vIQ #11: Matt Chatham on Bill Belichick and the Patriot Way

In Podcast Season 1, Podcast Season 2by 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

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