The success of former New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady this season proves he was more valuable than Bill Belichick to the dynasty in Foxborough.
That two-decade-long stretch resulted in the team never having a losing season, winning more regular-season and postseason games than any other duo in NFL history, winning a total of 17 AFC East titles, playing in 13 AFC Championship games, and appearing in nine Super Bowls, winning six of those.
The span from 2000 to 2020 is one of the more impressive performances in league and sports history, with New England establishing a dynasty during that run with two future Hall of Fame individuals leading the charge.
Leading into the 2020 season, that era came to a screeching halt when Brady left the Patriots to join the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as a free agent in hopes of making a few more runs at a Super Bowl ring to add to his collection.
Following that departure, many questions began to emerge as to who was more important during that impressive two-decade-long run in New England — Brady or Belichick?
As the 2020 campaign continues to play out, that answer has become more clear. It was Brady, and it further proves that players are more important to team success than a coach.
Tom Brady left no doubt who was the driver of the New England Patriots dynasty.
In his first season in Tampa Bay, Tampa Tom and the Buccaneers have made their way to the Super Bowl following a win over the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship Game. Tampa Bay will be the first team in NFL history to take part in a Super Bowl at home, squaring off against the Kansas City Chiefs for the league championship on Feb. 7 in Tampa Bay.
Not only is it impressive that the Buccaneers are playing in the big game on their home field for the first time in league history, but the fact that they have overcome multiple hurdles to get to this point is nothing to overlook. Tampa Bay returned to the postseason for the first time since 2007, going on to beat teams such as the Washington Football Team, New Orleans Saints and Packers on their home fields to advance to Super Bowl LV.
The Buccaneers have been viewed as one of the more dangerous teams all season long, which is understandable given the amount of firepower and talent filling that team. On the other side of things, the 2020 campaign didn’t work out well for Brady’s former team in New England, as it has watched the entirety of the playoffs from home after failing to reach the postseason this year.
Throughout the regular season, Brady and Belichick’s teams went in different directions during the course of the year. Brady and the Buccaneers started the year off slow, only to win seven of eight games in the middle portion of the season while going on to claim an NFC Wild Card spot with a record of 11-5. Belichick and the Patriots, on the other hand, rounded out the season with a record of 7-9 overall, missing out of the playoffs for the first time since 2008.
It’s clearer now that players have and will continue to be more valuable to a team than a coach, and Brady’s success paired with Belichick’s recent struggles is the latest example of that. Yes, a coach can make the right calls during the game and put personnel in positions to help a team succeed, but it’s ultimately the player and their talent that leads to success at the end of the day.