Three-time Patriots Super Bowl winner Matt Light talks with N Magazine about Bill Belichick, Tom Brady, Deflategate, vodka, and Nantucket.
N MAGAZINE: Can you tell us a little bit about your history on the island?
MATT LIGHT: Two years ago, we made a trip with some friends and went to some incredible spots on the island. I’d fished off of Nantucket, and I’d been all over the Vineyard and all over the Cape, some of the south islands as well. It was such a great experience for my wife and I to finally be able to go. It’s incredible how different Nantucket is then anything else on the Northeast.
N MAGAZINE: You’re planning on being on island this summer?
LIGHT: Yeah, we will be back in mid-August. For the first time this year we plan on catching the tail end of the fishing season on the island. We will also bring our kids out for the first time, which will be great. We’re really looking forward to it.
N MAGAZINE: What do most people not know about Belichick that you know from the time you’ve spent with him on vacation?
LIGHT: Bill is misunderstood, mainly because he is as private as anyone has ever been. You would think that a guy who has coached for so many different organizations would have had a “crib’s edition” of his home, but he keeps everything to himself. He’s a very philanthropic and charismatic guy, someone who people enjoy playing for, and also has very high expectations for his players. I tell everybody, you know that you’re always in a position to win when you’re around a guy like that.
N MAGAZINE: When you look back at your own career, is there anything that sticks out in your mind as particularly meaningful to you?
LIGHT: A lot of people want to know about the Super Bowls and the AFC Championship games. There’s a lot of life lessons to be learned as a player when you go through those kind of experiences. Ultimately, I approached the game differently from most players. I’m not a football guy, so to speak. The first college football game I saw, I was playing in it. The first time I saw an NFL game, I was playing in it. So, personally, I approached the game from the business side and really enjoyed getting to know the logistics of it. Coming from that angle, it was great to see how Bill put his template over the game and how he had managed to deal with sixty-some-odd knuckleheads from various backgrounds. We won with a lot of guys, especially early on, guys that nobody had ever heard of. So I look back on my career and just remember each and every one of those guys and what role they played. Three years removed and watching them reinvent themselves again this past season and win a championship, it’s incredible.
N MAGAZINE: When did you know that Tom Brady was the real deal?
LIGHT: I think the jury is still out. (Laughs) I’m not sure he’s really proven himself yet to be honest with you. (Laughs) Look, I came in and Drew Bledsoe’s the $10 million man. He’s got a heck of an arm, he’s a great leader as well, and then he gets hurt. There was Bishop and there was Brady. There was kind of a toss up. Bill sticks Tommy in there and he immediately takes control of the huddle like the guy had been there forever.
N MAGAZINE: What are your thoughts about what Brady is going through right now with Deflategate?
LIGHT: Let’s face it, in the U.S. [the NFL] is the biggest thing going. To have piss poor leadership as they have right now really speaks to how there’s laziness. Everything about the pressurization of a football has had a lot of blunders by the guy that is supposed to be upholding the integrity of the game. I think Roger Goodell, as [Robert] Kraft said, owes an apology. To be honest with you, I look at this and I say, what a nightmare and what a disservice to all the players and all the guys that were on that team, and even guys like myself, that are former players.
N MAGAZINE: And I heard you’re trying to bring about some good through this whole situation?
LIGHT: We just launched Inflationationraffle.org. Basically, we are going to take this circus that Roger Goodell, Mr. Patch, their lead lawyer, and guys like Troy Vincent, have created, and we’re going turn it into something positive. We’re going to be raffling off tickets to go to the Indianapolis game with me on a private jet. Everything’s included: unbelievable seats, dinners in Indy, the whole nine. We’ve done these raffles in the past to raise money for my foundation. If you believe it the way I see it, then send a clear message to the NFL and Roger Goodell and support this raffle. If we raise enough money, we can send Roger to one of our leadership camps, because he could use it.
N MAGAZINE: As far as your own career, what is this transition to a new pursuit like? You have a new vodka label, Keel Vodka, that hit Nantucket this summer?
LIGHT: It’s always been a dream to enter the real world and do something on par with the success that we have on the field. Keel really sheds light on that. We don’t have the budget of some of those larger distributors or some of the larger vodka brands, so we’ve had to be very creative and take advantage of our network and friends. All these things you can do when you have a great product. It’s a phenomenal, high end product. The Keel taste test and studies have come back in our favor, and then from there we’ve had to figure out how well can we get the word out. We’re hoping that Nantucket is a big win for Keel this summer.