vIQtory Podcast: Matt Chatham On Bill Belichick and New England Patriots

In Podcast Season 1 by vIQtoryLeave a Comment

This episode features 3x Super Bowl Champ, former NFL Linebacker: Matt Chatham. He is currently an analyst but took the time to talk about the early days of the Patriots dynasty and provides incredible insights into playing in the NFL. Follow Matt on Twitter @chatham58 !


Show Notes

0:45 – College Decision

5:45 – “When did you know you were NFL ready”

7:44 – Draft Day experience

12:02 – Discussing Free Agency

17:20 – Adjusting to a new NFL team

21:00 – Patriots 2001 season

26:00 – Patriots 2003 Season

29:15 – Scoring first touchdown

35:20 – Playing with (now) coaches and great football minds

39:52 – Analyst Career

43:24 – Playing Special Teams Prep

46:20 – The Gauntlet



Chris Haddad

hello and welcome to the victory podcast


my name is Chris Haddad alongside my


co-host as always Steve McGrath


today’s guest three-time Super Bowl


champion Matt Chatham if you are


unfamiliar with Matt Chatham well let’s


get you familiar North High School in


Iowa Allstate in football and baseball


from there he attended University of


South Dakota coming out of South Dakota


he signed with the st. Louis Rams as an


undrafted rookie free agent where then


he found a home with the New England


Patriots where of course he won three


Super Bowls you can find him now color


Reporting  ESPN writing for the


athletic this guy does it all Matt


welcome to the show


Matt Chatham

thanks Chris!


Chris Haddad

so now I want to jump


right into this talk about your journey


going from North High School why did you


choose University of South Dakota what


was the decision that led you there


ultimately it’s a play at linebacker


yeah I mean I’m City Iowa City is about


a hundred thousand people the closest


thing comparable here that that a lot of


mass fans would know is it’s a little


bit like Worcester comparable size


comparable demographic kind of thing so


I actually kind of grew up thinking I


was sort of a city kid I mean I know it


sounds silly or from Iowa but I mean I


wasn’t pro farmer anything like that no


I get background nothing along those


lines but I went to a high school of


like 1500 students you know at a pretty


good-sized graduating class and and the


only school that was a Division two


school that was I mean that I had even


mildly entertained with USD I was a


die-hard Hawkeye fan I will Hawkeye fan


as a kid all my other visits were vision


one schools hayden fries the old head


coach at the time there when I was


coming out and I coming out of high


school in 95 so I you know I took two


fish by took my official visit and took


an unofficial visit back to Iowa with a


Michigan State game at Northwestern I


mean I was wined dined loved it they


didn’t offer me though and in part at


the time this is you know they would


give you the speech they love the Oh


Matt just hold on and there was another


guy a star a head I mean you know I’m a


three he’s a four kind of thing and he


was a bigger name dude from Texas that


they were holding on holding on holding


on to the last minute


and he did one of them now I think this


is pre hat flip because we’re good night


buddy the didn’t announce it until they


up and when he you know we got within a


few days of signing day and I had other


places I had a visited Iowa State and


University of Northern Iowa which is the


police school at the time and Texas Tech


was my other offer to go down and I just


didn’t take it you know it was too far


I’m like kind of a homebody and I was


like I wanted I wanted so badly to be a


haka it’s my dream since I was a little


kid and it with my parents you know you


have a full-ride scholarship we’re


middle very middle class whatever that


competing just the idea completely fully


paid school it’s really tough to turn


that down and I’m having that debate


back and forth with my parents about


trying to wake the thing out on Iowa and


you know the other schools to get


nervous so they’re gonna pull it they’re


gonna offer something else


and that happens so we eventually just I


couldn’t wait to see what that kid was


gonna do and I it sounds pejorative I


guess or whatever sounds negative with


with South Dakota but my frame of mine


is a 17 year old kid at the time is that


that was kind of my fallback school and


and I ended up accepting their because I


was kind of left out the cold he


switched on them I will talk to Mia but


all we can be a where the priority walk


on or something like that at that point


I was like no no my parents like no no


you’re going with us he is and by the


other time this other place has offered


me I had gone away because I waited out


the other school so I went USD had an


awesome experience there though you know


got that got the play right away when


you go to the smaller school and


definitely needed the development time I


was six 495 pounds when I came out I


played safety for a full year of college


that first year and you know I’m played


the NFL in the 250s so like I was really


thin and tall so you kind of don’t have


a position that’s actually what Hayden


Fry had kind of poked me about at the


time when they weren’t aw for me is like


what are you what are you gonna play yep


your safety but there aren’t very many


six for safeties like there not a lot of


them out there and if I had to put


weight on my frame at have been


appointed position they had seen me play


so I get it so I know Bonio ste and you


know end up


while there for several years and end up


in their Hall of Fame and they’re good


enough there you know there’s enough


exposure at the FCS level now that you


know you still get look you still get


seen if there’s always that kind of


question mark over your head of well how


does it translate against some of the


bigger schools now yep


you know so we had at the time that was


called the snow bowl which no longer


exists but snowball at the time was


essentially like a Division two Senior


Bowl so we had sort of Harvard of it up


at North Dakota State his facility in


Fargo where they became any times Ruud


place but we had their I performed well


and kind of just sit on the outside and


end up signing as an undrafted free




I’ve waited way to a third draft my


agent at the time was buddies with John


Clayton from back in the day the ESPN


guy a long time and then we’d get the


little call you know a little text


message or whatever called during the


draft you’re on the board in the fifth


round you’re on and the six Cleveland’s


interested in these interested st. Louis


those are the three themes they just


wait wait wait and then you’re sitting


there going oh crap now I didn’t be on


none of the three happened so yeah


that’s why I just want to back up a


little bit here


Chris Haddad

so when you were coming


out you had a great four year career at


South Dakota when did you know you were


essentially NFL ready and like started


to get agents prepped in or was it just


you know I just got closer to it it was


you know people started to talk he went


to his this is gonna become a reality


because you performed well the snowball


Matt Chatham

yeah I think that’s I think part of it


and III see this because I just kind of


get how it works not it’s certainly not


patting myself on the back because III


there’s a lot of my own teammates that I


played with it played just as well at


the collegiate level you know you super


tackle got one of my buddy the best


friends Nate Lake Nathan Lake was our


middle linebacker he’d make every tackle


you know you know with the offense


everything’s going to Nate but what what


happens at that level pretty frequently


is you know it’s the the body type match


you know Nate’s six foot into 25 I’m 64


and you know 240 or whatever so you know


and I can run you know you I test better


and that’s what kind of what happens a


lot of times at the lower levels and


it’s you know it is what it is you kind


of fortunately I had that body type so


you kind of take and run with it


so to answer your question when I knew


you know you’re that size I’m starting


to go in my body I’m huge I look


probably more like a Division one big


school guy you know and and so even


after my junior year all conference at


that time and then they still even if


that even at lower level they still pro


days so they come but you know our pro


day might have a dozen NFL teams and you


know it’s the area scout which is way


way down the list there I think after my


junior year having a nice season people


started out prior to my senior I knew I


had a pretty good shot at it but you


know again it’s it’s always kind of an


uncomfortable situation because you know


you it you kind of get why it happened


so you’re you know I run I ran ran well


the 40 work out well 25 reps to the


bench all that stuff and that really


helps make the case you know it’s not


had a lot of tackles and divisions who


nobody cares about that yeah yeah


so that


Chris Haddad

so you go I mean you mentioned


early sixth round comes seventh round


comes and you’re kind of sitting there


waiting and waiting do you think it’s do


that experience and with that that day


was like for you


Matt Chatham

yeah one of the things


that I knew I had working against me is


you know preseason all-american going


into my senior year and you know there’s


a select group of d2 guys that you kind


of know all of the biggest time guys and


in Division one are gonna go the FCS


level there’s maybe 1520 that good shot


of being drafted the d2 guys it’s a


smaller community you can look at each


every year might be less than five guys


that get drafted somewhere and you know


I was kind of hearing that I was in that


group but in full candor we had a


terrible senior year our team was bad


three and eight I felt like I played the


same but I mean it’s it’s a team sport


so you know it takes a little shine off


you know so I went down with I think the


expectations lowered a little bit so and


then I actually had an MCL injury


nothing that required surgery but I


wasn’t able to do all the 40s and stuff


until my pro day later so I knew there


were a ton of knocks against me so going


into the draft you know I had that sort


of late-round tag on you that you get


and late means different things that


different people could be yeah it can


mean for to some teams but maybe at


seven you so yeah they just you kind of


the ride the ride the rollercoaster my


agent was was located Minneapolis he


represents a lot of Vikings players


which is kind of typical here in South


Dakota in the you know the rep Center up


north and I went to his house so you


know I’m I was drafted my agent I was in


uh oh I got what was it


Burnsville Minnesota I believe it was


just south of the city but city’s


basement big screen with just my dad my


dad and I’m agent and you know those


calls would come on the second day and


yeah you start you know it’s gonna


happen it’s gonna happen it’s gonna


happen but I think you know it all I


know works out for the best


I’m I’m kind of a safety guy and I kind


of think that it worked out better for


me that invariably I was able to choose


between the three places because that’s


typically what happens you oh you know


crap I didn’t get drafted


oh wait that’s actually better because


especially in today’s age six seventh


round you’re not guaranteed sticking on


that roster as a later round draft pick


anyway my being on draft they got at


least you get to the spot so you can


look at the roster say hey I’m an


outside linebacker well so they have and


what other compilations who came in that


kind of thing and my situation was the


Rams was where we chose they were coming


off their two and 14 season atrocious in


98 going into 99 that’s the year they


won the whole thing


but there was the Leonard little


situation and I don’t know if all that


well that Leonard unfortunately gotten


the drunk driving accident this was this


had happened at the he was a first-round


pick in 98 this had happened and I think


it was December end of year of his


rookie season he gets in the accident


the the the the death half and we just


it was a terrible situation and you can


imagine a something like that what


happened in today’s NFL would have been


way handled much differently but back


then they went through the offseason


kind of dealing with what was going to


happen and I think invariably he got


time served


so you missed the games throughout


December and I think that was the end of


it but at the time I’m looking at a


roster going oh okay the top outside


linebacker looks like you might be


suspended for you or you know might not


be there and so it look like a vacancy


and that was sort of the case my agent


was making me that’s the spot well in


the middle of that summer after I’d


already chose that spot he was


reinstated and then they signed a


veteran frame


and it’s like oh wow that def chosen


unwinnable you know you know they’re


much different than New England is here


with with the Patriots my position coach


literally came to me says wow that news


is crazy it’s good for the team well


you’re not going to be on the roster and


this is like literally before preseason


games it’s like you know hey saying hey


you’re gonna be fighting for a practice


coach job we love you you know you’re


gonna you’re gonna be a practice web guy


and you’ll have a chance of like well I


don’t want that


oh when I go to New York leave but I


would have chosen the other places just


had to kind of work through that


apparently I was released and then next


thing you know I’m doing yeah so I want


to talk about the bridge between st.


Louis in New England


now let’s Steve jump in here in a second


Chris Haddad

but can you talk about like just the the


mental the mental grind so to say when


you were in camp with st. Louis you you


know you work your tail off and then you


get the news is I mean the roller


coaster of emotions I’m sure where it’s


up its down its up and then New England gives


you a call can you walk through that


part of a free agency


Matt Chatham

well again I have


to kind of put a little extra detail


around this because I fudged some of


this and I I probably have one of the


most more bizarre starts to a career i99


season I was actually back home in


college so I had been signed by them as


an undrafted free agent I got that news


from my coach we were entering he camp


practices I went from you know I’m


taking a lot of reps with the backup


guys I’m on a lot of the first units for


special teams it’s looking good they


seem to like me everything feels great


then the news came down guy who returns


to practice I find myself standing on


the sidelines for practice you know


three hot days in Macomb Illinois just


stand there for three hours a tie and


also you know those I’m not a mature guy


I’m a young dude I don’t know what’s


going on and my mind is racing like okay


so I’m wasting my time here I want to


play in the NFL I’ve been practicing


here for a few months these guys I I


think I can fit in and you know I I went


back upstairs to Charlie army who was


the GM at the time and I invariably was


talked to talked to Coach Vermeil and I


said coach like if you guys if the


situation is change for you that’s


that’s okay I completely get it well I


want to play in the NFL and I don’t want


to hold the dummy for some other guy and


you know it’s arrogant is all hell


freely admit that I mean as a young guy


I didn’t really have


much of a concept of what a practice wad


meant I thought it was just I’m here for


you’re better than kind of thing and


today’s NFL isn’t that’s not it at all


you that’s just it’s a basically a group


that works their way up one of the


roster at some point during the season


but I didn’t see it that way at the time


and I had that full ride scholarship


back at school and in the event that I


didn’t use it it was going to go away so


I just said hey please release me I’d


love to go you know there were other


teams are interested me coming out of


school and they said no now we’re gonna


retain your rights we think you can be a


player force eventually so I actually


left camp in training camp in 99 I went


back to college so I entered the whole


99 C’s and the rams retained my rights


and I finished out my final semester at


double majored in English and criminal


justice graduated from South Dakota that


fall so that i re-entered training


offseason program in 2000 with st. Louis


so I went through that whole st. Louis


offseason program and that was now Mike


Marx’s first year so I’m back home at


USD college campus who’s the whole thing


and it’s and and the Rams are going


through a Super Bowl wrong on a team


that I was in training camp with who I


thought was – and fourteenth year before


so I mean it was one of the biggest


obvious most glaring and learning


lessons of my life that I you know maybe


I should have stuck that out or


shouldn’t have press the issue so hard


but then barely I come back in 20 2000 I


went back and talked to Charlie says no


we’d love to have you back when – the


camper everything wonderful actually got


my train in my playbook after the four


preseason games had thought that I had


made the roster and and so usually it’s


you know end of that fourth preseason


game will be end of the week or maybe


you know Thursday or Friday you have


that few days of uncertainty Friday


Saturday Sunday you think you made it


your coach won’t exactly tell you but


he’s like god you’re good that kind of


thing yeah and I got my I got the big


playbook the week one playbook and then


I was released on Monday he they were


like oh here you go back give it back


north on Monday you thought you made I


didn’t so and what had happened is I


always it’s been many years is this more


like 18 years removed from this now but


I think it was Tony Horne it’s really


good wide receiver for them but it was


one it was something to do with the


receiver situation that was also


returner for them and he had a hamstring


issue and they were really concerned


he’d be available for week one so they


brought in like this emergency wide


receiver and you know you learn at that


moment oh oh no I’m number 53 on the run


they’re gonna try to just put sit down


for a minute and they did and the minute


I was put down Scott Pioli you know


claimed me off waivers so I was told hey


hey we just have to protect you for the


weekend you’re gonna go down what’s been


practiced about from week one to the


situation resolved itself when you leave


back up and within an hour’s a matter of


hours I’m on the phone with my agent


going you’re going to New England and I


go where’s that top right right top and


that was it so I my only my only


reference was was tech mobile I remember


the little map with winter coats and


everything that’s and yeah man I’m a


patriot that week one I was playing


playing for the Pats shows because I was


crazy whirlwind


Chris Haddad

yeah and just want to make one more


point yeah let Steve dive in I thought


was interesting when we had Antoine


Smith on the podcast he mentioned one


one thing about Belichick that he loved


was and I’m sure you can attest this to


was he never kind of put you in the


doghouse right where some coaches were


putting the doghouse in to not talk to


you or when something was wrong he’s


like belcheck always address a situation


where if you messed up he was gonna see


down a film and show you why you messed


up so I’m sure in st. Louis I’m sure you


know just hearing your story you would


have loved to have that just some


clarity and some transparency of why I’m


sitting on the sidelines holding a bag


for three practices in a row


Steve McGrath

so bad I just want to ask now that you get to New


England no hindsight being what it is we


know that this is how you’ll match


either you gets the bulk of his in the


whole career but what’s it like you know


you think you’re in the Rams said you


know situation and then all of a sudden


in the course of one day it’s a complete


90 degree turn how do you mentally


adjust now to everything that you just


talked about to


Matt Chatham

now oh I’m in a new team


new coach I have no idea well what’s


going on here but I mean the season


we’ll get into what that actually


happened that season but just mentally


what’s your approach


trying to adjust to this whole new set


of circumstances well I think one of the


things that that’s really important when


when I was dealing with that is again as


an older guy now being candid about it


you’re not terribly equipped to handle


it you just kind of you’ll you know it’s


not as if I was some mover mature guy I


didn’t know what to think I was pissed I


was upset I was confused I was very


emotional you don’t sleep very well you


know it’s hard to eat you’re just you


where am i what am i doing and part of


this is you know I was not yet married


but my wife and I had been dating since


high school we were one of those oddball


stories so we had you know theater eyes


with a through college she was actually


a really good athlete but was a softball


scholarship to the University of South


Dakota really good player for the


Hammond place you know throughout her


career there so she had but she trails


me by a year I was just the senior and


she was a junior in high school we’ve


met but she went to she was a


mathematics major super smart at the


University of South Dakota she graduates


and comes down to live in st. Louis with


me and enrolls in an MBA program there


at a school called Webster Webster


universities in downtown st. Louis so


she enrolls in a two-year MBA program


and then I get caught and it’s not you


know it’s so all of a sudden is like oh


wow you came here now you’re stuck in


the two-year program so that year that


I’m up in that fall and I’m you know all


the sudden I’m at state of the West and


out at the airport in Boston and then


drove him down to Foxborough and some


old van or whatever and it’s the old the


old Foxboro Stadium so facilities are


pretty trashy relative to what I just


come from inner city and st. Louis so


yeah your mind’s racing you just kind of


feel like a jerk did Wow I had


confidence I was going to be there was


sort of a confidence mover to enroll in


school thinking I would be there there


you learn later there’s no certainties


in the NFL but then you’re kind of out


here alone so I don’t know where I am


airlifted I dropped into an debossed and


I’m taking down to this terrible little


hotel and I’m sorry to the people that


owned that place but it was a place


called the end zone hotel right across


the street from the stadium you know but


it’s it’s an infamous old place that a


lot of players have come through you


came in a free


your waivers or rookies or whatever we


all lived across the street from the old


Sullivan State in Foxboro Stadium at at


the end zone so you know emotionally I’m


staying in a hotel where I can reach out


and touch both walls in the hallway and


I can hear every conversation three all


down I mean it just feel very not NFL so


you know it’s just that first year is


tough and then at week one I’m on the


field I’m out there playing some


linebacker and then all the special


teams and I got to learn Bellatrix


defense in three days it’s insane to


even think about that in Rutgers you


know and looking back but you know


that’s that’s what it was so I didn’t


know anything until at least you know 12


months from then so really just dragging


myself to that first year it was I think


good for me in the long run but man it


was it was it was not easy so yeah well


first of all they’re definitely not the


Renaissance that’s in the Patriot place


now easy to say players today have a


little bit easier


Steve McGrath

but um you know so


personally you know you talked about how


you adjust it to it but you know this is


now the Patriots first Super Bowl run so


what is it like seeing just you know


you’re joining this team you’re getting


used to everything what so it goes down


so I mean it’s just sort of like you


have your personal turmoil the team has


its own situations that it’s working


through what was the roller-coaster ride


of that season and you know what point


did the expectations go from like let’s


just see you know what we can do here


tow you know we’re gonna go in and knock


off Goliath yeah one of the biggest


things that sometimes gets brushed by


and I completely get it


Matt Chatham

but you know the


18 years that Belichick has had here


that 511 season that precedes the run we


have was like there’s a brotherhood of


guys I went through that year that was a


hard year that was that was the


three-hour practice thing and back in


Monday morning doing physical stuff and


you know after losses in just a long


season you know Rob Ryan’s my old coach


pepper pepper Johnson both guys were


working with the linebackers but I mean


we were breaking down film and doing 60


and 70 hour weeks and practice and


you know like a normal NFL player does


but it was a dark place the facilities


weren’t great we weren’t a good team you


know it was a real roster overhaul one


of my good buddies joanne drusy with


starting right left guard on that team


Joe got cut from the Packers they’re the


same as I got cut from the ramped and we


were both brought in waivers at the time


so we’re both end zone guys for a while


but that team


Solly aasaiya I think I’m saying that


name big huge Samoan dude came in and


same thing another team caught a start


on week one you know in kid guard but


that team was made up the 2000 team was


made up of I thought I hope I get this


right but at the time it was like a


league high number of roster releases on


final day so basically um post teams


have they may be cut down to 51 and get


a couple of street guys and other teams


have cut it’s pretty unusual when they


go down like four or five six bodies


which is kind of an indication of what


this in-house staff believes they have


left of them by the last one they said


we don’t have 53 good guys you know we


don’t have 53 guys at the Wynn with so


we were there was whatever was


half-a-dozen notice that they came in


that were the new blood that took


multiple months do we ever really


realize what was going on but I think


that part that year was important


because you go back through the training


camp and it was a roster makeover I mean


there were so many new faces in there


and bill kinda just started to gravitate


towards the guys that he could trust


they played it his way the air quote


tough tough and smart guys and he was


really looking for his kind of people so


it was uh you know you have to kind of


learn to be one of those and I mean


there’s there’s 30 different 32


different programs out there they’re all


the same and it doesn’t have to be built


but if you wanted to be there you had to


do it a certain way and I think that was


probably the darkest tunnel ever went


through but you just feel like it was


such a such a good life experience made


you stronger down the road


Steve Mcgrath

Wow so obviously it worked though because you


know hindsight being what it is you know


that seems able to now come together new


faces Brady comes out of left field


knowing of course expected anything of


him you know out of the gate as a rookie


what was it like you know now that


that darkness is now in the past to go


flip the switch from the darkness to the


absolute pinnacle of the sport


Matt Chatham

I mean


it’s it’s it’s cool and again sort of


the the travels there that particular


year is you know you the team had


struggled that’s what makes the change


to bill they go 5 and 11 bills coming


from Cleveland he’d taken him to a high


point but it didn’t end well for him


there so there’s the certain cynicism I


think here locally about what he was


going to be able to do with the team so


she was you know happy Pete Carroll


being the guy that preceded him after 5


and 11 hard training camp down there in


in Rhode Island we get back we start


extremely slow whatever was one in three


we were ugly and down in Miami ugly


against NC I believe it was we did we


started the first month kind of like we


did the year before so even that old one


turnaround here most of the real happy


good feeling stuff didn’t come to a


mid-year anyway you know we started to


break through had the big win against


the Colts looked good against San Diego


played the Rams really tough but loss at


home I think it was a close game like


2018 somewhere in that range but you


know obviously know the thing when the


Jets came and when Drew got hurt and Tom


came in and replaced in but I think it


was just more of that wasn’t a miracle


season it had more of a miracle half


season feel to it where a lot of the


first half still had a very similar drag


to it but again I think it ended up


being like the 53 that it showed up


there in New Orleans with the guys that


basically made it through the wash you


know he was still changing that roster


trying to find out who his guys were


gonna be and we were we were damn good


by the end of it but it’s not who


arrived there on opening day for sure I


I just wanted to fast forward a little


bit you know of course is the first


Super Bowl team but then after that you


guys kind of


Steve McGrath

take a step back and it’s


not exactly the same caliber of


performance that the playoffs weren’t


happening that year but then again you


know fast forward another year it’s


another Super Bowl victory what you know


at that point now what is it about the


makeup of the guys what Belichick is


doing what buttons he’s pushing that


sort of you know it’s not now it’s not a


fluke there’s a second one but how has


that ship sort of been righted to get to


the point where there is no sustainable


success well I went to one of the




Matt Chatham

that that I kind of taken from


I’ve taken from coach Belichick that I


think is good to watch that he’s


certainly not you look at the Owens team


and all we accomplished down the stretch


but again that wasn’t the day one team


that wasn’t pay this is a flush roster


we’re gonna make a run at it that run


was really more about what that group


learned in season the way they sort of


filled in some of the cracks in how good


we took to the coaching and how you had


some really tough characters the Troy


Browns the world and brewskis and Ted


Johnson and Willie McGuinness and framed


microwaveable comes in and has a big


role kind of out of nowhere and Tom just


at the very infancy stage of who he’s


going to be Antoine Smith carrying the


ball is sort of a cast off from Buffalo


I mean we we were a motley crew David


Patten you know sort of revival career


guy David given I mean this was this is


a very it was on the team but the point


is this was a Jermaine Wiggins I mean


all these guys really all of them are


you know there’s some fringe guys then


there’s the Willie McGinest as of the


you know really high draft capital guys


on top of the Boyar Malloy to Bucky


Jones and Taiwan all those two guys


there’s a tremendous amount of town over


there but there was all it was a pile


together kind of group to the lesson I


mean to sort of reflect here is that the


next year I think bill still looked at


that roster and didn’t think it was good


enough to do this you know going forward


there was a there was a good amount of


turnover take hey y’all on the Super


Bowl and there’s like 15 of you they’re


not gonna be a part of it you know and


so he was still he was still really


remaking that group and you know a lot


of them that you know we didn’t play


well in o2 we were okay really go 9 and


17 but play well below the standard of


what we did at the last half of the year


prior so then you know but the emphasis


there though is it just he was building


something he had something of mine that


had a much longer view than what was


going on at that time so no one was


awesome but he wasn’t going to try to


play the OU on team for the next you


know half decade he remade it didn’t


quite hit out of the park then but a few


of those extra bodies


and then when you look at the o3 team


now he’s got more really his people in


there and then you’re getting ty Warren


and the room and Richards an older get


Richard Seymour’s an older guy now and


it’s really just his roster his views


started to come together better and you


get the right amount of people the room


that are willing to buy it


Steve McGrath

what before we could go to the next


world team though I need to ask the o3


season Matt Chatham gets his first NFL


touchdown look can you just quickly walk


us through what that was like for you


did you ever expect or hope to get a


touchdown the NFL and no what did that




Matt Chatham

yeah my background income in high


school I was actually I almost ate as


his safety the senior year I remember


exactly what what the title was but I


had moved up the church in Iowa as a


wide receiver


oddly enough so I was used to be I think


I’m one of the ball like I like the way


my grave will like graves was you know


but I ain’t got to get the ball and I


had that background and I end up just


choosing the position in college but I


always wanted the ball man I like you’ll


love that as a kid it’s kind of weird


how it’s sort of random that you get


chosen which side you’ll go to but now


in the NFL


I mean if as a linebacker if you get it


touchable it’s a rarity so Tiki Barber


puts it on the ground


Tyrone pulled in a nice place shooting


into him I had to be my block and and


just scoop and score so it was kind of


right place right time so you know I


think oh gosh I mean over the course of


my career especially as a backup guy


unplanned is somewhere in the range of


10 to 20 plays a game at defense and


then all my regular special teams play


so yeah and you don’t get your hand a


ball a lot it’s just that one moment


it’s like yeah make the most of it


unfortunately turned out well funny


story from that you know brewski was in


a middle linebacker at the time I was


playing right outside linebacker and


after I’d scooped it I scored


I I spiked the ball and Bru ran and went


got the ball and you know I’m elated I’m


I know where I’m at at the point I’m I’m


so freaking out that I you know score a


touchdown and I’m making my way back


over the sideline bruise kind of


celebrating with me he hands me the ball


now I mean I didn’t register that that


was that ball but I just took it


spiked it again he comes back minutes


later on the side was like dummy that


was the mall you’re supposed to keep the


ball I don’t know protocol do this often


you know are but just now to wrap up


just our Patriots little segment here we


know of course you know Bennett area


again comes through the third Super Bowl


in four years happens at this point you


know what is it if you could break down


into maybe one or two core things you


know how did


belcheck outside of just getting his


guys what were just some of the guiding


principles that took this team from


where it had come from to now being the


first dynasty in quite some time and you


know unlike anything we’ve seen since


yeah I would say I still do think it


does tie into the his guys thing but


this what his version of the guys needed


to be and it was really versatile people


that could do a lot of stuff we were a


tough matchup and we played a lot of


close games we want every single close


game we were a lot of single scores even


through those runs were you know we’re


one in 22 in a row or whatever was that


that real long stretch of games that


that kind of went over the top three and


then oh four but through that stretch


that we just lose and we didn’t really


beat people by four score as much but it


was a lot of the single score stuff but


part of it was we were such a tough game


plan team ran the football really well


it was the more the Corey Dillon years


by then had a lot of really hard


charging tough guys low penalized you


know the the offensive line was really


good during those years defensively it


was just a bunch of dudes that could do


a lot of different things you look at


Rodney Harrison he’s in there by then


but from our linebacker core you know


it’s it’s something that I’m only most


proud of to a better part of that group


that that core of linebackers and has


Versalles it was sort of accomplished as


I got as those guys were you know from


Willie McGinest


on one side and variable on the other


and then you get Rosie Colvin who came


in as the extra guy who was you know


like a multi you know like a


double-digit sack I had Chicago where he


comes to us really not not even


necessary of stories like the rotating


third at outside he moves


decided to start and that moves some


brave insect alongside brewski and you


still got Roman Pfeiffer in that group


and Ted Johnson is a former you know


high pick I mean that room was allotted


in hilarious though is the all-time you


know special teams guy that of that era


I mean it was just it was fun to be in


that room to be a part of that group I


think collectively that was one of the


one of my biggest joys and really all


this that we had a group of guys that


and that crew could play a whole bunch


of different positions you know Fife


could play outside and he could play


inside he could play well I might at


least I linebacker even a little Mike if


he had to but he could play on the edges


also and it kind of became that for me I


had to learn to do stuff I believe it


was in the Oh for season when brave all


broke his form he had a plate put in his


arm and he missed a hint with games and


I ended up starting the games at Mike


was out five or six or whatever that was


but at that time I mean I was an outside


guy for life a safety in college you


know I’m coming down playing mostly


outside linebacker I’d learned Mike


linebacker I played a handful of games


as next to Bruce key or you know


something on the inside where and that


was kind of what was all about you had


to learn everything Freight started a


bunch of games to the Patriots as an


inside linebacker his body types at the


end from Ohio State you know but he


played really effectively inside himself


and even Bruce key who was at one point


when it was earlier in his career


alongside Ted Johnson he was playing


weak side linebacker the Ted’s Mike Bru


became a Mike he became the the the sort


of tip of the spear guy and then five


moved alongside him so you really have a


roomful of guys that kind of just played


all the positions I think that really


helped this it was that versatility I


mean I’m talking about the position


group I know best but that there was


really a roster full of guys that were


super versatile and week in week out


we’d come up with a new game plan


because people just could have pinned us




you know before I hand it back off to


Chris you know it’s speaks volumes that


that’s true but also look at what all


you guys are doing all of you are




you know of course rables now head coach


believe Roman Pfeiffer’s our coach at


UCLA I mean that versatility probably


has gone hand-in-hand with what you guys


been able to do after the life of


football as an athlete yeah you can


imagine what those


the linebacker meeting rooms are like


you got a lot of sharp dudes in there


they’ve got our pretty good grasp of the


scheme that kind of like the Arg you


love it yeah but it’s you know if you


come back with something you don’t like


it you know brewski be the first guy


throwing back up their grades to be the


first one of it no no we can’t do like


this as silly as a kind of thing now and


we had Dean Pease as a linebacker coach


for a while pepper johnson for many of


those years you know we that we always


you know rack who was the d coordinator


but we also had that rag we had Dean we


did a lot of people sort of cycle


through there Rob Ryan at one point M


pep what it was a it was a linebacker


room it was full a lot of strong


personality you know beer speed prior to


the earlier one Brian Cox is in there as


well so I mean that was just I mean you


know I’m I’m used to being the strong


personality least from college and most


of the places I go you get in there it’s


like wow there’s like 10 alphas in this


room like this you’re gonna get


something done with this group yeah now


Steve touched down a little bit but


after the Patriots you play three years


with the Jets when did you know


was it your body telling you or when did


you know there was time to call it quits


and then ultimately get into the the


analyst career that you’ve currently


sitting in yes the Jets ears or you know


I don’t I don’t begrudge them you know


it was an interesting experience it was


cool to go down there it was I think it


was more back to what my career started


really had to grind through to get it




the Jets years were a grind for me


because the I signed a nice deal there


it’s an opportunity to go down and have


a you know a chance to compete to start


and outside linebacker that was


important to me in free agency you know


is as loaded as that room was in the


wingull and it just that was never going


to happen there you’re behind guys like


Willie a very well stay there for the


rest of my career so there was an option


to go down and have a chance to start


down there our very first mini camp you


know the the mandatory summer mini camp


in New York and we’re out in the outdoor


fields the crappy old turf at Hofstra I


blew out my says only joint so your big


toe joint the joint of my foot I ripped


it dislocated my foot big toe so badly


that I ended up having reconstructive


surgery after


season but I’ve got my big opportunity


this is going to be a spot to expand my


role and covering Thomas Jones Thomas is


the Virginia running back bears running


back will good player having mountain


space I just you know covered him


nothing playing mini camp and I cut in


that turf and my pelvic on somehow and


it just it completely shredded and I had


to make a decision I’ve been named a


captain on the jet ski and you know


you’ve just arrived you’ve gotten a


little bit of money you feel kind of an


obligation after a minicam practice you


don’t want to bail at that point so I


had with the doctors to sort of decide


hey do you know do I have to get surgery


is over like now you can you can sew it


up tape it up and we’ll try to play


through the year so I ended up getting


this super stiff shoe they call it a


zero flex it’s made of carbon fiber but


basically I was a Nike guy at the time


and they would the front half of the


shoe is carbon fiber so there’s a flex


so I had to run flat-footed yeah yeah


what I cut I get a new purse new street


game cut an X in the side so the


sesamoid joint could stick out so


basically my toe would sit sort of


sideways you’d see the bump like a


personal have like a man Wow my sock and


you know about a half-inch there would


stick out the bunion other side of my


shoe you have to cut it to release


pressure so that I could stick there and


then I would Pat over the top of it I


was running around the club foot so


that’s a long long story to basically


say I got it up that oh six season came


back oh seven and you’ve had the


reconstructive surgeon so you could tell


you’re not the same guy you know it’s


like an ACL flip you know like I hadn’t


what so I drug myself 307 go in 208 and


you kind of know my wife and I like this


is my 10th training camp I’m not the


same guy


the opportunity that was gonna be there


doesn’t happen because I’m all banged up


but I’ve drugged myself through it cuz


your caffeine you kind of feel like you


guys still be the leader but you kind of


knew it was coming to an end so you just


you know when they cut you you’re kind


of like yeah I get it now before I


handed off to Steve for the gauntlet D


is the the broadcast career and


everything you’re doing on the sidelines


and with Nessa and ESPN is that


something that you knew


probably halfway through Korea hey I


want to get into this business so would


you kind of fall into it now definitely


fell into a Kris I was a pre-law guy at


the University of South Dakota so I


doubled in English and criminal justice


and I attend intended to go law school I


took my own SATs I applied at UT Austin


apply to Emory in Atlanta the University


of Minnesota knew of em I applied to the


University of Iowa and then again South


Dakota was my fallback school I was City


been waiting to go to either law school


or to go in the AFL and the NFL thing


happened for me so I tabled that but


when I got done you know it’s I was a


young guy I’m still 17 when I was going


into college I was still 21 when I had


just come to the NFL so even though it


was ten training camps in I was I was 31


so you know I was a 36 or seven but I


was looking at that at that point and I


didn’t want to go to three full years of


law school you’re just starting to do


that and then not even being able to


practice till you’re 35 that’s just that


was a tough swallow so oh I wouldn’t got


an MBA so I instead I I kind of looked


at it and had talked a lot other people


and you talk to other former players and


a lot of guys like to get investments a


lot of guys like to do different


business things once they get out but in


full candor we don’t have that


background so my thought was so you know


let’s take advantage of this and you


know get a better business background


before we dive into those things so I


went to Babson College I’d apply to


Harvard BC and Babson and ended up just


love and BAPS and it’s the number one


orator out for school in the country 25


years in a row amazing program and it’s


fall so you’re going and you’re in


classrooms like 15 people we’re all


starting little businesses themselves so


I went there no broadcast idea not at


all zero point zero that’s not what I’m




and I lived up there and Wellesley just


kind of away from football you know the


first year I was back from New York I


for sure didn’t really have any


association with Foxborough you know


maybe it made me watch every game to be


pursued yes so but once I had graduated


two years later


sort of a restaurant I was getting a


little involved in some random business


things and the the on town the on-air


guy my boss now at NASA and Larry Lawson


Larry was courting


producer I believe at the time and it


would come down to my restaurant as a


Matt just you know come to one segment a


week come to that you know they just


kept knocking on that door and I knew a


lot of people back at KSP craft sports


productions that the sort of in-house


thing there at the stadium the Patriots


and paint recycle and all that kind of


stuff and they were they were asking


around to that were you willing to do


this stuff and what I always liked about


it is initially I could do it a little


you know I could still have the other


stuff and do one segment a week one show


a week something like that and still go


off and have another life but then


what’s happened since then is then I


pick up you know doing college football


games over weekend – being in here


locally you know and then nasan becomes


a full-time job and then uh when I was


gonna write and so I took a gig with The


Herald and then I worked at BTN for a


couple years and you know it’s just


they started compiling until you turn


around ago I guess I’m a full time it


happened real fast huh well Matt before


I jump into the gauntlet just one quick


last question for you you’ve made your


NFL career I’m being a special teams guy


and at the end with the Jets you had a


chance to really competing and be out


there but a lot of it was as a reserve


linebacker as well so I just wanted to


ask you how did you go about you know


how much time do you actually have to


dedicate to being fully prepared on


special teams just what was the the


practicing like and the the film for


that and how did you fit that in with


just your typical linebacker prep yeah


so I would say one of the really things


I liked a lot about our crew is Larry as


those consummate problemis lunatic but


he’s a consummate pro as far as a


preparation well he loves to dive into


film study and I and some of our buddies


in the room Jerrod cherry Don Davis


Patrick pass some of the lot of the


other guys that came and went through


that room but we did you know core teams


they that’s the phrase they use now just


the core for guys or whatever the guys I


basically do special teams as your job


first but you have to be good on the


Patriots it’s your position or you don’t


keep your gig and I think that’s the one


thing it’s a little bit unique here yeah


there are other places where you know


basically the special teams are made up


of the guys that don’t start in a


position and


New England kid thinks of it well really


you have to be able to be both if you


can’t there aren’t very many guys who


record that absolutely couldn’t play the


position that they were called on in a


moment so I would self to take four reps


during the practice week I would still


play linebacker during you know during


games it’s just you’re not playing 45 to


55 snaps you’re playing 10 to 25 or just


depending on what’s going on the week


but gentle but 30 snaps of special teams


too and you sort of study with you study


that you know a lot the same way so it


just kind of makes your load a little


heavier and I think again with us being


a 3/4 team for the six years I was here


and me being reserved I had to know all


four spots you know and and you know


pepper was great with that pepper


Johnson was obviously a big-time guy


playing for the Giants years ago but


they played all over the the group there


and they played in three fours also so


he said it was great having a coach that


understood all the sides of it and Rob


Ryan was it was really great as well but


you know you’d have to you’d have to go


in saying okay I only got like a period


maybe ten practice reps that might put


in their emergency I might have to go in


there you never know but then I would


have to really be honed in on the


outside linebacker stuff especially the


team’s always so what was cool is we


have a we had a group that we kind of


led the meetings with Brad Sealy you


know one of the best special team


coaches out there but as you get later


in the week sometimes you know not turn


it over the players but we have player


like meetings on Friday Larry get up and


address the crew I’d come in after and


we give our breakdowns on their top guys


and we’d have to stop the scheme to use


the vs. our schemes and things like that


so you know I think it was it was almost


like the little crew of entrepreneurs as


well so you have to be able to do that


you know the best teams aren’t just the


best coached it’s usually when the


players can sort of let loose and take


things over as long awesome thanks for


that Matt you know as promised we have


to jump into the gauntlet so I hope


you’re ready just go through some quick


hitters with you right off the bat I


need to know what’s more important


having the number one Oh or the number


one D Oh actually no because think


defense is a function of the office you


you can’t be in there more deep you’ve


got another one


why because number one is score a lot of


points so you put you in a different


kind of game you’re you’re the number


one D you’re stuck how many number one


o’s are upset number what these that you


didn’t happen


fair enough best team the oh one the oh


three the Oh for Patriots Wow we’ll just


say the last one compose memory my


memory is not great so no aunts once did


the first one because they they started


it so either way no matter how you kind


of there’s no wrong answer now a


shootout or defensive struggle


I like the defensive struggles I think


those games are actually really fun so I


had no fans prefer the other but not me


I’m right there with you


now is there a coach or a team that you


wish that you had the opportunity to


have played with or for I mean it’s a


tough question but I’d say not getting a


taste of that of that 99 team with Coach


Vermeil but not actually playing outside


of the preseason with that crew I had a


lot of respect for him I mean dicks


dicks obviously a different kind of


coach to bill but that was a pretty cool


environment obviously that was a special


team to go on and do what they did in 99


yeah in the back of my head I kind of


wish I’d stuck with that one but I end


up in a better spot down the road yeah


that’s right most talented team made


that you played with not named Tom Brady


let’s keep it on the defensive side of


the ball cuz that’s the guys we know


most and you could say tie law again


he’s right there but just I’ll stick in


my position Willie McGinest is a frickin


nature Willie is a fraud shoulder narrow


have super broad chest nine hands


amazing lunch can move only thing Willie


is Willie is you know like the Jevon


Kearse after him and the you know maybe


Davian clowny now he’s just one of the


even the physical freak of his


generation did so much for our defense


from rerouting guys out in space just


absolutely dominating tight ends and


Willie Willie’s the answer alright


spread off into our power offense power


if it’s spread that means Nick one times


with you loud get a play so let’s kiddo




fair enough and this is the last one


what’s most important the players of the


scheme Flyers absolutely none needed


none well Matt thanks again for coming


on you can find on Twitter or any other


places but you’d like to shout out


well I’m Chris Haddad co-host Steve


McGrath thanks again as always Matt and


we will see you guys next time thanks




00:49:34,280 –> 00:00:00,000

thanks for having me guys all right


Leave a Comment