Feb 5, 2012; Indianapolis, IN, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) shakes hands with head coach Bill Belichick before Super Bowl XLVI against the New York Giants at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

New England Patriots: What Happens After Bill And Brady?

13 years ago the New England Patriots made two decisions that would change their franchise and really change the landscape of the entire NFL. The first was they brought in Bill Belichick as their head coach. At this point in time Belichick was not recognized as the “great evil genius” that he now is. Sure he was respected as one of the great defensive minds in the game, but nobody really thought he would gain as much success with the Patriots as he did. The second decision they made was to draft quarterback Tom Brady in the sixth round of the 2000 NFL draft. Of course we all know the story of how Brady slid all the way down to the sixth round, and how the Patriots got the best draft steal in NFL history. But at this time nobody could have imagined the success the Patriots would have in the next 13 years . This success included five Super Bowl appearances, three Super Bowl wins, and 136 overall wins. If there has been a better quarterback/coach tandem in the history of the NFL, I would like to see someone try and make an argument for them over BB and Brady because it is pretty hard to top what they have done.

Because both of these guys are still at the top of (or close to) the top of their games, nobody wants to take a look into the future when these two guys are gone. This is understandable because it doesn’t look like these guys will be done anytime soon. I mean they went to the Super Bowl only two short years ago, so why should we worry about when they leave? Five years may seem like a long time in the future but it really is not. It seems like yesterday when Brady went down with a knee injury against the Chiefs, only five short years ago.

When I think about what the Patriots will look like without Brady and Belichick, I keep getting images of Jason from ‘Friday the 13th’ because it is going to be a pretty scary sight. If you look at the teams that New England have had in the last 13 years where would those teams be without Bill or Brady? These teams all were not very talented, but Belichick molded the defense into a top 10 unit, and Brady made those offenses very effective. With the exception of 2007, every Patriot team that was successful was not a very talented one. However the talents of Brady and Belichick were just so good that they were able to take the team to new heights.

Think about how New England will look with a Brady-less offense and a Belichick-less defense. The result is not going to be pretty. Without the mind of Belichick to help the defense employ that “bend but don’t break” tactic, and without Brady to orchestrate one of the most efficient offenses in the league, where does that put the Pats? It sure as hell does not put them back in the Super Bowl. In fact, I think it will take the Patriots quite a bit of time to just get back into the playoffs. Lets face it, New England has been relying on Belichick and Brady for 13 years Their draft classes haven’t been bad, but they haven’t been outstanding either. It is going to take a little bit of time for the Patriots organization to get used to not having Brady and Belichick to lean on. They will have to operate like a normal NFL franchise, and they haven’t done that for quite a long time. As Patriots fans, we make fun of teams like the Jets or the Browns all the time because of their quarterback issues. Well, the Pats may be in that position five years from now (for the record I don’t think they will be anywhere close to the Jets or Browns organization, I have too much respect for Robert Kraft).

The point is, we have been spoiled by the greatness of Bill and Brady for a long time. Eventually they will no longer be here and the Patriots will just be a normal NFL team. No longer will there be that “Patriots mystique” they had because of their dynasty they had in the early 2000′s. The Patriots changed the landscape of the NFL when Brady and Belichick came in. They were the ones the started the up-tempo, quick passing attack that is now a staple in an NFL offense. They were the last real dynasty since the Cowboys ran over the NFL. The two most important positions on a football team are the quarterback, and the coach. The Pats showed that if you can find two guys that can work together like Brady and Belichick can, those two alone can lead your team to greatness. There has yet to be another team that has been able to duplicate what the Patriots have done with BB and Brady. Every team obviously tries to do what the Patriots did, but the fact that no one has been able to just shows you how lucky we as Patriots fans are. When Brady and Belichick are gone, it is going to be tough to get back to the level where the Pats can contend. The Patriots are going to have to figure this out in the next couple of years. Robert Kraft is the best owner in the NFL in my opinion and I have no doubt that eventually he will do this. But it is going to take time, and it will be a shock for Pats fans, and fans across the NFL to see the Patriots as “just another team”.


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Tags: Bill Belichick New England Patriots Tom Brady

  • Martin

    It’s hard to think about it but it’s something that eventually happens to everyone. You get old and you give up things. But we’re lucky that Brady only had a few injuries in his career. Also Bill has kept his dominanince and intelligence. Pats fans are very lucky if you think of it in a positive way.

  • Willy W

    I put more of our winning on Brady then BB but whatever. I do agree that BB is a very good coach but IMO we OverValue or overrate him. I dont want to go all the way back to his dismal time in Cleveland but I will say that BB is more or less “great” more so because of players like Tom, Wilfork… I know some may say “But but look what BB was able to do with Cassell”. Well first of all Cassell wasnt exactly a bum & he understood their system. Take a QB from outside this system & see how well BB does. IMO BB lost 2 SuperBowls he should have won & in fact he was completely Out coached by Coughlin in the proscess. Bill’s Stubbornness used to win us Championships but now I really believe it’s hurting the team, IE- Losing Welker being the biggest of blows that could come back to haunt us in the end, especially if Danny A cant stay healthy/ on the field.

    Also within BB’s stubbornness is the fact he wont add or make any changes to his coaching staff. Why does he have the smallest staff in the NFL? because he wants ALL the CONTROL, IE Egomaniac.
    And Im sorry but Matt Friggin Patricia doesnt belong on this team & with Romeo C available ( A guy weve won championships with) why BB wouldnt snap him up over Patricia is beyond me. Stupid, stupid, stupid.

    Its been far too long now since we have won a Championship. I dont blame TB for this at all, I blame BB & his stubbornness, cheapness….
    The problem is he’s too good to fire (& God knows Kraft loves the guy) but he may not be good enough any longer to bring us another trophy, which is what all Die hard Pat’s fans want. And it just makes me sick when I think about wasting the last few years of TB’s career & not doing everything in your power to get him another ring or two before his time is done.

    • Hal Bent

      God, I love your passion for the Patriots, Willy! Being outcoached by Tom Coughlin in a big game is nothing to be ashamed of or diminishes Belichick in my view. Coughlin is a great coach, and he matches up so well with Belichick because he knows the man, how he coaches, what he tries to do, and how to match-up with him from their experiences working together (and even sharing/strategizing while at Boston College as Belichick loves to do with his college coaching pals).
      The team goes out and wins double-digits every year and is in position to win it all every year. It’s very easy to look at the Patriots (as I have been doing) and think “they really were very close to winning it all in 05, 06, 07, and even 08…they could have won six in a row if only Brady didn’t throw the pick to Champ Bailey in the red zone in 05, they got a first down and ran out the clock versus Indy in 06, Asante Samuel held onto the pick in 07 SB, and the Patriots won a tie-breaker and got in the playoffs in 08 with the hottest team in the NFL at that point of the season”…but they play a game dependant on 53 (well, 46 active on game day) players and an oblong ball full of air that doesn’t always bounce the way it should. It’s frustrating to watch the team lose, but I doubt it frustrates Belichick–who built the team–even more so than any of us.
      There are a lot of other great coaches working just as hard and finding player just as good as ours in a salary cap league leveling the playing field. That the Patriots are in this position each year for over a decade is amazing. I certainly don’t agree with all the moves Belichick has made (heck, I doubt I agree with even half of them) but I appreciate that they are in position to win each year, which I certainly appreciate as a fan.

      • Willy W

        Thanks Hal. Im so worn out from the Bruins playoff game I am at a complete lose of words. The Only thing I’ll say is I want the Pat’s to bring another Trophy to Foxboro, it’s been too long. Go Pat’s!

        • Hal Bent

          Agreed. We’re all always on the same page ultimately, because all we want is the hardware (Lombardi Trophy) back in Foxboro!

  • Hal Bent

    I think Belichick is probably the best coach since Bill Walsh, and one of my big pet peeves is when–it doesn’t happen as much anymore–he gets lumped in as a part of the Bill Parcells coaching tree. When I see that, I know that the writer hasn’t done his homework, because Belichick was basically the defensive head coach in NY. He was a contemporary of Parcells, not a disciple.

    I think the Patriots will keep the Belichick tree intact when he steps away from coaching. I imagine Bob Kraft will try to keep him when Brady retires, and he may stay on coaching until health issues force him to step aside just because of the challenge it would present him. He has his son, Steve, on staff which is a big draw for him to stay and mentor him. He also has Josh McDaniels and Brian Daboll back in the fold to mold into next head coach in Foxboro (sorry, Eric Mangini, you were on the fast track and blew it).

    Replacing Brady is difficult, but not impossible. Tom Brady and Peyton Manning have arguably matched the Dan Marino-Joe Montana duo of greatest quarterbacks (Does Aaron Rodgers match up to John Elway as the greatest trio argument in this scenario? What about Drew Brees and Dan Fouts and greatest foursome at quarterback?), but the New York Giants won two Super Bowls with Eli Manning, and even Joe Flacco has a ring now.

    It’s a fascinating article, Cyrus, and it will be interesting to see the transition. Great job.

    • Willy W

      >>Replacing Brady is difficult, but not impossible<<

      IMO a Bad choice of words Hal. A person can say that any given QB can be replaced on any given team, at any given time & that is true BUT when you are talking about an Elite QB like Tom Brady… then that QB can not & perhaps Never be Replaced. Every fan of a team that has a QB like Tom hopes & prays his or her team will Draft the next Tom Brady to take over their team and bring Championships to their Town/City but that typically doesnt happen.

      Heck the Raiders have been trying to replace Jim Plunkett for so long now Ive lost count. The Steelers have tried to find the next Terry Bradshaw & even though Big Ben is a solid QB he's No Bradshaw. The Vikings have tried to replace Fran Tarkenton ( just like the Raiders & Plunkett) but have yet to draft that next great QB. Simingly finding the "Next Great QB" is more elusive than spotting Big Foot. The closest a team has come to replacing 1 Great QB with another is in Indy with Andrew Luck & the jury is still out on that young man putting up the numbers Manning put up before him.
      Sorry for the Rant & Im not trying to pick on you, just wanted to point out a poor choice of words.

      • Hal Bent

        I put Belichick in with Walsh as the two best coaches I’ve seen…I think Walsh did the greatest QB transition I can think of (Montana to Young) and I think Belichick–as a great coach and long term planner–has that in the back of his head so that some time in the next 4 years we’ll see what he does.
        The quarterback can be replaced and the team still compete for championships. Flacco, Eli Manning, Big Ben are hardly in the same stratosphere as Brady, but the teams still win and compete for championships regularly because they are strong on defense, have great running games, etc. There’s more than one way to skin a cat, just as there is to win in the NFL. Good QBs with great defenses can win as well (see: 2001 Patriots, or Brady before he was the Brady of today).
        Personally, I’m excited to see if Belichick goes the route of the mobile, pistol QB to replace Brady and changes the offense, or if he stick with trying to find a player to fit his current system.
        Either way, its fun to think of, and argue about…and don’t worry about picking on me, Willy–I need you to hold me accountable and call me out so I don’t get lazy and just fling BS out here!