Huddle Up with Gus
Huddle Up with Gus

Episode · 1 year ago

Jeff Benedict

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

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 https://www.jeffbenedict.com   See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

Hey everyone, we appreciate you joiningus in the huddle. I'm your host, fifteen year NFL quarterback guests for atalongside my longtime friend and Co host Dave Hagar, where we talked toguests about how sports shape their life. Be sure to check us out onour website. How do up with Gustscom, where you can listen to more episodesjust like this. Now let's join the huddle. Hey everyone, welcometo do another episode of Huddle of guests. I'm your host guests fat and usuallyjoined by my friend Dave Hagar, but Dave is not here. Obviouslyyou 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 beengrown going great, but we've had a lot of guests on that are professionalathletes and people who who are professional athletes but tell the stories of professional athletesand great teams, and so today I'm really honored to have a guest thatwe 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 canfind us on Radiocom or wherever you listen to your favorite podcast. You canlook 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 excitedto welcome our guests today. Our guests has written a new book called thedynasty, and I think we know who he's talking about if you if youall of football at all. But Jeff Benedict is our guest today and I'mreally excited, Jeff, to really dig into not only the dynasty but allthe 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'sreally exciting. I think people like you that have a great knowledge of alot 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 yourlife where you fell level sports? I grew up in southeastern Connecticut right alongLong Island, show sound and a blue collar town, a beach community.Basically, I think the first real memory I have of sports was watching theMiami Dolphins play the Dallas Cowboys and get thea in yearly s Super Bowl andand really gravitating towards the colorful uniforms of the dolphins and over the next coupleof years with my my friends who were, you know, we were five,six years old, seven years old, and fell in love with the MiamiDolphins because they had the best uniforms and and at that time they hadthe best team. I went to my first professional baseball game at Fenway Parkwhen I was about ten years old. And I think you know, growingup in New England doings a great sports area. Were right kind of betweenBoston 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 lotof sports as a kid and then, I think you know, by thetime 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 asa youth. It was sort of a ritual that I had of running homefrom school once a week on Thursdays. That was the day the magazine camein the mail to my house and I would run home every Thursday as soonas school let out to have that moment where I'd opened the mailbox and pulledthe magazine out and see who was on the cover that week. And Istill remember vividly the day that I pulled the magazine out and saw Larry Birdon the cover for the first time. He was in Indiana state and hewas surrounded by a couple of cheerleaders and who you know, who had theirfingers up to their mouth going and I remember looking, looking at that pictureand thinking who is this guy and and not imagining that a few years laterhe would come to Boston and become the the athlete that most kids my agegrew up idolize. It. So that was sort of my for r intosports as a as a as a kid. Yeah, you know, it's funnyyou 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 becausehe does a lot of seventy sports. And he said, Hey, pickyour one favorite athlete that if you saw them in the s you would saythis guy is definitely not going to be an Allstar athlete right. And heput a picture Larry Bird Up, you know, from when he was incollege 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 havethat 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 totry everything? What we what did you do when you were younger? Playedfootball and baseball and I wrestled one year in high school. I didn't reallypick up basketball as a sport that I thoroughly enjoyed until actually until right aroundthe time I was graduating from high school, but football and baseball were the mainsports that I participated in as a kid. Yeah, so we've hada lot of authors and Writers and journalists on here. Don Yeager, Iknow you. You Co wrote a book with him. He's been on theshow before. So that journalistic view comes from a passion that that I thinkall you guys have with sports. One way or another. You Fall inlove 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 youknow we're but we did. You also know that, Hey, I lovethis other side of you know, education and writing and all those types ofthings. 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 timewhile 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 workingso much that sports became something that I continue to love and watch, butas a participant, my own involvement dwindled because I was trying to earn moneyand thinking about things like how am I going to go to college if Idon't start putting money in the bank? And it was also in high schoolthat I wrote for the first time. I wasn't thinking in high school aboutbecoming a journalist, to be quite honest with you. I I wrote becauseI took a class in high school. It was called about, you know, the High School newspaper Class, and so I did write for our schoolpaper and I covered sports for our high school, but I also covered thearts, you know, I wrote about John Lennon's death, I wrote aboutthe drummer of led Zeppelin's death and I did like it. I liked writingthose stories. But again, I wasn't thinking at that point in my lifethat I would be a writer. Right that, but that's kind of howwe all I mean, I never thought when I was in high school playingfootball and in ninth grade I actually broke my neck playing football and never magicI'd played fifteen years in the NFL. Right, that just didn't seem likea possibility. But you take that next step day in and day out andyou start, you know, leading your passions, like I finally got backon a football field as a junior in high school. So tell me aboutthat, that decision. As you're getting older into high school now and you'rewriting more and more and then you're thinking about that transition and what you wantto do in that next step of your life, going to college. Sowhen I went to college, I went to I studied American history and collegeand got a degree in history and I my plan at that point was tobecome 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 lawschool and because in graduate school I was really transitioning my thinking away from beinga professor to being a lawyer and and so I applied to law school andI got accepted and was heading down that path. And it was then thatI there was this long period between when I was in high school to whenI went to law school where I I really didn't write at all because Ireally wasn't thinking about writing and anyway. But I did a lot of writingand graduate school because I had to. It wasn't the kind of writing thatanyone would want to read. It was academic, you know, just dryboring stuff. But the reality was I was writing about things that weren't dryand boring. I was actually in graduate school I did my thesis on athletesand violence against women and I this was around the time that Oj Simpson withcharge with double murder. Is Right in the time that Mike Tyson went toprison 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 writingabout some of these high profile athletes that had abused women, and then Icame along with this sort of very academic study about it, because I studiedhundreds 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 intojournalism. It was an unintentional consequence of having studied it in graduate school andthen going into law school. I signed a book contract right after I gotinto law school. That's what I meant.

Actually met Don Yeager and we dida book called pros and cons together. Right that changed that process changed mytrajectory of my life and my career because at that time my objective wasto 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, Irealized was was something that I I really loved doing. I I realize ithad 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 writtenthree books and I really never look back after that. Yeah, that's whatI 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 havingan issue and you, like you said, you're in front of a judge andsome jurors and but your reach is it like, not a lot ofpeople are going to hear that outside of that community. Right, but yourbook can actually reach an influence many, many people and it gives you anopportunity as a lawyer. You're not going to do a book to or orsigning all over the country. Possibly, right, but if you write abest selling work like you have now, you can go tell these stories inand help people understand what the victims have gone through, and I think that'smore important sometimes. But you also need the other side. So I'm sureyou were a little conflicted, but it is probably way more fun to writea book than being in a courtroom all day. I you know, Iloved law I'm one of those people who actually enjoyed law school. I lovethe learning aspect of it and the summer I spent in the DA's office workingin the sex crimes unit, helping the prosecutors prosecute accused sex offenders, wassomething that I got a lot of fulfilment out of and was something I thinkI would have enjoyed doing for a profession and I think I would have beengood at it. But the reality was that writing because it was something Ihad never contemplated as a profession when I experienced it and I saw how influentialand 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 nextday, or even I did a digital publication where you know, you goto 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 endup on a shelf. They're kind of a permanent record and beyond that theybecome a catalyst for the author. In some instances, certainly not all authors, not even most offers. But some authors, if they write certain kindsof 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 yourreadership. And then there's another level to it. If your book gets madeinto a documentary film or a scripted television series or a movie or even aBroadway play, it takes on an even bigger life because now you get millionsof 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 significanceof any of this when I first started, but as I got into the joband started to produce book after book after Book, I became more appreciativeof the scope of how far reaching the media can be. So when youwrite it, these non fiction books, your tone, it's not necessarily storyputting the facts out there, but you're also having your theories, your ideasof what you're reading, what you're seeing. So how do you work that intoa 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 butit's really the facts? Yeah, I mean to be honest that the waythat my career started, with a book like pros and cons, is actuallyso far removed from what I do today and for what I've been doing fora long time with books. And I think to answer your question, I'dactually it would be probably better to answer your question by referring to the bookthat I just did on the do England patriots, the dynasty, or thebook I did before that, the doctor the biography of Tiger Woods, becausethe dynasty and the Tiger Woods biography or the Steve Young Autobiography, those allpresent the challenges that you just presented in...

...your question and one of the thingsthat you have to do as a writer is it's why books take so muchlonger 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 PatriotsOrganization from inside before I ever thought about writing. In other words, there'sa 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 justsit down and start writing. You have to do a tremendous amount of researchand also a tremendous amount of thinking. You know, you learn all thisinformation and then you have to think about but how do I structure this intoa narrative? How do I what's the story that I want to tell,for instance, about Bill Belichick, Tom Brady and Robert Kraft, and andhow do I do it on a page? And that the amount of time thatyou spend contemplating and, in my case, designing, meaning I literallyhave a pen or a pencil and pieces of blank paper where I design onpaper. It's like a storyboard where I write, you know, make diagramsand sort of string it all together so I can see visually how this storyis, all these different pieces of the story connect together. Yeah, soyou'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 toright between happiness and despair. I think was one you were you got tomake a choice. But so tell us why you kind of went back andforth 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, youknow, the other than you. Also, my name used to be Muhammad.I think that's a great book as well, just understanding and getting peoplean 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 twobooks right out of the shoot about athletes and violence against women, and oneof my concerns was, you know, I was being told of the timeyou could be an expert witness, you could be on cable TV all thetime talking about these shows, like on Fox, and at the time therewas 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 guywho's every time an athlete gets charged with a high profile crime, I'm ina suit and tie and I'm on all the cable shows talking about it andgetting paid, and I remember saying my agent I don't want to be thatguy, like I don't want to spend the rest of my career just writingthose kinds of books, and so I immediately pivoted and I did a bookabout Foxwoods Casino, the biggest casino in the world at the time. Itwas in Connecticut and I did a big book about how it happened. Andfrom 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 aSupreme Court case about property rights. I did want about a skeletal biologist atthe Smithsonian and in a great lawsuit. All of them had legal and politicalcomponents. None of them had anything to do with sports. But the thingwas gus as time went on and I got deeper and deeper into my professionas a writer and I got better with each book. I mean sort oflike an athlete, and I'm sure you can relate to this as a formerquarterback. It's like every year you'd like to think right, you're a littlebit smarter about how to be a quarterback, you're a little bit better at howto how to do your job, and I think as a writer thatwas certainly happening to me. With each book I I saw things I didlast time that I knew I could do better. And then I came backto sports and it was really because in around two thousand and eleven I startedwriting big special feature pieces for sports illustrated, and when I did that I suddenlyfound myself back in that arena of sports. And then there was justa 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 ona couple projects. Like you said, my name used to be Muhammad,a great book about a guy who left Islam to become a Christian andthen had his life threatened because of it, and that that took me to Africafor the first time in my life to do his story. But byand large, I think where I've ended up now and where I'm really happyto be is I'm back in sports. But the kind of stories I'm tellingin sports now are the stories I want to tell. These are right indepth by a biographical books about people who are the best in the world atwhat they do, and the reason I...

...like that is because there's a lotof inspiration there and there's a lot that people can learn from and relate toby looking at an athlete like tiger or Steve Young or Tom Brady, andthere'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. Thatso obviously you wrote these special stories for sports illustrated, but when you werea kid you couldn't wait to go get your sports illustrated. So that wasthat like a was a real moment for you that now here's the magazine Igrew up loving and I'm actually writing in my articles are in it. Whatwas that like for you? It was surreal, that's the word I woulduse. I remember, I remember vividly the first cover story that I hadin the magazine, because I remember what it was like to get the magazineand see my name on the cover and it immediately brought me back to thatstory I told you at the start of this interview about opening the mailbox andseeing Larry Bird and other people on the GRUB. I it was it wasfor me. I mean I have to say I grew up in a prettyhumble house. You know, weat my dad is a plumber, my momwas a stay at home mom. We had six kids in a house thatwould embarrass most people if you knew the size of it, was like ashoe box, and I just you know, I never, I didn't even knowhow to dream that one day I could write a story that would appearon the cover of the magazine that I subscribed to as a boy, orthat 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 dreamabout 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 andthere sixteen bookscuse me, and the reaction is the same when the books firstget 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 pileof 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 todo this. You know what I mean? It's that it's that kind of thingfor me. Yeah, I just picture I don't know if you've everseen the Jim Carrey movie where it's the commy. I'm trying to get thename of it, where his son wants him to play baseball with them allthe time and he likes Jose. Can say go, and he finally getsto become Jose. Can sayco right, have an he sing out like theycan 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 andyou'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 comefull circle now. So that's awesome that you know it. But those areall of us, right. I grew up bunching Terry Bradshaw and then I'mplaying in the NFL and he interviews me in a in an interview when Iwas 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, buthe 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 thesebooks. I know you got to interview, especially when you do something like withjust 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 alot. We here, we went a pro bowl together. But through aboutSteve is that he has this super memory, right, this photographic memory, andall these coaches that have coach with them say you kind of be likeSteve Young and we're going to say one word, you're going to remember thewhole play and I'm like, you know, that guy is a how smart heis. He's for point, those in the college like nobody's going tobe Steve Young ever. Yeah, yeah, that's a good I'm glad you broughtthat up because I remember when we were working on the book and Ispent years with Steve on that project and it was one of the most enjoyableexperiences I've ever had as a journalist was getting to spend those years with Steveand get really close to him and his family. He's always the warn ofa human being. But I remember when I was interviewing Mike Shanahan, whowas for a time was Steve's offensive coordinator in San Francisco when they were intheir heyday. And one of the things that Shannahan talked about with me isthat the niners had a very complicated play scheme and they would so that theywould play a game on a Sunday, for example, and the next daythe quarterback, Montana or young, would get a binder and it was theplays 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 andthey'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 Wednesdaymorning. He said, you know other quarterbacks, all of whom were smart, all of whom were hard working and prepared, none of whom, nonewho 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 hadthat that the other guys didn't have was that sort of photographic memory ability thathe had and it really gave him a huge advantage in terms of the ninersgreat playbook is he he knew where everybody was supposed to be on every playbecause he'd look at the diagrams in the binder which were very specific, andhe could visualize in and see them all, and so this kind of rapid recallthat he had, I think it's fascinating. Like I see a lotof parallels actually between him and Tom Brady. I'm not saying the Tom as aphotographic memory. No one's ever said that about Tom, but I dothink that there are some consistencies with Tom. In terms of Tom to me ishe plays the game much more with his brain than his feet or evenhis arm, and I think that that that's something I talked about with Stevea lot, actually before I was working on the Patriots Book and then afterI 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 aninterview with Tom and Steve would be able to react and sort of explain somethings to me from the perspective of a quarterback and I just found that wholething fascinating. Yeah, and I'm sure that when you're writing this book withSteve, I would have to think that you would say hey, you rememberthis play and he's like, of course I remember that play. Like forme, if I go back and you would ask me a play from youknow 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 thefilm or do something like that. But I'm sure it was probably a lotof fun working with Steve Because of that type of memory and that recall thathe has. It was and there's a there's a great I don't know ifyou've seen, the NFL films did a great documentary on Steve for their footballlife series and it the documentary was actually based on the book that I wrotefor Steve and I worked with NFL films, Chris Barlow and those guys. Iwas like a a producer and helped on that project and I there's ascene. There's a scene at the beginning of that films if you go backand watch it, it's pretty funny. But we're sitting there and Steve isso we're on camera. So NFL films is filming us and watching the playwhere 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 andhe 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 questionwas I know what it is, but I'm always thinking about readers.In readers, most readers, even football fans, might not know what thatis. And so they know what a post is but they don't know whata skinny post is. And so I say to Steve What's a skinny postand then he describes it in the film. The reason I bring that up isto say that while we were working on the book I would constantly askthem questions like that and he would have very clear recall on plays like Jerrywas doing this or Brent Jones was doing that, and you know, HarrisBarton 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'llgive you a story of mine why I think his memory is amazing. Thatmy wife and I met him. I can't remember where we were one timeat at a pro bowl and then a few years later we saw him atanother event and he came up and he goes hanging in and Guss how areyou guys doing? And my wife looked at like she's like, we methim for like two minutes. Does he remember my name? And I'm likethat's Steve Young. He has a great member right, so great, that'sSteve. 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 rightback. Hey listeners, thanks for joining David I in the huddle. Weinvite you to join our excuse of huddle through Patreon, where you can getaccess 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 Guestcomor you can find us on twitter at huddle up with dust and facebook atthe same tag. So we were talking today with Jeff Bennett, who wrotea new book called the dynasty. We're digging into some football, some otherthings that he loves right now. I want to get back into his nextbook 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, butjust Jeff, can you please explain to me? You know, we justtalked about Steve Young and like his mental side of it, but you haveto have a complete different mental side of it for golf and tiger. Hisrise to start them was so fast and early in his life and then youknow he had bumps on the way as well. So tell us a littlebit about that mental side that he had to go through. So I thinkyou know, tiger to me is maybe the most mentally I mean I hateto say the most, because I just spent, you know, the lastseven years now between Steve Young, tiger woods, Tom Brady. We're talkingabout free you know, three of the most elite competitive people you'll ever comeacross. 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 ofmilitary techniques that he applied to is his son, and I mean it soundsalmost brutal to take about it, but he taught tiger golf in a waythat 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 meanis one of the reasons that his father trained him sort of this mentalmilitary approach to golf was because he appreciated and understood forward looking that when tigercame into pro golf he would be a very distinct minority or all appreciated thiswas a white man's game and these country clubs where tiger would have to goand perform, he would look different than everybody else and all eyes would alwaysbe riveted on him. And so there was a method to why or oldwoods taught his debt his son the way he did. It's jarring when youread the Tiger was biography. Parents who read it are they are stunned anduncomfortable when they read the way that Tiger was coached by his dad. Itis 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 allcalculated, it was all planned, and it's why, I mean, Idon't know many dads, quite frankly, who would be capable of doing someof the things that earl woods did to get tiger conditioned to deal with whathe was going to deal with as a racial minority come into coming into asport like golf. So that is a sort of hit's a dicey, treacherouspart of the biography, but I think it's the most important part because itexplains so much about the way that tiger was able to focus as a youngman on the PGA tour and the reason that he was so dominant, solethal in his first years on the PGA tour and why other golfers who hadbeen around for twenty years and one tournaments were intimidated. They were intimidated byhim Gus. They were afraid of him, even though technically just kind of aboy right out of college, left stand for early, but the minutehe joined the tour people were intimidated. He was his approach to golf wasmuch more comparable to say, Dick Bucks's approach to football. He was inintimidating physical presence, who had a mental edge over everybody else on the tourand he used every one of those advantages to beat people. And he wasn'tinterested 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 likewhen I lost my dad. There's a big part of me that were withthem 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 andit seems like after that things started to change a little bit. Yeah,I think. You know, we Arma...

Kitay and I arm and and Iwrote the tiger is biography together. We spent three years on it, whichis the two guys. It's like the equivalent of six years. So wedid it. It's a lot of research and I think it's it's accurate tosay that the change happened well before earl passed away. I'm not minimizing thesignificance of Earl's loss. It was profound on tiger. I'm just pointing outthat their relationship had changed in the years leading up to earls passing. Tigerhad changed. A lot of things had changed in that whole dynamic. Tigerwas a man by then. He was not a boy anymore who was underthe 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 aroundhim. His father was no longer in that inner circle the way he inthe old days. You know, Earl was the inner circle right by thetime. You know, by the Time Tiger reached his pinnacle, Earl wasoutside the inner circle. And so I think what happens when all passes isit is obviously devastating because it is his dad. Tiger was was an onlychild in that marriage and they were close and it was hard and it throwhim, there's no question about it. But I think that a lot ofthe things that that ultimately came into play in unraveled tiger's life, all ofthose 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 somany struggles in between, because, I mean you obviously spent a lot oftime with them. No new his family when he was growing up. Youknow, we try to get our kids to play every sport, to goout and socialize and do those things, and it almost seems like Tiger didnot have a lot of that. And so then when he did become hisown man and created new in a circle, he was seeing a life. It'salmost like the Amish right when they're they're sixteen. They let him goout and see if that's what they really want to be. Yeah, Iwe spent a lot of time in the biography in Tiger's childhood because it's Ijust think it's so it's important and it's so insightful to see that in thoseyears of Grammar School in Middle School, he really he wasn't allowed to playother sports, and tigers are an incredible athlete. I think. I thinkhe would have been great at any sport he played. He is he's inthe conversation for the greatest athlete of our time. So not not just thegreatest Golfer. I'm talking about an athlete, I think, if he had playedfootball or basketball or soccer. I remember. This is great story,guys. It's in our book. Actually, there was a it was a scouton the west coast who was considered like the Best Scout California for scoutingyoung golfers and a lot of the top colleges, like ohhome estate and Stanfordthat 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 bestgolfers and Tiger was at these tournaments and he was just wiping people out andthe 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 hisparents doing that we're not doing, like how do they make him play likethat? 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 wouldsay things like let me put it to you this way. If Tiger Woodswasn't playing golf and he was playing soccer, this kid would score six goals everysingle 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 thekind of kid you're up against. It's just he's playing golf, and soI think that that that was partly a result of it. It's sort oflike watching Brady now in the sense that he practices all year long. There'sthere's a great story in the dynasty about when Randy Moss and West Welker cameto 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 giantsthe next year. You remember what happened in the first game of the nextyear. Grady blows his knee out, takes a kind of a low hitand 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 seasonis 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. Inneed it Lee and what could most like? Moss and welcore like we need sometime 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 yearround, non stop. He's been doing this for now, is in histwenty one year and there's just no let up in the drive, in thedetermination, 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 athleteslife where that drive to work that hard every day kind of starts to goaway. It's not that you don't want to play anymore. I'm not sayingthat. I'm saying what it takes to get out of bed every day andpractice that way, day in and day out for twenty years. They're justaren't many guys that are wired that way. I think. Yeah, Tiger Tigerwas wired that way from the beginning. I think Tom is wired that way. Yeah, it's just not sustainable for most people. I mean Iplayed fifteen years and we travel it all over this country and had a familyand 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, becausethere's always somebody younger, faster, stronger, coming and and they're always looking toreplace you and and obviously Tom has a resume that is untouched in theNFL, you know, and there's only a few people that could ever bein. 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 ableto golf into his S and Tom's trying to pay fall in those s ifhe that, which I would sue. I think it's what's interesting and itactually one of my when you talk about storytelling, one of my favorite thingsto have written about in the dynasty was the fact that Tom Brady and billbelichick together have this. This is something they have in common. There's alot about Tom and bill that are different. They're not close in terms of thefriendly relationship with them doesn't really exist away from work. Like they didn'tmean a lot of friendly with bill. Bill check though. I mean billhas friends, he does it and he's got a great sense of humor andall these other things, but the point is is that he and Tom didn'thave this away from work close relationship where they go out to dinner have beerstogether. They didn't do that. But what they did have that was sounique was a mutual drive that surpassed everyone else in their class. So forbill there's no other coach, no other coach, and I would say inany sport. So I'm going outside the NFL here. I'm talking about everywherethat's is driven to win consistently as he is. If you think about howold 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 tosay. Robert says, I think he was put on earth to do thatone thing and I think what made him and Tom so unbeatable as a partnershipfor twenty years. The reason they went to nine super bowls together and onesix and and owned The AFC east for that entire two decades is because ofthe endless reservoir of drive. I think both of them have a monumental chipon their shoulders where they are constantly trying to show everybody that they are goodat they are great at what they do and I see that as a thatis a quality, not a criticism. I'm not saying this in a criticalway at all. I think it's what separated the Patriots from everybody else andI 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 andJohn 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 areason in that. The Beatles only stayed together for about seven years and Ithink what kraft was all about was figuring out what's it going to take tokeep John and Paul in Fox for all for as long as possible. Noone imagined he'd be able to keep them together for twenty years, but tothe 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 driveand their passion. I think what was great about it is that they didn'thave to worry about the other one.

Right. Sometimes you have a greatquarterback who trying to figure out their head coach and you're trying to have thatrelationship 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 thereworking all the time? But they both did that relentlessly and, like yousaid, that caused them to respect each other. Didn't matter if they didn'thave an off filled with friendship, because they knew exactly what they wanted whenthey walked in that building. They wanted to be the best, and togetherthey were. They were definitely unstoppable. And you know, we know theirstories, though. You know, we know their stories about build bull checkand Tom Brady, and because their lots have been told about them. Sotell us about some of the other characters that took part in this, becausefootball is the ultimate team sport. Even though you had these two guys thatwere the leaders that drove everything, there had to be some other characters toproduce championships right, other people, they'll not necessarily where the pawns, butwere the other you know, the Queen and the and everybody else that hadto play a big role in all this. So tells us to some of theother important characters that created this dynasty. So I mean I didn't want tointerview hundreds of players because obviously they have been hundreds of players who haveparticipated agents dynasty. But what I tried to do was strategically choose players fromeach sort of place in the dynasty that I thought would be important to tellthe story. So I spend time with drew bledsoe and Dion Branch and TeddyBruce Ky and Randy Moss, William Mc Ginnis, Rob Gronkowski, just playersthat are in different episodes of this long running saga. Bill and Tom arein 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 piecesof the of the run and they're all critical. I mean Rodney, Harrison, ty law, lawyer, Malloy, the names that have come through NewEngland over the last twenty years. It's remarkable and so I think the storiesthat that are there are phenomenal. I'll just tell you one and it's actuallya 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 inNew England, he was the highest paid player in the entire valley, earninga hundred three million dollars. He's the gun slinger, I mean he isthe man in New England. And that year, of course, we knowthe story. MOLOIS hits him and he goes down and Tom is thrust intothe starting role and they have a great season with Brady at the helm andthey make it to the playoffs and they play that famous game against the raidersthat's known for the Tuck rule. But is this? Here's the story thatI think is fascinating and it Belichick is very strict about players being at thestadium no less than three hours before kickoff. It's a team rule, at leastit was in two thousand and one. And Brady's like a rookie. He'sthe 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 tothe 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 hecomes out of his house, he throws his bag in his jeep and hestarts driving to the stadium and it's snowing out and it was a sudden snowstormand for the first time Brady hits sub sirious gridlock and realizes the traffic isso bad heading to the stadium because, think about it, for New Englandfans they're under the impression, which proved to be true, that this wouldbe the last time that they'd ever be at a game at foxporth stadium becausethe 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 thehighways or jam and Tom Realizes I'm not going to make it to thegame. Are Certainly not going to make it on time. So he picksup the phone and his jeep and he calls ahead of security. WHO's atthe stadium, a former state trooper dining, Frank Mendez, and he says,frank, I'm stuck, and he frank, this is like frank's momentto be the hero, right, and he's so yeah, where are youand what are you driving? And you know it tells them I'm in myyellow Gee, because them the coordinates. Within a few minutes a state troopershows up. You know, all the cars are moving out of the wayso this guy with his lights on can get to the Geek and then hebasically tells Tom Follow me, you know, light showing irons. Tom Pulls out, gets behind the trooper and starts to make it his way and thecars all along the highway or parting like the Red Sea naking way. Therewere other players trapped in this traffic and they all know. You all knowTom'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 gettingin line behind Tom, who's following the trooper. The fans that are intheir cars, they figure out who these it's the paine it's Tom and theteam, and everyone's like honking and screaming a yell and it's like they loveit. Here's why I love this story, guys, and it's it was soforeshadowing of what was going to happen in New England. This show knowsTom Brady as a leader. It shows people wanting to follow him and theymake its medium on time and Tom has one of the most important games ofhis life and does lead them to victory and they win, and so thedynasty. For me, the reason I loved it is because it's full ofbees sort of behind the scenes moments where you get to see like the thinkingof Tom you know, this is the kind of the way that he actingdid 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 talkabout Tom as yeah, he's tough, we're going to go out and workout, you're going to do everything, but he's also going to be yourbuddy. You're going to be you know. I mean I'm good friends with WestWalker as well, who he and I played together in Miami and thenthe next I think next to two years after I left Miami, he goesto to the Patriots and he tells great stories about Tom. I mean lovesthe Guy, but that's what it's like, you know, the the ultimate leaderthat. But I don't think Tom is so harsh on everyone. Heis sort of game sometimes. We see a little bit about that, buthe'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 tohim, why they want to play for him. That was certainly the casein 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 becausethey 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 goingto sell the team, I'm done. I've had it like yeah, we'vedone. I think this is now. This is a family business. Theyrun it like a family business. I think that, you know, RobertKraft'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 fora long, long time, and I think it will, because I thinkthe way he's built a company and built the organization it is it is setup 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 amazingtime for you to be, you know, in in Dude, inthe 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 andbeen around football for a long time, but for you to come in andsit and watch that day in a day out. Did you get to sitin any quarterback meetings to see those like? What it's talked about, what it'slike the weekend, week out of the preparation? I sat in a, you know, variety of different kind of meetings. I never sat ina quarterback meeting, but I did have the opportunity to sit with one onone with Tom at the stadium and have him explain and talk about, youknow, all these different facets of quarterbacking, which for me was a it wasinteresting for me having already spent so much time with Steve Young and hadthose kinds of sort of intimate conversations with him about the job of being aquarterback, technical aspects of it that I never even could imagine, and withouthaving, you know, having someone like Steve Walking through it, and thento be able to interview Tom. There were things that Tom would say thatI understood thanks to Steve. Yeah, and so it's great. I thinkthe 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 onthe clock. We got some easy questions. Are a lot of fun and justlet'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 yourather fly or drive? Depends where I'm going. Bends how far I haveto go. For me, I'm a driver. I'd better drive, allright. What's your biggest pet? Peeve ignorance. You're dealing with a lotof that these days. Okay, give...

...me your mouth rushmore of you allyour books. What are your for top books for you? For me itwould 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 sportsmovie? Movie? Probably boy, that's a tough one. The naturalthat'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 fewyears 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 changeplaces with one person for a day, who would that person be? Onthe bottom? I like it. I like I thought you might say likeJohn 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. Whatdo you think the most exciting Olympic sport is? You know, probablyI 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 hereyou. 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 ofGeorge, Jordan, Kobe or Lebron? You don't know. I can't answerthat. I'm writing Lebron. Final Larry Bird, and there too, foryou did say they're I'll just say this way. Growing up, my favoriteplayer 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 inthe Hottele and getting US getting letting our fans that are a little bit moreabout you. Please tell everyone where they can find your book, how theycan 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 aswe're to get the book, I'm a big advocate of local bookstores, butthis book is available everywhere, from Amazon to Barnes and noble to you knowbig box book stores. All right, one thing. Tell us why thedynasty is as a bestseller. It I think just because it's a story that'smore, a lot more, about life than it is about football. It'sgot a great football backdrop, but this is a story that women who don'teven like football get a lot out of, and that's I think that's why itmade the list. All right, awesome. Alright, so we've comealong 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 tothis 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 thes 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 withguests. We really appreciate it. Thanks, guys. I really enjoy its fun. All right, everyone, thank you for joining us in another editionof Huddle up with gusts. You can find us on RADIOCOM AP or whereveryou listen your favorite podcast. Joined us at huddle up with Gustcom, whereyou can like and subscribe, and also on thirty one. Thank you forjoining David I in the huddle. We hope you enjoyed our podcast. Ifyou'd like to hear more podcast, just like this. Go to huddle upwith Gustcom, where you can find our social channels, subscribe to hear moreby our merchandise and joined our excoose of huddle through patreon. Please join usnext week when we talk to more guests about how sports shape their life.

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