Morning sports update: Bill Belichick responded to questions about his relationship with Tom Brady

Also: Roy Williams referenced Bill Belichick in a press conference, a Madden replay of the controversial moment in the NFC Championship, and more.

Tom Brady and Bill Belichick AFC Championship
Tom Brady and Bill Belichick on the field after the Patriots won the AFC Championship, Jan., 20, 2019. –Barry Chin/Globe Staff

The Patriots are officially beginning preparations for Super Bowl LIII. New England will face the Los Angeles Rams in Atlanta on Feb. 3.

On Monday night, the Celtics beat the Heat, 107-99. Boston will play the Cavaliers on Wednesday at TD Garden (7:30 p.m.). Paul Pierce recently expounded why Duke is a match for the Cavs.

Bill Belichick dismissed the 2018 reports of a divide with Tom Brady: A little over a year ago, ESPN’s Seth Wickersham published an article in which he detailed a growing divide between Tom Brady and Bill Belichick.

This was contrasted with Sunday’s postgame image, in which Belichick and Brady exchanged a happy embrace after securing another Super Bowl berth.


On Monday, both were interviewed on WEEI. In the morning, Brady emphasized his 19-year partnership with Belichick.

“We’ve always gotten along great,” Brady said on “Mut & Callahan.” “We’ve worked together for 19 years. So we’ve had the same goals in mind for 19 years. He’s been just a great, great mentor in my life, a great coach. He’s taught me more than anyone ever could about the game of football. I’ve always just loved playing here, and playing for him. He’s the greatest coach of all time and we’ve just had some incredible moments together.”

And in the afternoon, Belichick spoke on “Ordway, Merloni & Fauria.”

When the subject of Wickersham’s article came up, Belichick dismissed the reporting.

“Some of these people — I don’t know who they [are], I’ve never met them, never talked to them,” Belichick explained. “I am not going to get into a bunch of gossip.”

On Wickersham specifically, Belichick said he “never talked to the guy.”

Belichick also noted that his joyous postgame moment with Brady wasn’t unique.

“I said that to a lot of guys last night,” Belichick said. “I love this team. I love our players. I love the way they played. I loved the way they played and competed last night. It wasn’t perfect, but they gave everything they had, and that is all you can ask for as a coach. And I would say the coaching staff, me included, we gave all we had. We made mistakes and there were things we could have done better too, but we all put it all out there and thankfully we were able to win in overtime.”


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When the Patriots were America’s team, and the Rams were the bad guys: The last time the Patriots and Rams met in the Super Bowl, it was the beginning of a dynasty. And while Rams receiver Ricky Proehl insisted it would be the birth of a St. Louis dynasty, Tom Brady and Bill Belichick had other plans. [The Athletic]

Tony Romo thinks he knows where free agent outfielder Bryce Harper should sign:

Madden 19 thinks the Rams committed a penalty:

North Carolina men’s basketball coach Roy Williams says he has a better sense of humor than Bill Belichick:

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On this day: In 1989, the 49ers marched the length of the field to win Super Bowl XXIII in dramatic circumstances over the Bengals, 20-16. Joe Montana – who calmed his team down initially by spotting John Candy in the opposite end zone – fired the winning touchdown pass to wide receiver John Taylor. It was the last game for legendary coach Bill Walsh with the 49ers.

Here’s his explanation of the play that resulted in the championship-winning touchdown.

Also, in 2006, Kobe Bryant dropped 81 points against the Raptors.

Daily highlight: Kyrie Irving used a between-the-legs pass to find a wide open Marcus Smart, who promptly nailed a three.