When a franchise like the New England Patriots has been as successful as it has been, it’s not just one person that makes it happen.
Obviously it starts with the owner, Robert Kraft and all the way down of course to head Coach Bill Belichick, who will easily go down as one of the best NFL coaches of all time.
Ultimately, it’s the players on the field that make the difference, especially the quarterback.
You don’t win in the National Football League if you don’t have a good quarterback.
And boy do the Patriots have a good one.
A monumental one actually, and one that’s now in the discussion as maybe the best ever.
That guys’ name is Tom Brady.
In his latest Super Bowl performance, Brady, like he has his whole career, broke many records.
Finishing 37 of 50 for 328 yards with four touchdowns and two interceptions.
The 37 completions were a Super Bowl record, along with becoming the career record holder for Super Bowl touchdown passes.
The guy who previously held that mark was Brady’s childhood hero, Joe Montana.
Brady also joined Montana as the only player with three Super Bowl MVPs, and each player also has four rings.
Looking back on each Super Bowl victory, Brady led the game winning drive in three of them.
This time around, he led his team all the way back down ten, becoming the third team in Super Bowl history to come back and win down ten points or more.
Let’s also not forget what he does during the regular season.
During Super Bowl Media Day, Belichick commented that every week, he and the coaching staff have to be even more prepared about each opponent for Brady, who would be asking a ton of questions and have his own game plan in mind.
Looking at him statistically, Brady has thrown for over 53,000 yards and a 63-completion percentage, and 392 touchdown passes.
He has been so sensational that New England has only missed the playoffs once under Brady, that season coming in 2008, when Brady tore his ACL in the first game of the season.
The Patriots still went 11-5 that year. That also includes 14 division titles.
Brady is the reason the Patriots have made it to six Super Bowls and eight AFC Championship games in the past decade.
This is a quarterback who prepares as hard as ever, is smart, and who is so clutch.
Anytime the Patriots are trailing, no one can ever count them out, because Tom is clearly “Terrific.”
There’s truly no other NFL quarterback who knows how to win and who performs under pressure better than Brady.
That’s why the New England Patriots have been one of the most successful professional sports franchises in the last decade and a half.
Greg Garber of ESPN put it perfectly.
“In a sense, it’s an unknowable, unquantifiable question, a task like trying to split the atom or discover the culture that created those statues on Easter Island. The chicken or the egg — which came first? Which child is your favorite? Ugh.”
Honestly Matt and I flipped a coin because even we couldn’t take a definitive side, but I feel quite certain in my decree that Bill Belichick made Tom Brady.
My argument is that one guy can’t win in this league.
Let’s start from the beginning.
Belichick’s first three seasons as an NFL head coach with the Cleveland Browns did not go smoothly, nor did his first season with the New England Patriots in 2000.
But what new NFL coach hasn’t gone through growing pains?
Brady was a sixth round pick.
Belichick developed Brady into the Hall of Fame quarterback that he is.
Brady has been on record before saying that Belichick enormously helped enhance his understanding of situational defenses and blitz protections (USA Today, Jan 31 2015).
On top of all this, Brady wasn’t even suppose to start, let alone play in the NFL if it wasn’t for the concussion the Patriots $100-million starting quarterback Drew Bledsoe in 2001 that forced Brady into a starting role a la Wally Pipp and Lou Gehrig.
For those of you who don’t know, Pipp was an MLB All-Star, got injured, then Gehrig played in the next 2,130 straight games.
Belichick is a mastermind football coach. His defensive schemes are unparalleled and his offensive play-calling has evolved and changed as the league has. He’s the best in the business in regard to making personnel decisions and has developed late round draft guys into legitimate NFL players and contributors.
Belichick coaches the team.
He runs the draft. Lots of guys have left his coaching staff and players have come and gone and the Patriots still keep on winning.
Five of Belichick’s former assistants have gone to have successful coaching careers of their own (Crennel, Mangini, McDaniels, Saban, O’Brien).
Here’s a prime example to my argument of “one guy can’t win in this league.
Brady tore his ACL and missed the entire 2008 season.
Matt Cassel stepped in and under Belichick, Cassel led the Patriots to an 11-5 season.
Since Cassel left New England for Kansas City in 2009, he has never been able to perform at the same level as he did under Belichick. Case in point, it is Belichick running the show.
I’m not saying if Brady was on another team he would be horrible, however, his production and most definitely his Super Bowl rings would not be the same.
Belichick’s incredible coaching ability have afforded Brady the opportunity to become a Hall of Fame caliber quarterback.
And that is why Belichick deserves more credit than Brady for the success the Patriots have had over the past 12 years.