In case you haven’t heard, Tom Brady is out for the rest of the 2008 season. But if you own a TV, a computer, receive a newspaper, or have left your house since Sunday morning, you probably are aware of this.
Now everywhere you turn not only is the world talking about the QB who will not play in a meaningful game until Week 1 of 2009, but there is also all this talk of Bill Belichick and how no Belichick team will go down without a fight, and how Matt Cassel will be fine because Bill Belichick is his coach.
For a long time I said that Brady was a product of the team around him and that his great offensive line allowed him to be as good as he was because of the time he had in the pocket to search the field for an open receiver. Obviously this is true to some degree, but you can’t deny what Brady has accomplished over his career, even if his magical 2007 season had a lot to do with having the top receiver in the NFL running routes for him.
But I finally came to my senses and realized that Tom Brady is worth the hype and was a diamond in the rough of a find for Bill Belichick back in 2001. But had Drew Bledsoe never gotten hurt in that 2001 season, many wonder where Tom Brady would be right now. Me? I wonder where Bill Belichick would be.
Before coming to New England, Belichick coached the Cleveland Browns from 1991-1995 and in five years there he had one winning season (1994). And the only time he made the postseason was in ’94 where he led the Browns to a wild card win before a divisional defeat. After Belichick’s time in Cleveland and a 36-44 (.450) record, the Browns were deactivated for three seasons as a NFL team.
After returning to work under Bill Parcells with the New England Patriots, Belichick served as an assistant with the Patriots in 1996 and then with Parcells and the New York Jets from 1997-1999.
The Patriots hired Belichick to be their head coach in 2000 and in his first season with the Patriots, the team finished 5-11 and obviously did not make the playoffs. Then in the 2001 season, New England started the season 0-2 before Bledsoe got hurt and Tom Brady was called upon to start in Week 3. The Patriots went 11-3 the rest of the way under Brady and won the Super Bowl that season.
Bill Belichick has been a head coach in the NFL for 14 seasons (1991-1995 and 2000-2008). In the time he has a record of 128-81 (.612) and is 15-4 (.789) in the playoffs with three Super Bowl rings.
However, without Tom Brady as Bill’s starting QB, Mr. Belichick’s numbers don’t look so great. Because without Tom Brady in the starting lineup, Bill has a 41-57 (.418) record, one postseason victory, and zero championships.
Some simple math tells us that with Brady as the starter Belichick looks almost immortal, like some sort of genius, or a coaching legend. An incredible 87-24 (.784) record with a 14-3 (.823) postseason mark and three Super Bowl wins is what Bill Belichick has done with Tom Brady as his leader. Quite the difference from what he has accomplished (or not accomplished) without Tom Brady taking snaps.
Bill Belichick is not the best coach in the league, nor has he ever been since he took the head coaching job in Cleveland back in ’91 before he continued to disappoint NFL fans in the state of Ohio.
This is clear cut evidence of the track record and resume of the “great” Bill Belichick and his career as a head coach. Sure, you can blame the poor seasons in Cleveland on the team he was given, but it’s strange that the same team that Drew Bledsoe was leading to another losing season in Foxboro was easily turned around by Tom Brady. Not Bill Belichick.
On Sunday when Tom Brady went down, the crowd at Gillette Stadium was devastated as were many households throughout New England. But when the Kansas City Chiefs, a rebuilding team with no hopes of playoff football, were still hanging around late in the fourth quarter it was just further evidence that the Patriots would crumble without their golden boy.
And once the Chiefs had four chances to get in the end zone to tie the game and send it to OT and stun a nation that predicted the Patriots to win Super Bowl XLIII, you could begin to see the fear in Bill Belichick, which was being hidden by another disgusting display of clothes from the coach who looked like he pulled his shirt from the the blade of a lawnmower.
But the Chiefs let the Patriots off the hook in a game where they very much had a chance to win and if not at least bring the game to OT and let Stephen Gostowski, the kicker who Belichick had no faith in the Super Bowl, try to get the W for the Pats. Instead, Herm Edwards team took the loss and still brought hope to the Patriots on a day where their entire franchise left the field with a torn ACL.
The New England Patriots were with 16-0 in 2007 with Tom Brady as their QB. With Matt Cassel playing three and a half quarters in a “real” football game for the Patriots, they were almost beat by a team that ESPN ranked 31st of 32 teams pre-season and a team that Sports Illustrated ranked 30th.
In those same polls, the Patriots were ranked 1st overall. But in those same polls, no one thought that the real Bill Belichick would have to make an appearance in 2008.