Seth Wickersham was at the Oct. 3 game between the Patriots and the Buccaneers. “I enjoyed the game. It was kind of an ugly game, obviously, because it was raining so hard,” he said. “I thought Bill Belichick’s defense did really an effective job into forcing Tom Brady into a lot of incompletions.”
It was a perfect capstone to mark the publication month of his newest book, “It’s Better to Be Feared: The New England Patriots Dynasty and the Pursuit of Greatness” (Liveright) which draws on more than 20 years of reporting on the dynasty’s main characters. (One of Wickersham’s first stories for now-defunct ESPN The Magazine was about “this backup quarterback who had come into the starting job because the starter got hurt and was doing well, and that was Tom Brady,” he said.)
Over the years, he’s sat down and talked with both Brady and Belichick, as well as scores of other participants, some of whom had to remain anonymous (though “95 percent of the interviews that I did were on the record,” he said). Turning that trove into a book was a no-brainer. “Because of the people that I got to know both inside the building and beyond,” Wickersham said, “when this opportunity came, I felt like I could take an angle and try to understand their pursuit of greatness and what the costs of that greatness were.”
The book, which details tensions between owner Bob Kraft and Belichick, as well as the often colorful language in which they were expressed, has caused a stir among New England fans — and management.
Of Belichick’s recent comments that he hadn’t spoken to Wickersham, the reporter said, “that was a curious response by coach Belichick. We talked many times over the years, and most of the times I recorded those conversations, and so I’m not sure why he said that.”
Seth Wickersham will be in conversation with the Globe’s Chad Finn at 7 p.m. Monday, Oct. 11, at the Bull Run restaurant in Shirley. Doors open at 5 p.m. Tickets include a copy of the book, and can be purchased at tickets.bullrunrestaurant.com.
Kate Tuttle, a freelance writer and critic, can be reached at email@example.com.