Patriots: Will Tom Brady outlast Bill Belichick in NFL?
By Jerry Trotta
Could Tom Brady actually outlast Bill Belichick in the NFL?
Since the media is hellbent on determining a winner in the Tom Brady-Bill Belichick divorce, it goes without saying that the pendulum is swinging in the 43-year-old quarterback’s favor after their first year apart.
After all, Brady led a seven-win team and perennial underachiever in the Buccaneers to an 11-5 record in the regular season before going on to notch three impressive victories in the playoffs to set up a box-office Super Bowl matchup against the Chiefs.
On the other side of the spectrum, the Patriots, fresh off a 12-win campaign and having clinched their division for the 11th straight year, endured the same five-game drop off as they did in 2008 when Brady suffered a torn ACL in Week 1 and missed the entire season.
Well, with Brady getting set to compete for his seventh championship — and Belichick scrambling to replenish his roster in one offseason — it might be time to ask the dreaded question: is it possible that Brady outlasts Belichick in the NFL? And if Belichick doesn’t strike gold repeatedly this offseason and craft a contender, could this be his final season?
You simply can’t rule it out. Belichick, while he hasn’t shown any indications of wanting to retire, will turn 69 years old in a few months. Being head coach and de facto general manager, a lot is on his plate, and it undoubtedly becomes all the more exhausting when you aren’t winning.
Knowing his competitive drive, however, the Patriots legend probably enjoyed all the hate he received in 2020 and is motivated more than ever to stick it to everyone who doubted his ability to coach and cultivate a roster. If Belichick is able to have the team making deep playoff runs within the next two years, it’s anyone’s guess as to when he’ll retire.
Brady, meanwhile, is contractually obligated to the Bucs for at least one more season, so the outcome of their Super Bowl matchup vs the Chiefs is irrelevant in this conversation. If the three-time MVP manages to win it all next year, however, he would have the perfect opportunity to go out on top. In that scenario, it’s reasonable to assume that Belichick would outlast him.
If Brady and the Bucs come up short in 2021, who’s to say that he doesn’t run it back or sign with another team? After all, we’re talking about a player who finished second in the league in both completions (401) and touchdowns (40), as well as third in passing yards (4,633), first downs (233), and yards per game (289.6). He also finished ninth in QBR (72.5) and 11th in yards per attempt (7.6), further proving that he’s still an elite quarterback.
As long as Brady has a stable offensive line and receivers who can create separation at his disposal, there’s no reason to believe that he couldn’t play another…four years? Are we insane, or are we just watching a protected Brady knife through NFL defenses like butter at the age of 43?
In that scenario, he would have the inside track on Belichick, as far as career longevity is concerned.