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Highlights on Off The Ball


Kraft, Belichick and Brady by Drew Bledsoe's hospital bed | Patriots book revelations

Jeff Benedict knows the importance of a strong opening chapter to a book - and having Patriots tr...

Jeff Benedict knows the importance of a strong opening chapter to a book - and having Patriots triumvirate Robert Kraft, Bill Belichick and Tom Brady in an emergency room is not a bad starting point.

The author of the New York Times number one best-seller 'Tiger Woods' has just released his latest work 'The Dynasty' - on how that trio helped turn the Patriots from a dying franchise on the brink of a move to St Louis into something extraordinary.

Benedict told Ger Gilroy on OTB AM he was tasked with informing the reader of something they didn't know about the Patriots dynasty on every single page.

"When I started the writing process my editor said to me that the mandate was he wanted to learn something that he didn't know on every page of the book.

"The book is almost 600 pages long, so that's 600 things that he's expecting me to reveal that were not generally known.

"I really tried to go places where writers hadn't gone before, to go into rooms, backrooms where important dialogue took place, where big decisions were made, where heated arguments occurred.

"And so I think starting really early on... the first scene of the book is in an emergency room where Drew Bledsoe's life is on the line.

"There are some things that happened that night that I think will make news all over the sports world because of what occurred in the ER.

"From there it just takes off, the tension between Robert Kraft and head coach Bill Parcells, who was Bill Belichick's predecessor and mentor, those are some of the most intense chapters in the book.

"There's a load of material in there that I think will make news, it is new, and then it just sort of goes from there.

"Deflategate, spygate, Aaron Hernandez, I think the way the team navigated through those and actually used some of those things as a form of motivation to improve, to become better, to become disciplined - all of those things will be interesting whether you like the Patriots or not."

The Bledsoe moment gets the book off to a riveting start. The then-Patriots quarterback suffered a sheared blood vessel in his chest during the second game of the 2001 season.

The hit from New York Jets linebacker Mo Lewis very nearly cost Bledsoe not just his career, but his life.

Doctors worked around the clock, removing Bledsoe's blood before cleaning it and putting it back inside his battered body. Benedict says what stands out from that scene is who was there in the emergency room with Bledsoe when he woke up.

"That scene in the hospital, to me it's the perfect way to bring a reader into a really big story like this. It literally puts you in an emergency room, you usually don't get to go there, and watch a very skilled surgeon save a star athlete's life.

"And then you have this moment that seems like a Hollywood moment, like it would be made up.

"When he wakes up from the procedure and he's a little groggy and he's trying to get his whereabouts of where he is... When he opens his eyes he sees his wife sitting beside his hospital bed to the right, and she's kind of rubbing his hand and being there like you'd expect his wife to be.

"That part is normal. But then when he looks up from his bed to his left side he sees the owner Robert Kraft, he sees the head coach Bill Belichick, and he sees the rookie, Tommy Brady, standing over him like these three almost-mythical figures. Like what are they doing here?

"It is an incredible moment, and they're looking down at him. I used it because, at that moment, nobody in their right mind would have predicted that those three guys - Kraft, Belichick, and Brady - were going to become the nucleus of the greatest American sports dynasty of the century.

"At that moment the owner had never won a championship, the coach Bill Belichick had a career losing record... Tom Brady had never started a game.

"And so the idea that the three of those guys were going to become what they became would have been unthinkable in that moment.

"It's almost like Bledsoe saw the future but didn't realise what he was seeing. I thought that was a great way to start a book off, and also to just signal to people that we're gonna go some places that you never thought you'd get to go."

Gillette is inspiring people to be the best versions of themselves – through its partnerships with sports best role models such as Paul O’Connell, they aim to inspire more people to be the best versions of themselves and show they’re made of what matters.

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American Football Bill Belichick Drew Bledsoe Jeff Benedict NFL New England Patriots Patriots Robert Kraft The Dynasty Tom Brady