CT author Jeff Benedict’s new book seeks secret behind Patriots’ dynasty

Author Jeff Benedict wants to take readers inside places they would never be, gaining access by building trust.

His quest to find the secrets behind “The Dynasty” built by the New England Patriots begins in an emergency room as Drew Bledsoe, at the time one of the best and highest paid quarterbacks in the National Football League. After a devastating hit by Mo Lewis of the New York Jets, Bledsoe is waking after life-saving emergency surgery.

With Bledsoe were, as one might expect, his wife and the surgeon. Also in the room were Patriots’ owner Robert Kraft, head coach Bill Belichick and Tom Brady, the unheralded rookie, picked in the sixth round out of the University of Michigan. The latter three would become the pillars on which the winningest program in professional football would be built, prior to Brady leaving for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers before the 2020 season.

It’s that family-like tightness in that hospital visit that Benedict sees.

The process started when Kraft acquired the team in 1994. In the 1998, the histories of Connecticut and the Patriots intersected when Kraft prepared to move the team to Hartford, until he grew uncomfortable doing business with then Gov. John G. Rowland, according to Benedict.

One of the secrets, the Connecticut native said in an interview taped for showing on NCTV Channel 79’s YouTube page, is that Kraft — until the end of last season — was able to keep Belichick and Brady together, a combination he compares to John Lennon and Paul McCartney of the Beatles.

“The Dynasty” is the 16th book by the Connecticut native, who studied law before switching paths to writing on the advice of SS, to whom the book is dedicated.

The legal background gave Benedict insight into another pivotal moment in shaping the Patriots. The team, when led by coach Bill Parcells, drafted Christian Peter, who had been arrested for domestic violence when at the University of Nebraska. Peter’s legal past was chronicled in Benedict’s first book.

Kraft’s late wife, Myra, also a philanthropist and activist seeking to end violence against women, asked her husband how the team could draft such a person. Kraft and Parcells clashed over. Peter was released, and Kraft wrote Peter a letter explaining what happened and why. Peter later wrote back, crediting Kraft and the Patriots for helping turn him around.

Football fans with differing opinions on the Patriots will remember the “Tuck Rule Game,” won in overtime by the Pats over the Oakland Raiders. In the snowstorm that the continued through the game, Brady was stuck in traffic and did not think he would reach the stadium on time due to traffic. Brady told Benedict of calling Frank Mendes, who handled security for the Patriots. Mendes, a former Massachusetts State Trooper, contacted a trooper who found Brady and led him back ways around the traffic, as teammates recognized Brady’s car behind the police escort and joined the procession.

That resourcefulness and problem solving marks Brady.

The rest of the NFL had at least five chances to select Brady before he was drafted. But Belichick saw something, and Benedict said that ability to see talent sets him apart.

Other players, Benedict writes, told their friends in the league that something special was happening in New England, encouraging them to sign.

But after last fall, Brady opted for free agency and signed with Tampa Bay. Like the Beatles, the “John” and “Paul” of the Patriots could not stay together forever.

Benedict will be signing his book in socially distant and safe events, some outside. He will be at Books on the Common in Ridgefield Saturday, Nov. 28, from noon to 2 p.m.; at Elm Street Books in New Canaan on Saturday, Dec. 12, from noon to 2 p.m.; and at Barrett Bookstore in Darien, also on Dec. 12, from 3 to 5 p.m.