one year in high school. I didn't really pick up basketball as a sport that I thoroughly enjoyed until actually until right around the time I was graduating from high school, but football and baseball were the main sports that I participated in as a kid. Yeah, so we've had a lot of authors and Writers and journalists on here. Don Yeager, I know you. You Co wrote a book with him. He's been on the show before. So that journalistic view comes from a passion that that I think all you guys have with sports. One way or another. You Fall in love with him somehow, some way. So when you were in high school, did you we own the team's in high school then and kind of you know we're but we did. You also know that, Hey, I love this other side of you know, education and writing and all those types of things. You know what's interesting. And so, starting in my freshman year, I was on, you know, the football team and absolutely loved it. But reality was for me, the family that I grew up in, we really didn't have much in the way of money or resources and so, believe it or not, by my sophomore year I was working practically full time while I was in high school. I mean I had jobs at night, on the weekends, and I actually moved to the point where I was working so much that sports became something that I continue to love and watch, but as a participant, my own involvement dwindled because I was trying to earn money and thinking about things like how am I going to go to college if I don't start putting money in the bank? And it was also in high school that I wrote for the first time. I wasn't thinking in high school about becoming a journalist, to be quite honest with you. I I wrote because I took a class in high school. It was called about, you know, the High School newspaper Class, and so I did write for our school paper and I covered sports for our high school, but I also covered the arts, you know, I wrote about John Lennon's death, I wrote about the drummer of led Zeppelin's death and I did like it. I liked writing those stories. But again, I wasn't thinking at that point in my life that I would be a writer. Right that, but that's kind of how we all I mean, I never thought when I was in high school playing football and in ninth grade I actually broke my neck playing football and never magic I'd played fifteen years in the NFL. Right, that just didn't seem like a possibility. But you take that next step day in and day out and you start, you know, leading your passions, like I finally got back on a football field as a junior in high school. So tell me about that, that decision. As you're getting older into high school now and you're writing more and more and then you're thinking about that transition and what you want to do in that next step of your life, going to college. So when I went to college, I went to I studied American history and college and got a degree in history and I my plan at that point was to become a history teacher or history professor. Then I went off to graduate school. I got a master's degree in politics and from there I went to law school and because in graduate school I was really transitioning my thinking away from being a professor to being a lawyer and and so I applied to law school and I got accepted and was heading down that path. And it was then that I there was this long period between when I was in high school to when I went to law school where I I really didn't write at all because I really wasn't thinking about writing and anyway. But I did a lot of writing and graduate school because I had to. It wasn't the kind of writing that anyone would want to read. It was academic, you know, just dry boring stuff. But the reality was I was writing about things that weren't dry and boring. I was actually in graduate school I did my thesis on athletes and violence against women and I this was around the time that Oj Simpson with charge with double murder. Is Right in the time that Mike Tyson went to prison for rape, and so I was into a topic that was timely, it was interesting and there weren't any men at the time writing about it. There were, there were feminists and sort of women's rights advocates that were writing about some of these high profile athletes that had abused women, and then I came along with this sort of very academic study about it, because I studied hundreds of cases where this had happened around the country over a number of years, involving collegiate and pro athletes, and that's what actually catapult could be into journalism. It was an unintentional consequence of having studied it in graduate school and then going into law school. I signed a book contract right after I got into law school. That's what I meant.

Actually met Don Yeager and we did a book called pros and cons together. Right that changed that process changed my trajectory of my life and my career because at that time my objective was to become a prosecutor. Actually had a job in the DA's office in Boston, so that's where I was headed, but the opportunity to write, I realized was was something that I I really loved doing. I I realize it had a much greater reach than arguing cases. Before twelve jurors and a courtroom. And and so I stayed in law school and got the law degree, but by the time I had gotten out of law school I had actually written three books and I really never look back after that. Yeah, that's what I was going to ask you. Is is you know, you're an attorney, you're in a court room, you're fighting a case or somebody that's having an issue and you, like you said, you're in front of a judge and some jurors and but your reach is it like, not a lot of people are going to hear that outside of that community. Right, but your book can actually reach an influence many, many people and it gives you an opportunity as a lawyer. You're not going to do a book to or or signing all over the country. Possibly, right, but if you write a best selling work like you have now, you can go tell these stories in and help people understand what the victims have gone through, and I think that's more important sometimes. But you also need the other side. So I'm sure you were a little conflicted, but it is probably way more fun to write a book than being in a courtroom all day. I you know, I loved law I'm one of those people who actually enjoyed law school. I love the learning aspect of it and the summer I spent in the DA's office working in the sex crimes unit, helping the prosecutors prosecute accused sex offenders, was something that I got a lot of fulfilment out of and was something I think I would have enjoyed doing for a profession and I think I would have been good at it. But the reality was that writing because it was something I had never contemplated as a profession when I experienced it and I saw how influential and impactful not only a book can be. Books are interesting because they last forever. There it's a it's not like a newspaper that gets discarded the next day, or even I did a digital publication where you know, you go to the New York Times and tomorrow everything that you see today is gone. You can look it up, but I mean it's just not visible anymore. Books are things that people buy, read and then hold onto. They end up on a shelf. They're kind of a permanent record and beyond that they become a catalyst for the author. In some instances, certainly not all authors, not even most offers. But some authors, if they write certain kinds of books, have an opportunity to be on television, on the radio, on a podcast like this, where you talk about what you wrote about, and that allows you your storytelling to reach an even larger audience. Then your readership. And then there's another level to it. If your book gets made into a documentary film or a scripted television series or a movie or even a Broadway play, it takes on an even bigger life because now you get millions of people who are watching a story about what you wrote in your book, and so these are all things gust quite honestly, I didn't understand the significance of any of this when I first started, but as I got into the job and started to produce book after book after Book, I became more appreciative of the scope of how far reaching the media can be. So when you write it, these non fiction books, your tone, it's not necessarily story putting the facts out there, but you're also having your theories, your ideas of what you're reading, what you're seeing. So how do you work that into a book like pros and cons, when you're seeing these guys lives, their professional athletes are at their highest level and they're doing the wrong things. And so how do you write that story that it's not just your opinion but it's really the facts? Yeah, I mean to be honest that the way that my career started, with a book like pros and cons, is actually so far removed from what I do today and for what I've been doing for a long time with books. And I think to answer your question, I'd actually it would be probably better to answer your question by referring to the book that I just did on the do England patriots, the dynasty, or the book I did before that, the doctor the biography of Tiger Woods, because the dynasty and the Tiger Woods biography or the Steve Young Autobiography, those all present the challenges that you just presented in...

...your question and one of the things that you have to do as a writer is it's why books take so much longer to produce. In the case of the Patriot story in the dynasty, I spent a full year just reading, interviewing and observing the New England Patriots Organization from inside before I ever thought about writing. In other words, there's a lot of thought process that goes into designing a story that's going to span, say, four or five hundred pages in a book. You can't just sit down and start writing. You have to do a tremendous amount of research and also a tremendous amount of thinking. You know, you learn all this information and then you have to think about but how do I structure this into a narrative? How do I what's the story that I want to tell, for instance, about Bill Belichick, Tom Brady and Robert Kraft, and and how do I do it on a page? And that the amount of time that you spend contemplating and, in my case, designing, meaning I literally have a pen or a pencil and pieces of blank paper where I design on paper. It's like a storyboard where I write, you know, make diagrams and sort of string it all together so I can see visually how this story is, all these different pieces of the story connect together. Yeah, so you've written a lot of sports kind of books. You know obviously the dynasty, Tiger Woods, Steve Young, but you've written other types of stories to right between happiness and despair. I think was one you were you got to make a choice. But so tell us why you kind of went back and forth and it just is it just something that piqued your interest at that time, ors it's something that was kind of culturally going on, like, you know, the other than you. Also, my name used to be Muhammad. I think that's a great book as well, just understanding and getting people an understanding of who you are. Why you why you switch like that. Yeah, I mean I appreciate that, guys, because when I started twenty, almost twenty five years ago, the first you know, I did two books right out of the shoot about athletes and violence against women, and one of my concerns was, you know, I was being told of the time you could be an expert witness, you could be on cable TV all the time talking about these shows, like on Fox, and at the time there was court TV to or all these cable shows that were inviting me on. It like could have become a cottage industry for me to be like that guy who's every time an athlete gets charged with a high profile crime, I'm in a suit and tie and I'm on all the cable shows talking about it and getting paid, and I remember saying my agent I don't want to be that guy, like I don't want to spend the rest of my career just writing those kinds of books, and so I immediately pivoted and I did a book about Foxwoods Casino, the biggest casino in the world at the time. It was in Connecticut and I did a big book about how it happened. And from there I did a series of books that had nothing to do with sports. I did one on a food poison outbreak, I did one on a Supreme Court case about property rights. I did want about a skeletal biologist at the Smithsonian and in a great lawsuit. All of them had legal and political components. None of them had anything to do with sports. But the thing was gus as time went on and I got deeper and deeper into my profession as a writer and I got better with each book. I mean sort of like an athlete, and I'm sure you can relate to this as a former quarterback. It's like every year you'd like to think right, you're a little bit smarter about how to be a quarterback, you're a little bit better at how to how to do your job, and I think as a writer that was certainly happening to me. With each book I I saw things I did last time that I knew I could do better. And then I came back to sports and it was really because in around two thousand and eleven I started writing big special feature pieces for sports illustrated, and when I did that I suddenly found myself back in that arena of sports. And then there was just a string of one book after another, start with the system about college football, and then Steve Young and Tiger Patriots. In between there I did take on a couple projects. Like you said, my name used to be Muhammad, a great book about a guy who left Islam to become a Christian and then had his life threatened because of it, and that that took me to Africa for the first time in my life to do his story. But by and large, I think where I've ended up now and where I'm really happy to be is I'm back in sports. But the kind of stories I'm telling in sports now are the stories I want to tell. These are right in depth by a biographical books about people who are the best in the world at what they do, and the reason I... that is because there's a lot of inspiration there and there's a lot that people can learn from and relate to by looking at an athlete like tiger or Steve Young or Tom Brady, and there's just life lessons in there that I think go beyond the sport right. Well, I want to go back to what thing you said though. That so obviously you wrote these special stories for sports illustrated, but when you were a kid you couldn't wait to go get your sports illustrated. So that was that like a was a real moment for you that now here's the magazine I grew up loving and I'm actually writing in my articles are in it. What was that like for you? It was surreal, that's the word I would use. I remember, I remember vividly the first cover story that I had in the magazine, because I remember what it was like to get the magazine and see my name on the cover and it immediately brought me back to that story I told you at the start of this interview about opening the mailbox and seeing Larry Bird and other people on the GRUB. I it was it was for me. I mean I have to say I grew up in a pretty humble house. You know, weat my dad is a plumber, my mom was a stay at home mom. We had six kids in a house that would embarrass most people if you knew the size of it, was like a shoe box, and I just you know, I never, I didn't even know how to dream that one day I could write a story that would appear on the cover of the magazine that I subscribed to as a boy, or that I could write a book that that would have my name on it. Like those weren't things that a guy in my shoes would have known to dream about as a child. And so when it started happening to me every time, I still do it, like this Patriots Book Is My Fifteen Book and there sixteen bookscuse me, and the reaction is the same when the books first get shipped to my house, you know, a month before they're in the stores, and I open that box the first time and I see a pile of books that say the dynasty on it and my name is on the cover, I still pinch myself and say, I can't believe that I get to do this. You know what I mean? It's that it's that kind of thing for me. Yeah, I just picture I don't know if you've ever seen the Jim Carrey movie where it's the commy. I'm trying to get the name of it, where his son wants him to play baseball with them all the time and he likes Jose. Can say go, and he finally gets to become Jose. Can sayco right, have an he sing out like they can say go like because it's signing. Finally played baseball and is so excited. But I picture you like getting a magazine with your name on it and you're on the cuveroard and you're going, I'm Larry Bird, I love it. Finally, you know, this is like the I've come. I've come full circle now. So that's awesome that you know it. But those are all of us, right. I grew up bunching Terry Bradshaw and then I'm playing in the NFL and he interviews me in a in an interview when I was with the redskins. Then I'm staring at him speechless and he's Terry Bradshaw, just talking as big as life, you know. But yeah, but he didn't see that in me, but I saw that, you know, going on. I still think about that day. Whyeah, pretty amazing, isn't so? It's a lot of fun too. So when you're writing these books. I know you got to interview, especially when you do something like with just Steve Young, with just tiger woods, but I've known Steve. I don't know personally that well anymore, but we played against each other a lot. We here, we went a pro bowl together. But through about Steve is that he has this super memory, right, this photographic memory, and all these coaches that have coach with them say you kind of be like Steve Young and we're going to say one word, you're going to remember the whole play and I'm like, you know, that guy is a how smart he is. He's for point, those in the college like nobody's going to be Steve Young ever. Yeah, yeah, that's a good I'm glad you brought that up because I remember when we were working on the book and I spent years with Steve on that project and it was one of the most enjoyable experiences I've ever had as a journalist was getting to spend those years with Steve and get really close to him and his family. He's always the warn of a human being. But I remember when I was interviewing Mike Shanahan, who was for a time was Steve's offensive coordinator in San Francisco when they were in their heyday. And one of the things that Shannahan talked about with me is that the niners had a very complicated play scheme and they would so that they would play a game on a Sunday, for example, and the next day the quarterback, Montana or young, would get a binder and it was the plays for the next week's game. And basically then you'd have the off day, which was Tuesday, and then Wednesday they would get back to practice and they'd have a few days to work on...

...the play scheme for that Sunday's game. And what Shanahan said was just phenomenal was when they showed up on Wednesday morning. He said, you know other quarterbacks, all of whom were smart, all of whom were hard working and prepared, none of whom, none who would show up on Wednesday morning and literally have memorized the entire binder. And and that's what Steve would do. But one of the advantages he had that that the other guys didn't have was that sort of photographic memory ability that he had and it really gave him a huge advantage in terms of the niners great playbook is he he knew where everybody was supposed to be on every play because he'd look at the diagrams in the binder which were very specific, and he could visualize in and see them all, and so this kind of rapid recall that he had, I think it's fascinating. Like I see a lot of parallels actually between him and Tom Brady. I'm not saying the Tom as a photographic memory. No one's ever said that about Tom, but I do think that there are some consistencies with Tom. In terms of Tom to me is he plays the game much more with his brain than his feet or even his arm, and I think that that that's something I talked about with Steve a lot, actually before I was working on the Patriots Book and then after I started on the Patriots Book, and I would call Steve Sometimes and say, Hey, let me just run something by you because I just did an interview with Tom and Steve would be able to react and sort of explain some things to me from the perspective of a quarterback and I just found that whole thing fascinating. Yeah, and I'm sure that when you're writing this book with Steve, I would have to think that you would say hey, you remember this play and he's like, of course I remember that play. Like for me, if I go back and you would ask me a play from you know what I was my second year in one thousand nine hundred and ninety five, we were playing this team. I'd have to go back and watch the film or do something like that. But I'm sure it was probably a lot of fun working with Steve Because of that type of memory and that recall that he has. It was and there's a there's a great I don't know if you've seen, the NFL films did a great documentary on Steve for their football life series and it the documentary was actually based on the book that I wrote for Steve and I worked with NFL films, Chris Barlow and those guys. I was like a a producer and helped on that project and I there's a scene. There's a scene at the beginning of that films if you go back and watch it, it's pretty funny. But we're sitting there and Steve is so we're on camera. So NFL films is filming us and watching the play where Steve throws the past to Terrell Owens to beaca backers in the plays, very famous away. Yeah, and so Steve is describing and he's like, you know recall. He's like, yeah, Tarrell was on a skinny post and he says it's just like that, a skinny post. And I said, you know, what's a skinny post? And the reason I asked the question was I know what it is, but I'm always thinking about readers. In readers, most readers, even football fans, might not know what that is. And so they know what a post is but they don't know what a skinny post is. And so I say to Steve What's a skinny post and then he describes it in the film. The reason I bring that up is to say that while we were working on the book I would constantly ask them questions like that and he would have very clear recall on plays like Jerry was doing this or Brent Jones was doing that, and you know, Harris Barton was supposed to pull and block this guy. You he remember that stuff. I mean it's amazing. Yeah, it is amazing his recall. I'll give you a story of mine why I think his memory is amazing. That my wife and I met him. I can't remember where we were one time at at a pro bowl and then a few years later we saw him at another event and he came up and he goes hanging in and Guss how are you guys doing? And my wife looked at like she's like, we met him for like two minutes. Does he remember my name? And I'm like that's Steve Young. He has a great member right, so great, that's Steve. I can never do this, but that's great. We want. We're taking a little short freak. We're talking with Jaison, Jeff Benedict, who just wrote him another great book called the Dynasty. We will be right back. Hey listeners, thanks for joining David I in the huddle. We invite you to join our excuse of huddle through Patreon, where you can get access to content made just for VIPs like yourself. Head to our website, huddle up with gustcom and hit support our podcast on the pop up ad. Once again. That's huddle up with gustcom. Now let's get back in the huddle. Hey everyone, we're back. Welcome back to the thirty one, to a new studio. You can find...

...our show at huddle up with Guestcom or you can find us on twitter at huddle up with dust and facebook at the same tag. So we were talking today with Jeff Bennett, who wrote a new book called the dynasty. We're digging into some football, some other things that he loves right now. I want to get back into his next book that, you know, I'm really interested to find out a little bit. I'm a Golfer, you know I'm not a very good one, but just Jeff, can you please explain to me? You know, we just talked about Steve Young and like his mental side of it, but you have to have a complete different mental side of it for golf and tiger. His rise to start them was so fast and early in his life and then you know he had bumps on the way as well. So tell us a little bit about that mental side that he had to go through. So I think you know, tiger to me is maybe the most mentally I mean I hate to say the most, because I just spent, you know, the last seven years now between Steve Young, tiger woods, Tom Brady. We're talking about free you know, three of the most elite competitive people you'll ever come across. But in Tiger's case his training started when he was two years old, when his father, who was a green beret and used a lot of military techniques that he applied to is his son, and I mean it sounds almost brutal to take about it, but he taught tiger golf in a way that was so different than the way other golfers were taught to play golf, and there was a racial component to that. In other words, what I mean is one of the reasons that his father trained him sort of this mental military approach to golf was because he appreciated and understood forward looking that when tiger came into pro golf he would be a very distinct minority or all appreciated this was a white man's game and these country clubs where tiger would have to go and perform, he would look different than everybody else and all eyes would always be riveted on him. And so there was a method to why or old woods taught his debt his son the way he did. It's jarring when you read the Tiger was biography. Parents who read it are they are stunned and uncomfortable when they read the way that Tiger was coached by his dad. It is so unaccustomed to how most parents are used to teaching their kids a sport, but earl was thinking about what was ahead for Tiger and this was all calculated, it was all planned, and it's why, I mean, I don't know many dads, quite frankly, who would be capable of doing some of the things that earl woods did to get tiger conditioned to deal with what he was going to deal with as a racial minority come into coming into a sport like golf. So that is a sort of hit's a dicey, treacherous part of the biography, but I think it's the most important part because it explains so much about the way that tiger was able to focus as a young man on the PGA tour and the reason that he was so dominant, so lethal in his first years on the PGA tour and why other golfers who had been around for twenty years and one tournaments were intimidated. They were intimidated by him Gus. They were afraid of him, even though technically just kind of a boy right out of college, left stand for early, but the minute he joined the tour people were intimidated. He was his approach to golf was much more comparable to say, Dick Bucks's approach to football. He was in intimidating physical presence, who had a mental edge over everybody else on the tour and he used every one of those advantages to beat people. And he wasn't interested in just beating you. He wanted to pummel you, to crush you, and that's that's the way his dad and his mom taught him to compete. Yeah, you know, and I think that for me, is like when I lost my dad. There's a big part of me that were with them because it couldn't call them anymore, I couldn't talk to me any more, couldn't get advice from him. So tell me about when, you know, you tell us about entire came on the tour and how powerful that was, and there's this coach still coaching him and then he loses his dad and it seems like after that things started to change a little bit. Yeah, I think. You know, we Arma...

Kitay and I arm and and I wrote the tiger is biography together. We spent three years on it, which is the two guys. It's like the equivalent of six years. So we did it. It's a lot of research and I think it's it's accurate to say that the change happened well before earl passed away. I'm not minimizing the significance of Earl's loss. It was profound on tiger. I'm just pointing out that their relationship had changed in the years leading up to earls passing. Tiger had changed. A lot of things had changed in that whole dynamic. Tiger was a man by then. He was not a boy anymore who was under the wing and under the control of his dad. He was on his own. He was his own man. He had a new sort of group around him. His father was no longer in that inner circle the way he in the old days. You know, Earl was the inner circle right by the time. You know, by the Time Tiger reached his pinnacle, Earl was outside the inner circle. And so I think what happens when all passes is it is obviously devastating because it is his dad. Tiger was was an only child in that marriage and they were close and it was hard and it throw him, there's no question about it. But I think that a lot of the things that that ultimately came into play in unraveled tiger's life, all of those were already in motion before or all passed away. Yeah, yeah, you talked about a guy who was just at the peak and then had so many struggles in between, because, I mean you obviously spent a lot of time with them. No new his family when he was growing up. You know, we try to get our kids to play every sport, to go out and socialize and do those things, and it almost seems like Tiger did not have a lot of that. And so then when he did become his own man and created new in a circle, he was seeing a life. It's almost like the Amish right when they're they're sixteen. They let him go out and see if that's what they really want to be. Yeah, I we spent a lot of time in the biography in Tiger's childhood because it's I just think it's so it's important and it's so insightful to see that in those years of Grammar School in Middle School, he really he wasn't allowed to play other sports, and tigers are an incredible athlete. I think. I think he would have been great at any sport he played. He is he's in the conversation for the greatest athlete of our time. So not not just the greatest Golfer. I'm talking about an athlete, I think, if he had played football or basketball or soccer. I remember. This is great story, guys. It's in our book. Actually, there was a it was a scout on the west coast who was considered like the Best Scout California for scouting young golfers and a lot of the top colleges, like ohhome estate and Stanford that had the best golf teams, they relied on him for intelligence and information. He would go to a lot of the junior tournaments and watch the best golfers and Tiger was at these tournaments and he was just wiping people out and the parents, parents of the golfers that he was killing at these tournaments, they would come up to the scout because they wanted to know what are his parents doing that we're not doing, like how do they make him play like that? And the scounts answer was always you don't want to know. Yeah, you don't want to know because you can't do this and and he would say things like let me put it to you this way. If Tiger Woods wasn't playing golf and he was playing soccer, this kid would score six goals every single game. If he was a baseball player instead of a Golfer, he would hit three or four home runs each game. I mean that's the kind of kid you're up against. It's just he's playing golf, and so I think that that that was partly a result of it. It's sort of like watching Brady now in the sense that he practices all year long. There's there's a great story in the dynasty about when Randy Moss and West Welker came to the Patriots right and they had that season in two thousand and seven, the first season there, where they went undefeated and then lost to the giants the next year. You remember what happened in the first game of the next year. Grady blows his knee out, takes a kind of a low hit and he this is the whole season. He has surgery and all that. When he comes back from surgery it's right as the two thousand and eight season is ending. So Randy Moss and West Welker have just finished a season. Tom's finally able to start running around.

He wants to start practicing. In need it Lee and what could most like? Moss and welcore like we need some time off and it sounds like no way. We're like working out now, and I think this is what you see in Tom is. It's year round, non stop. He's been doing this for now, is in his twenty one year and there's just no let up in the drive, in the determination, in the motivation, and I think that that you you know this. This is rare. I mean there's just a point in the professional athletes life where that drive to work that hard every day kind of starts to go away. It's not that you don't want to play anymore. I'm not saying that. I'm saying what it takes to get out of bed every day and practice that way, day in and day out for twenty years. They're just aren't many guys that are wired that way. I think. Yeah, Tiger Tiger was wired that way from the beginning. I think Tom is wired that way. Yeah, it's just not sustainable for most people. I mean I played fifteen years and we travel it all over this country and had a family and kids and some point when you're thirty eight you're just like all right, now, you know, maybe time to move on, you know, because there's always somebody younger, faster, stronger, coming and and they're always looking to replace you and and obviously Tom has a resume that is untouched in the NFL, you know, and there's only a few people that could ever be in. You're right, like Tom to me and Peyton manning and Tiger Woods, just their drive is relentless. But Tom is is definitely, you know, he's trying to be like tiger. Obviously Tiger is going to be able to golf into his S and Tom's trying to pay fall in those s if he that, which I would sue. I think it's what's interesting and it actually one of my when you talk about storytelling, one of my favorite things to have written about in the dynasty was the fact that Tom Brady and bill belichick together have this. This is something they have in common. There's a lot about Tom and bill that are different. They're not close in terms of the friendly relationship with them doesn't really exist away from work. Like they didn't mean a lot of friendly with bill. Bill check though. I mean bill has friends, he does it and he's got a great sense of humor and all these other things, but the point is is that he and Tom didn't have this away from work close relationship where they go out to dinner have beers together. They didn't do that. But what they did have that was so unique was a mutual drive that surpassed everyone else in their class. So for bill there's no other coach, no other coach, and I would say in any sport. So I'm going outside the NFL here. I'm talking about everywhere that's is driven to win consistently as he is. If you think about how old he is, only pet carol is older, and that's by a sliver. But the differences. Bill has been doing the same thing his entire life. He's never done anything else but coach football, as Robert Kraft likes to say. Robert says, I think he was put on earth to do that one thing and I think what made him and Tom so unbeatable as a partnership for twenty years. The reason they went to nine super bowls together and one six and and owned The AFC east for that entire two decades is because of the endless reservoir of drive. I think both of them have a monumental chip on their shoulders where they are constantly trying to show everybody that they are good at they are great at what they do and I see that as a that is a quality, not a criticism. I'm not saying this in a critical way at all. I think it's what separated the Patriots from everybody else and I think what the genius of Robert Kraft, was the owner, was he knew, he could see a long time ago that he had Paul McCartney and John Lennon on his payroll and he also knew that if you've got the Beatles, it's it's really hard to keep them on the same stage. There's a reason in that. The Beatles only stayed together for about seven years and I think what kraft was all about was figuring out what's it going to take to keep John and Paul in Fox for all for as long as possible. No one imagined he'd be able to keep them together for twenty years, but to the detriment of the rest of the NFL, that's what he did. Yeah, and it's amazing you watch. You know, you talk about their drive and their passion. I think what was great about it is that they didn't have to worry about the other one.

Right. Sometimes you have a great quarterback who trying to figure out their head coach and you're trying to have that relationship and you don't really understand it, or the head coach's say, man, this guy has all the talent. Why is it he just out there working all the time? But they both did that relentlessly and, like you said, that caused them to respect each other. Didn't matter if they didn't have an off filled with friendship, because they knew exactly what they wanted when they walked in that building. They wanted to be the best, and together they were. They were definitely unstoppable. And you know, we know their stories, though. You know, we know their stories about build bull check and Tom Brady, and because their lots have been told about them. So tell us about some of the other characters that took part in this, because football is the ultimate team sport. Even though you had these two guys that were the leaders that drove everything, there had to be some other characters to produce championships right, other people, they'll not necessarily where the pawns, but were the other you know, the Queen and the and everybody else that had to play a big role in all this. So tells us to some of the other important characters that created this dynasty. So I mean I didn't want to interview hundreds of players because obviously they have been hundreds of players who have participated agents dynasty. But what I tried to do was strategically choose players from each sort of place in the dynasty that I thought would be important to tell the story. So I spend time with drew bledsoe and Dion Branch and Teddy Bruce Ky and Randy Moss, William Mc Ginnis, Rob Gronkowski, just players that are in different episodes of this long running saga. Bill and Tom are in the entire saga. They're they're there for the whole run of twenty years, right, but all all those other players I mentioned are there for pieces of the of the run and they're all critical. I mean Rodney, Harrison, ty law, lawyer, Malloy, the names that have come through New England over the last twenty years. It's remarkable and so I think the stories that that are there are phenomenal. I'll just tell you one and it's actually a brady story, but it's a story that speaks to sort of everybody else. In two thousand and one when drew Bledso was the star not only in New England, he was the highest paid player in the entire valley, earning a hundred three million dollars. He's the gun slinger, I mean he is the man in New England. And that year, of course, we know the story. MOLOIS hits him and he goes down and Tom is thrust into the starting role and they have a great season with Brady at the helm and they make it to the playoffs and they play that famous game against the raiders that's known for the Tuck rule. But is this? Here's the story that I think is fascinating and it Belichick is very strict about players being at the stadium no less than three hours before kickoff. It's a team rule, at least it was in two thousand and one. And Brady's like a rookie. He's the starter, but he's a kid, you know. Everybody calls him Tommy. He's not Tom Rady, he's Tommy and he lives very close to the stadium. He's not married yet, he's single. He's the kids, he's got a bachelor life and this is easy, you know. So he comes out of his house, he throws his bag in his jeep and he starts driving to the stadium and it's snowing out and it was a sudden snowstorm and for the first time Brady hits sub sirious gridlock and realizes the traffic is so bad heading to the stadium because, think about it, for New England fans they're under the impression, which proved to be true, that this would be the last time that they'd ever be at a game at foxporth stadium because the stadium is going to get torn down after his game make way for Juetson, and so people are all going early. It's snowing out, it's a the highways or jam and Tom Realizes I'm not going to make it to the game. Are Certainly not going to make it on time. So he picks up the phone and his jeep and he calls ahead of security. WHO's at the stadium, a former state trooper dining, Frank Mendez, and he says, frank, I'm stuck, and he frank, this is like frank's moment to be the hero, right, and he's so yeah, where are you and what are you driving? And you know it tells them I'm in my yellow Gee, because them the coordinates. Within a few minutes a state trooper shows up. You know, all the cars are moving out of the way so this guy with his lights on can get to the Geek and then he basically tells Tom Follow me, you know, light showing irons. Tom Pulls out, gets behind the trooper and starts to make it his way and the cars all along the highway or parting like the Red Sea naking way. There were other players trapped in this traffic and they all know. You all know Tom's jeep because it's a yellow jeep. It stands out as a California kid. So one by one the other players...

...start getting out of line and getting in line behind Tom, who's following the trooper. The fans that are in their cars, they figure out who these it's the paine it's Tom and the team, and everyone's like honking and screaming a yell and it's like they love it. Here's why I love this story, guys, and it's it was so foreshadowing of what was going to happen in New England. This show knows Tom Brady as a leader. It shows people wanting to follow him and they make its medium on time and Tom has one of the most important games of his life and does lead them to victory and they win, and so the dynasty. For me, the reason I loved it is because it's full of bees sort of behind the scenes moments where you get to see like the thinking of Tom you know, this is the kind of the way that he acting did it and and how other players reacted to him. Yeah, I know, that's that's that's what the amazing part is is that you heard guys talk about Tom as yeah, he's tough, we're going to go out and work out, you're going to do everything, but he's also going to be your buddy. You're going to be you know. I mean I'm good friends with West Walker as well, who he and I played together in Miami and then the next I think next to two years after I left Miami, he goes to to the Patriots and he tells great stories about Tom. I mean loves the Guy, but that's what it's like, you know, the the ultimate leader that. But I don't think Tom is so harsh on everyone. He is sort of game sometimes. We see a little bit about that, but he's also wants to build everybody up to be better. Right. Definitely. I love that about them and I think that really comes out in the narrative, in the dynasty. You really see there's a reason that players gravitate to him, why they want to play for him. That was certainly the case in New England. I said play for him, I mean play win him, and it's similarly that players that have wanted to go to Tampa Bay because they want to play with him down there. Ie, ROB Gronkowsky. Right. And so what do you think is going to happen with Mr Kraft now? Tom Brady's left. At some point Bill Belichi has going to retire, so it's Mr Kraft can retired to and just say, okay, I'm going to sell the team, I'm done. I've had it like yeah, we've done. I think this is now. This is a family business. They run it like a family business. I think that, you know, Robert Kraft's wishes are the same now as they were when he bought the team, which is I think he would like this to remain in the craft family for a long, long time, and I think it will, because I think the way he's built a company and built the organization it is it is set up to to have that kind of succession and continue to have the craft name. Yeah, one, an amazing book. It had to be just an amazing time for you to be, you know, in in Dude, in the Patriots Organization for four years and to just to see how it runs, how the operation runs, because obviously I've been in a lot of facilities and been around football for a long time, but for you to come in and sit and watch that day in a day out. Did you get to sit in any quarterback meetings to see those like? What it's talked about, what it's like the weekend, week out of the preparation? I sat in a, you know, variety of different kind of meetings. I never sat in a quarterback meeting, but I did have the opportunity to sit with one on one with Tom at the stadium and have him explain and talk about, you know, all these different facets of quarterbacking, which for me was a it was interesting for me having already spent so much time with Steve Young and had those kinds of sort of intimate conversations with him about the job of being a quarterback, technical aspects of it that I never even could imagine, and without having, you know, having someone like Steve Walking through it, and then to be able to interview Tom. There were things that Tom would say that I understood thanks to Steve. Yeah, and so it's great. I think the book is wonderful. Everybody's got to read the dynasty. So, Hey, son, are you ready? We're going to do the two minute drill. Let's do it, all right, we're going to throw two minutes on the clock. We got some easy questions. Are a lot of fun and just let's rattle through these. I here we go. GAS OR ELECTRIC CAR? I have a gas car, but I prefer an electric. All right. So you're at your Tesla's coming your way. All right, would you rather fly or drive? Depends where I'm going. Bends how far I have to go. For me, I'm a driver. I'd better drive, all right. What's your biggest pet? Peeve ignorance. You're dealing with a lot of that these days. Okay, give... your mouth rushmore of you all your books. What are your for top books for you? For me it would be the dynasty, Tiger Woods, qb, my life behind the spiral, Steve Young and probably without reservation. I like it. I like it. I'm gonna have to read that one, all right. What's your favorite sports movie? Movie? Probably boy, that's a tough one. The natural that's a good one. Yeah, get that one a lot. All right. What recreational sport do you play now? I stopped playing recreational sports a few years ago just for my own sake, of my knees. I liked. I write, a bike a lot and I still run on a beach. I exercise. I just don't play see any kind of team sports anymore. I'll take it. I'll take it all right. If you could change places with one person for a day, who would that person be? On the bottom? I like it. I like I thought you might say like John Lennon or somebody you know. Go back to be the Beatles thing, all right. Who's your favorite QB? That's easy. I'd be Brady, all right, love it. All right. What a couple more here. What do you think the most exciting Olympic sport is? You know, probably I mean a cross between Bob sledding and you know, because it's so dangerous. I mean, when I watch those sports it unnerves me, it does. All right, last one. I'm going to kick a field roll here you. We've written about football, right. We're going to switch over to basketball, and I want you to give me your top guy here out of George, Jordan, Kobe or Lebron? You don't know. I can't answer that. I'm writing Lebron. Final Larry Bird, and there too, for you did say they're I'll just say this way. Growing up, my favorite player to watch was Larry Bird. That's the political get out of that. But I have to add Lebron or bird to that. The that next one. All right. So, Jeff, would really appreciate you join us in the Hottele and getting US getting letting our fans that are a little bit more about you. Please tell everyone where they can find your book, how they can your website, how they can can get ahold of everything that you're doing. Sure, my website is easy. It's Jeff Bennedictcom. As far as we're to get the book, I'm a big advocate of local bookstores, but this book is available everywhere, from Amazon to Barnes and noble to you know big box book stores. All right, one thing. Tell us why the dynasty is as a bestseller. It I think just because it's a story that's more, a lot more, about life than it is about football. It's got a great football backdrop, but this is a story that women who don't even like football get a lot out of, and that's I think that's why it made the list. All right, awesome. Alright, so we've come along it way since your days of pull that sports illustrated out of the mailbox. I was the same way with baseball cards. I still collect them to this day, old ones and and there's nothing like gripping a pack open, and I mean I collect old steelers now and I can remember back in the s when I was a kid, pulling those steelers out of the pack. It was like the most Glorious Day. So I know exactly how you feel. So, Jeff, thank you again for joining me on huddle up with guests. We really appreciate it. Thanks, guys. I really enjoy its fun. All right, everyone, thank you for joining us in another edition of Huddle up with gusts. You can find us on RADIOCOM AP or wherever you listen your favorite podcast. Joined us at huddle up with Gustcom, where you can like and subscribe, and also on thirty one. Thank you for joining David I in the huddle. We hope you enjoyed our podcast. If you'd like to hear more podcast, just like this. Go to huddle up with Gustcom, where you can find our social channels, subscribe to hear more by our merchandise and joined our excoose of huddle through patreon. Please join us next week when we talk to more guests about how sports shape their life.

In-Stream Audio Search


Search across all episodes within this podcast

Episodes (167)