With the Patriots in disarray and Tom Brady thriving in Tampa Bay, is Bill Belichick’s legacy taking a hit?
There might be more than half of the 2020 schedule remaining, but the Patriots are running out of time to save their season. Facing a 49ers team with 14 players on injured reserve, including their top two running backs and most productive defensive lineman, and both of their safeties inactive, head coach Bill Belichick’s side was undressed by a whopping 27 points.
Despite all of those factors working in the Patriots’ favor, they suffered their worst home loss of the Belichick era and are now in the midst of their first three-game skid in 18 years. While the continued struggles of the offense will be the main talking point among media members this week, the normally-stout defense was absolutely shredded by San Francisco’s rushing attack.
The Patriots currently sit 2.5 games behind Buffalo in the AFC East and have more wins than just four teams in an admittedly deeper than usual conference.
With each passing week, it looks increasingly apparent to some people that Belichick is sorely missing Tom Brady, who is fresh off throwing for 369 yards and four touchdowns in a win on Sunday and has the Buccaneers with the second-best record in a loaded NFC.
That begs the question we thought we never had to ask: Is Belichick’s legacy taking a hit without the legendary quarterback?
In our eyes, the answer is no and it boils down to the fact that their situations are as incomparable as can be. For starters, the Patriots’ roster has glaring flaws and isn’t constituted to accentuate the greatness of signal caller Cam Newton, who is slowly proving that he isn’t capable of positing Pro Bowl-caliber numbers with his current assortment of weapons.
Furthermore, the team lost a multitude of defensive playmakers to both free agency and player opt outs, which has forced a number of inexperienced players to take on bigger roles than previously anticipated. Throw in their formerly crippling cap situation into the mix and Belichick was never going to be able to find sufficient replacements for this season.
With all of these debilitating variables to consider, does the 68-year-old’s legacy really deserve to take a hit? No way. He shouldn’t be faulted for deploying a flawed roster for the first time in over two decades at the helm, across which he’s been to nine Super Bowls and delivered six championships and 17 division crowns. It speaks volumes to the defects of this roster that a coach with Belichick’s resume is finding it difficult to churn out wins.
Then, of course, you have Brady’s incredibly favorable situation with the Buccaneers, who arguably have the best wide receiving corps in the NFL and just signed superstar Antonio Brown to a one-year contract. With that in mind, is it really surprising that Brady is enjoying so much success right now? Not in the slightest. Add in the fact that Tampa Bay has an elite defense and the three-time MVP was always going to flourish following his decision to leave the Patriots.
Just because Brady is “winning” his divorce from Belichick, doesn’t mean that the coach’s legacy deserves to be knocked down a peg, and those who are advocating for that to happen are delusional for doing so.