In his 17 NFL seasons, Tom Brady has played alongside Texans linebackers coach Mike Vrabel, special teams coordinator Larry Izzo, and current Texans nose tackle Vince Wilfork. The Patriots four-time Super Bowl winning quarterback worked closely with Bill O'Brien and George Godsey during their time as offensive coaches, even referring to them by their nicknames, Billy and Goose.
"Well, I met Billy in 2007, in the spring of 2007 when he got to our team, so I've known him for almost 10 years," Brady said. "I just have a great admiration for him and what he's accomplished in his career. I got to know him very well when he took over as offensive coordinator. We got to spend a lot of time together."
O'Brien joined the Patriots coaching staff that year as an offensive assistant and worked his way up to offensive coordinator. He served as quarterbacks coach for three seasons until his final season with the Patriots in 2011.
"He's an incredible coach," Brady said. "I know the guys play so hard for him because he just – you guys know – Billy is a straight shooter. Sometimes you might not always like what he says, but you respect it because his goal is the same thing that yours is, to get the best out of the team. I really enjoyed my time with him. I consider him a friend and I'm always wishing him luck except when he's playing our team."
The respect is mutual.
O'Brien has often referred to Brady as one of the best to play the position. From talent to competitiveness to leadership, Brady possessed all the skills necessary to be successful. However, during five seasons on the Patriots coaching staff, O'Brien was also impressed by Brady's photographic memory.
"He could remember plays that – it was 2010 when I was coaching him – and he could remember a play that happened 7-8 years ago at that point," O'Brien said. "That was always pretty amazing to me, his memory and his ability to process that information and use it for a game that is taking place eight years later. He's a very intelligent guy. He's a guy that's very well-prepared. He's seen it all."
Brady has seen it all and taken notes…on a teapot.
Brady and O'Brien have both joked about the infamous teapot, the one the quarterbacks kept in their meeting room to keep track of O'Brien's heated moments.
"Yeah, that teapot got pretty full by the end of the year because it would just – Billy simmers, and simmers, and simmers and then he just unleashes," Brady said. "We had him marked down in the teapot. It was pretty great. As the season went along we'd just fill that teapot up more and more. I think we tried to give it to him as a gift at one point. I don't know if he still has it. But there was a lot of funny memories."
The Texans will travel to Gillette Stadium to face the New England Patriots for the AFC Divisional game on Saturday. Kickoff is set for 7:15 p.m. CT on CBS and SportsRadio 610.
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