Patriots: The kingdom of Tom Brady expands as Bill Belichick’s house of sand collapses

FOXBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS - NOVEMBER 24: Head coach Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots talks with Tom Brady #12 before the game against the Dallas Cowboys at Gillette Stadium on November 24, 2019 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Kathryn Riley/Getty Images)
FOXBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS - NOVEMBER 24: Head coach Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots talks with Tom Brady #12 before the game against the Dallas Cowboys at Gillette Stadium on November 24, 2019 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Kathryn Riley/Getty Images) /

There are many New England Patriots fans who feel Tom Brady was the catalyst for much of the team’s success, and that was further fortified when he captured a Super Bowl without Bill Belichick a few weeks ago.

What we are seeing from Brady will may never be replicated again, and that’s certainly not out of the question.

Brady delivered six Lombardi trophies to the Patriots franchise, but the QB is still getting too much hate and not enough credit.

Meanwhile, the man who coached Brady in New England seems to be getting too much credit for the success and not enough blame for the GOAT’s departure, and here’s why.

Bill Belichick is 61-72 without Tom Brady, which is worse than the 61-66 record that head coach Rex Ryan put up in his glory days.

Belichick had endured a 5-11 season in 2000 and was winless in 2001 before Brady fell into his lap. Defenders of coach Belichick point to 2008 when the team went 11-5 with Matt Cassell after Brady tore his ACL. However, wasn’t that a very similar team to the 16-0 Patriots from just a year prior?

Moss, Welker, Watson, Light, Mankins, and Koppen were all there on the offensive side of the ball. Wilfork, Seymour, Vrabel, Bruschi, and Meriweather also returned on defense for the 2008 campaign. Instead of saying that Belichick still got 11 wins without Brady, shouldn’t we say that the Patriots regressed five wins and a Super Bowl appearance without Brady?

Brady manufactured 12 wins and a playoff appearance in 2019, but after his departure (in addition to other free agents leaving and a number of opt outs), that turned into a very ugly 7-9. If Belichick is the greatest coach of all time and deserves so much credit for the dynasty built in New England, he hasn’t done a great job of proving it without Brady.

Belichick supporters will credit him with all the defensive success for the franchise, and mistakenly so. Belichick is a genius on the defensive side of the ball — none of these fantastic comebacks and wins we have seen for the last 20 years would be possible without some spectacular defensive stands, coaching, and film study.

However, former Patriot Danny Amendola said it best when on Fox Sports 1’s First Things First: “None of those coaches threw any passes, none of those coaches caught any passes, none of those coaches made any tackles.”

It would be incorrect of us to assign Belichick with 100% of the defensive success. He didn’t intercept Russell Wilson at the one-yard line; he didn’t sprint halfway across the field to knock a sure touchdown away from Brandin Cooks; nor did he knock down Blake Bortles’ fourth-down attempt that sent New England to Super Bowl 52.

We get that the argument works both ways. Tom Brady can’t be responsible for everything on the offensive side, either. He is one of 11 players. However, our good friend Bruce Nolan would agree that he gets the credit’s plurality, not the majority. The quarterback is undeniably the most important player on the field, but he isn’t deserving of 100% of the credit either.

Our claim: Brady is more responsible for the team’s success than Belichick and more so than individuals in the organization.

Belichick the head coach and Belichick the general manager are two different stories.

Belichick is more than just a coach, though. He is the de-facto general manager, too! Therefore, it would make sense to credit him more success than just a pure head coach would get. That does make sense. However, we should proceed with caution when saying things like, “Bill had such a bad team to work with in 2020,” because it resulted from his poor decision-making as a GM.

After the 2017 season, Belichick traded away Brandin Cooks, let Amendola walk, tried to trade Rob Gronkowski, and then had no replacement for an aging Julian Edelman who was slated to miss four games due to suspension. Belichick let Chris Hogan go the following season and then selected N’Keal Harry and Sony Michel in successive drafts.

His worst move of all, though, was not re-signing Brady. He put New England in an inferior position for 2020 and beyond with that decision. Interestingly enough, many fans are upset with Brady for “leaving” and “looking for more money.” How about we revise that statement and say that he was ultimately pushed out the back door by Belichick?

On Tom E. Curran’s Patriots Talk Podcast, the Pats insider had the chance to speak with Tom Brady Sr. When reminiscing about why Brady left New England, Tom Sr. said his son met with Belichick to sort out a potential re-signing after the conclusion of the 2019 season. The result of the meeting? Brady walked out, saying that Belichick was treating him as if he was still under contract.

Ultimately, Tom wanted an assurance that the team believed in him; the proxy of which would be the contract’s length, which New England wouldn’t offer. Brady bet on himself and is cashing in.

Let’s go back to what Amendola said on FS1: “Tom Brady is the ‘Patriot Way,’ and that’s the reason why Tom Brady’s in the Super Bowl right now and the Patriots aren’t.”

Amendola is right. And here’s why:

  • Brady slayed the Legion of Boom, overcoming a 10-point deficit in the fourth quarter
  • He clawed New England out of two 14-point holes against the Ravens in the playoffs
  • He led the offensive charge in the greatest playoff comeback of all time against the Atlanta Falcons in the Super Bowl
  • He threw two touchdowns in the fourth quarter against the NFL’s top-ranked defense (the 2017 Jaguars) while his throwing hand was stitched together
  • He took down Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs in an offensive shootout to win the AFC

And that’s just recent memory.

After getting shoved out the back door, Brady bet on himself and joined the worst franchise in all of sports with a winning percentage of .387 heading into 2020, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. All season long, the Brady vs. Belichick debates were swirling, and after the Bucs fell to 7-5, many were willing to lean on the side of Belichick.

However, Brady and the Bucs rattled off eight wins in a row from that point on, including four playoff victories, to once again reach the NFL’s mountaintop.

How did the Buccaneers turn it around? Well, head coach Bruce Arians admittedly said after winning the Super Bowl that he “didn’t do a damn thing.” It resulted from Arians stepping back and allowing Brady to “coach.” Arians said, “Like, New England didn’t allow him to coach […] I just sit back sometimes and watch.”

Remarkably, Brady turned around that franchise in the span of one season. Perhaps it was poetic justice that Gronkowski, Antonio Brown, and Leonard Fournette all scored touchdowns in the Super Bowl — all of whom found their way on the team as a direct result of Brady being there.

We get it, Patriots fans don’t have TB12 anymore. And even if they still don’t want to admit it, he was their reason for their greatness. Trying to say that Brady wasn’t the primary catalyst for the Patriots’ success is just trying to deny that it may be a rough couple of years for the franchise. Because it’s not going to be easy.

The Buffalo Bills will be outstanding for a long time with all the pieces they have in place. The Miami Dolphins couldn’t figure out who would play quarterback last season, yet they had a well-functioning and successful team. Once they get that position settled, they’ll have a contender without a doubt. The future may not be so bright in Foxborough.

Meanwhile, down in Tampa Bay, it appears as if Brady is building another dynasty. He signed a two-year deal last offseason and there are already talks of a contract extension to keep him with the Bucs beyond 2021.

Besides the lazy argument that “he’s getting old,” is there really any evidence that Brady would hang it up at the end of next year? His arm is as strong as ever; he ran through the fourth-ranked Washington defense in the playoffs, and then defeated the game’s best in Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers and Mahomes en route to his seventh title.

On top of that, he had his best passer rating since 2017, when he won his last MVP. Long story short? Stop betting against Brady.

As a Patriots fan, if you no longer like or support Brady, maybe it’s time to re-evaluate what you’re actually rooting for.