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Brian Grazer Peels Back the Curtain on Patriots Dynasty

The Dynasty executive producer talks to Boardroom about bringing new insight to the power dynamics behind the title-winning New England Patriots in Apple TV+’s latest.

Most sports and football fans are already familiar with the New England Patriots‘ 21st-century run of six Super Bowl championships and nine AFC Championship Game appearances, the greatest stretch by any team in NFL history.

The challenge for Dynasty: The Rise of the New England Patriots, a 10-part docuseries premiering on Apple TV+ on Friday, is bringing new insight and narrative beyond the winning — Spygate, Deflategate, and Aaron Hernandez. Academy, Emmy, and Grammy Award-winning producer Brian Grazer, Dynasty‘s executive producer, believes the challenge has been more than met.

“I don’t think even the fans have experienced the internal drama of the triumphs, tragedies, and embarrassment that we bring them into,” Grazer told Boardroom earlier this month.


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A major common denominator for the 72-year-old legend who’s produced classics like A Beautiful Mind, 24, Arrested Development, 8 Mile, Friday Night Lights, and so many other iconic films and shows, is exploring worlds he’s interested in but doesn’t have expert knowledge in.

Grazer met Patriots owner Robert Kraft in 2012 and learned about his and the team’s origin story. Kraft bought the Sullivan (later Foxborough) Stadium parking lot, eventually leveraging that into purchasing the team in 1994 for $172 million. Forbes currently values the Patriots at $7 billion.

When Grazer read Jeff Benedict’s best-seller Dynasty in 2020, he experienced everything from a different lens and saw key elements that would make for entertaining and engaging television.

“I love power paradigms. I love when people are balancing power and the power dynamics,” Grazer said. “And this book encapsulated all of that with the power dynamics of Tom Brady, Bill Belichick, and Kraft and how they were able to create this dynasty.”

In the two-and-a-half years it took from conception to completion, Grazer and director Matt Hamachek brought the book’s words to life on screen, exposing the good, bad, and ugly aspects of the Pats’ two decades of dominance.

More than 70 players, coaches, executives, rivals, and celebrities went on the record for Dynasty, including Roger Goodell, Randy Moss, Julian Edelman, Rob Gronkowski, Jon Bon Jovi, and Rupert Murdoch. Those subjects help bring out elements nobody would want to be exposed, but all the major power players were down, Grazer said, because that’s where real drama and conflict come from.

“These are the people who were in the room when the decisions were being made that led to incredible success and the people that were there to witness the dynasty crumbling down,” Hamachek told Boardroom. “I got to listen to them tell me their side of the story. What you’re left with is a deeply human story. It’s Shakespeare with footballs.”

Grazer said he loves underdog stories like Cinderella Man with Russell Crowe. And with Kraft purchasing a team in disarray, Belichick having failed in his first head coaching job in Cleveland, and Brady being picked 199th in the 2001 NFL Draft, the Patriots dynasty certainly qualifies.

But in winning all those championships in relatively rapid succession, it was only inevitable that New England would become pro football’s villains.

Brian Grazer
Belichick, Brady, and Kraft in The Dynasty: New England Patriots, premiering on Friday on Apple TV+. (Photo courtesy of the New England Patriots)

Spygate and Deflategate only accelerated the Patriots’ heel turn. But as the football universe turned on New England, the Pats became underdogs again, in a way. As they dug out of their various scandals and ascended once again to the top of the league, it’s a dynamic Grazer said he and Hamachek were able to capture.

When Brady was suspended for the first four games of the 2016 season, the fans and his teammates rallied around their quarterback like never before. And there was a certain touchpoint about Brady that made Dynasty particularly shine for Grazer. He’s had many opportunities to go into the Pats’ locker room after a game, but at first, it was an all-new experience.

“There pretty quickly becomes immediate silence, complete silence,” Grazer said. “And Belichick kind of walks around, doesn’t say much, puts his hand on his chin, and looks again, even though they won, deeply contemplative, not gigantically happy, not elated in any way.

“But the thing that I was really struck by is that during this very quiet kind of solemn moment, Brady brought so much soul to the brotherhood of these athletes. He gets down on one knee and does a prayer, and everyone is deeply involved in this prayer. And I remember I was touched to the point it brought tears to my eyes. He just literally brought so much sincerity and empathy to these guys and throughout the prayer.

“Brady quickly became more than an athlete. He became an aura.”

Brady was the reason the Patriots and all of New England endured the scandals that would’ve sunk a vast majority of sports teams. It’s why one line from the series resonated so much with Grazer: While the Patriots worked for Bill Belichick, they played for Tom Brady.

Brian Grazer Patriots
A still shot of Brady in the new show. (Image courtesy of Apple TV+)

Scenes like the one Grazer described in the locker room are how Dynasty brings the audience into the proverbial huddle and onto the field.

“While it’s about one of the most iconic NFL franchises, it really transcends the sport and has all the elements of a drama series,” Justin Wilkes, Imagine Entertainment’s president, said. “The most interesting things had nothing to do with the sport.”

Dynasty, Grazer said, lets the audience engage with the story and the characters as they experience the 10 episodes, acting more like a roller coaster ride than anything else.

Throughout the triumphs and trials during its two-decade run as the most successful franchise in NFL history, the New England Patriots always managed to make things interesting, with the football universe revolving around the three central figures that make this story sing.

Read more from Grazer on what to expect in Apple TV+’s newest series by subscribing to Boardroom’s revamped Inside the Boardroom newsletter.

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Shlomo Sprung

Shlomo Sprung is a Senior Staff Writer at Boardroom. He has more than a decade of experience in journalism, with past work appearing in Forbes, MLB.com, Awful Announcing, and The Sporting News. He graduated from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism in 2011, and his Twitter and Spotify addictions are well under control. Just ask him.