5 of the biggest what-ifs for the Patriots during the Bill Belichick era

Tampa Bay Buccaneers v New England Patriots
Tampa Bay Buccaneers v New England Patriots / Adam Glanzman/GettyImages
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Looking back on the twenty years of the Bill Belichick and Tom Brady era in New England, it is filled with a lot of success, winning, and unbelievable accomplishments. It's what any fan would dream of for their favorite team, never mind occurring during a record span.

From nine Super Bowl appearances( and six wins) and record-breaking AFC Championship appearances to legendary players being born year after year, there was a lot of excitement surrounding all the success during the infamous dynasty.

But with all of the good that occurred, some questions still haunt the minds of fans today, no matter how much success the team accomplished.

Many of those thoughts have become the biggest what-ifs of the Belichick/Brady era, which may never be answered or could have drastically altered the team's fate.

5 of the biggest what-ifs for the Patriots during the Bill Belichick era

What if Tom Brady never left New England after the 2019 season?

One of the biggest what-ifs on any Patriots fan's mind is Tom Brady's departure and what could have happened with the team had he never left for the Bucs. Due to his age, it was apparent the quarterback's end was nearing (or so we thought), but watching him go due to drama behind the scenes was not expected by even the most cynical fan.

We know how the rest of his career went once he signed with Tampa Bay, winning another Super Bowl to becoming even more the winningest quarterback in NFL history and to some, seemingly settling the debate of who was more valuable to the dynasty; him or Bill Belichick.

But based on what is known now regarding his reason for wanting to leave the Patriots, it's difficult not to think about how his departure could have been easily avoided and all that could have resulted from him staying a few years longer, preferably finishing his career in Foxboro.

Seeing what Brady accomplished with the Bucs made it ever so clear that he was far from needing to hang it up, and if he were given a more than adequate offense, he could accomplish great things. That had become the biggest issue during the final few years of his Patriots tenure, mainly due to Belichick's reluctance to spend big money on the caliber of players the team needed to thrive and be competitive.

That's exactly what he got with the Bucs, joining a team with top receivers Chris Godwin and Mike Evans, running backs Leonard Fournette and Ronald Jones II, and fresh out-of-retirement tight end Rob Gronkowski. Eventually, Antonio Brown would also sign with the team, giving Brady the ultimate dream team to work with.

If Belichick gave him even half that roster, it might have convinced Brady to stay. Or maybe it was too far gone between the successful duo that it wouldn't matter what the roster looked like, the quarterback was leaving regardless.

But it's hard not to consider Belichick bulking up the offense around Brady to really put them over the top just two seasons removed from winning their sixth Super Bowl together.

Perhaps it could have resulted in winning number seven or, at the very least, keeping Brady a Patriot until his eventual retirement.