The 2020 season is well past its midway point, and sadly nobody is winning the Tom Brady vs Bill Belichick debate.
The second it was announced last offseason that Tom Brady signed a two-year contract with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, media members took it upon themselves to pin him and head coach Bill Belichick against each other in terms of debating who was more essential to the Patriots’ historic dynasty … despite not having a shred of evidence to back either side of the argument.
That narrative predictably continued into the season in nauseating fashion as sports talk shows have made this a prominent subject of conversation as soon as one of Brady or Belichick slipped and the other seemed to emerge on the “winning” side.
Well, with Week 11 of the campaign officially in the books, it pains us to admit that neither of the two legends have the edge in the increasingly polarizing debate.
Though Brady currently has the Buccaneers primed to secure a playoff berth, he’s simply been too inconsistent this season — specifically against teams with elite pass rushes — to have the lead. As Pro Football Focus noted in the above tweet, the 43-year-old quarterback has struggled mightily throwing the deep ball and is currently averaging one of the lowest yards per attempt tallies (6.8) of his esteemed career.
He’s also been incredibly prone to turnovers, logging three games with multiple interceptions and he currently has the fourth-most INTs (nine) in the league. If you throw Tampa’s record out the window, the eye test has proven that Brady is nowhere close to being deserving of having the edge in the argument.
Unfortunately for Belichick, the same can be said for him as the Patriots are currently off to their worst start of his two-decade tenure. The 68-year-old has been lauded for his defensive genius, but this year’s unit hasn’t been able to stop a nosebleed, as they rank 16th in total yards allowed per game (357.9) and 13th in points conceded per game (23.8).
Honestly, it feels like it’s a lot worse than that, too.
To make matters worse, the Patriots’ struggles have shed a damning light on some of Belichick’s draft blunders over the last few years. Had he hit on a few of those picks, it’s very possible that the team has a couple more wins under its belt this season.
At the same time, however, you almost have to grade the six-time champion on a curve given how many key members of the defense left via free agency and opted out prior to training camp. It’s also worth noting that the Patriots’ crippling salary cap situation didn’t provide him with the flexibility to replace the departures on that side of the ball.
The bottom line is that we have no idea if one of Brady or Belichick will manage to create some distance from the other in regards to this argument. Until (and if) that happens, there’s nothing wrong with admitting that both played huge roles in New England’s unprecedented run of success. They could both certainly use each other right now.