The Patriots Dynasty
The Patriots Dynasty: For almost two decades long, New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick and former star quarterback Tom Brady sat side by side on top of the Mount Rushmore of Football. During their time together, they constantly had a target on their backs and were known as the “team to beat” not only in the AFC, but in the entire NFL. After all, they reached a whopping 12 AFC championship games, made it to nine super bowls, and won six of them.
While many viewed Brady as a top tier quarterback during that time, many gave credit to the brilliance of Bill Belichick, especially on the defensive side of the ball for their success. It is hard to argue that either of them deserved more credit than the other, but this past season gave a little bit of a glimpse as to why Tom Brady still has some game left in the tank even at the age 43 despite Belechick’s doubts.
Belechick’s Long Term Plan
On the night of the 2014 NFL draft, an interesting selection was made by Bill Belichick when he selected quarterback prospect Jimmy Goroppolo with the 62nd pick out of Eastern Illinois. At the time, experts looking at the situation were not sure what to make of the selection, considering what pick the Patriots took him at. Was New England simply selecting Garoppolo as an insurance policy for Brady or were they hinting that Brady’s time in New England would be coming to an end in the near future?
After some controversy surrounding the team for the Deflategate Scandal during the 2014 AFC’s Championship game, the league decided to suspend Brady for the Patriots first four games during the 2016 season. Subsequently Belichick started Jimmy Goroppolo who made a good first impression and went 2-0 in his first two career starts.
Belichick reportedly liked the promise Goropollo showed and wanted to turn the page and made Goropollo their subsequent starter. Brady on the other hand had other ideas, as he decided to go directly to Patriots owner Robert Kraft behind Belichick’s back in order to ship the quarterback out of town. Interestingly enough Brady got his wish as the Patriots traded Garoppolo to the San Francisco 49ers for a modest 2nd pick during the 2017 season.
During that very same season, the Patriots wound up making the Super Bowl where Brady threw for over 500 yards and three touchdowns against the Philadelphia Eagles. Despite the loss, it was hard to fault Brady. The next season he even ended up winning the Super Bowl against the Rams in a low scoring slugfest.
As the 2019 season began, Tom Brady entered the year with one year left on his contract with no long term commitment from the team. The New England Patriots tumbled into the AFC postseason as a third seed, and got bounced out during wild card weekend on their home turf against the sixth seeded Tennessee Titans. The Patriots scored a minuscule 13 points and Brady’s last throw as a Patriot ended up being a pick six that sealed the deal; symbolic of the relationship between him and his coach at the time: A bitter end to an historic run.
Life Without Brady
After the season, Tom Brady decided to prove his worth by signing a deal with a talented Tampa Bay Buccaneers squad, subsequently leaving Belichick without a clear quarterback replacement. Things only got worse for the Patriots as many key contributors to their defense decided to opt out during the 2019 due to the Coronavirus Pandemic. Thus, the Patriots were not even able to make the playoffs, while the Bucs ended up winning it all in Brady’s first season.
While it is hard to compare the talent level last year between the Patriots and the Bucs, one thing is for sure; Tom Brady felt disrespected by his longtime former coach, and took it personally. Looks like Brady did have something left in the tank; something Belichick thought was not the case.
While both of them are still recognized as amongst the greatest in the world of football, only one currently has the ultimate throne. It is now up to Belichick to redeem himself, otherwise this could be proven to be one of the biggest misjudgments in the history of sports. You know what they say; Sometimes you do not appreciate something until it’s gone.