Bill Belichick has done extreme things at times to emulate the strengths and quirks of opposing teams on the New England Patriots’ schedule.
Former punter Zoltan Mesko, who was with the team from 2010 to 2012, recalls a hilarious story that Tom Brady didn’t seem to be a fan of. J.J. Watt was in his prime and there was an infamous moment where Belichick had players use tennis rackets in practice to imitate the defensive end.
In a column from The Athletic, Mesko discussed his perspective of it in a conversation with former Patriots linebacker Dane Fletcher.
Here’s the hilarious story that benefitted Belichick much more than Brady.
Mesko: It was 2012, the year J.J. Watt was just swatting people’s passes. He had so many batted balls. We’re playing them and he?s like, “Alright, Zoltan, come over here after special teams.” I get in the defensive huddle. It?s 7-on-7 so there’s no linemen there. He’s like, “Here, take these two tennis rackets and I want you to hit Brady’s ball into the stands if you can. I don’t care.” So I’m jumping up and touching like 12 feet and swatting Brady like 10 yards when I could.
Linebacker Dane Fletcher: It was really pissing Brady off.
Mesko: Man, when I got him, Belichick was crying on the inside, like tears of joy. Brady would be like, “Zoltan, please don’t knock this one down.” Belichick was like, “No, no, I’m going to pay you 100 bucks every time you swat that ball.”
Fletcher: It got to the point where Brady would pay $150 not to do it because Brady was getting so pissed.
Mesko: And Belichick paid up after every practice. He came with the cash.
What a moment for the legendary head coach.
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