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Patsgofor4

In the Starting Line-Up
20 years later, remembering Bill Belichick’s grueling first season with Patriots

I originally typed "morons" instead of "crowd" but changed it, to appease the "that's uncalled for" snowflakes here. This is a great article by Howe, with honest insights from players, coaches and front office staff who don't have an ax to grind about Belichick and who recognize his brilliance, because they saw it firsthand. There is no doubt that Brady brought Belichick's program to a level that would not have been possible without him but the larger point remains....IT'S THE SYSTEM, STUPID(S).

I have read many times here that BB didn't start winning here until Brady took the field, using the team's 5-11 record during his first season as head coach as evidence that Brady was the real driving force behind the dynasty. That argument has been, and always will be, complete horsesh*t spewed by those whose every post is colored by an irrational distain for Belichick and/or the ridiculous notion that labeling the Belichick as the key to the dynasty is intended to belittle Brady and downplay his greatness (leading to the aggressive and largely unnecessary wagon circling around Tommy).
Here are a couple of very important realities about that 5-11 season (from the article):

Belichick had hurdles to overcome. He inherited a roster that was $10.5 million over the salary cap with just 42 players under contract. So they had to release some fan favorites, including tight end Ben Coates, and restructure other contracts to push cap hits into future seasons. The Patriots initially cut the roster to 39 players before the draft and free agency and then signed nearly 30 undrafted rookie free agents to fill out the roster on a budget. There was a firm plan in place to remain financially responsible for at least a couple years to eventually escape from their cap nightmare.


The Patriots lost their first four games and were 2-8 in mid-November. Combined with their 2-6 finish in 1999, they had won four times over a 16-game stretch. But in 2000, seven of their first eight losses were one-possession games. (Of their 11 losses in 2000, only two came against teams with losing records, so the Patriots also had a fierce schedule.)

They were largely irritated by the losing, but the team also recognized something bigger was at stake.


Finally, I love this:

The Patriots won three of their final six games. Even though they weren’t ever in the playoff race, they felt vindicated for all the work they invested in the turnaround. There was even a rallying call during a stretch when the Patriots only carried 51 players on the active roster, partly due to personnel decisions as well as salary cup struggles.

Pioli: There was a point in time, I remember Bill and I having a conversation, we felt there was something symbolic when we dropped down to 51 players. What Bill was telling the players was, “Listen, we want people who are going to be here to want to be here, and who want to do things to win the way we want to win. If those people don’t want to be here, that doesn’t mean they’re bad people or bad players. That’s just not what we’re looking for. That doesn’t mean that we’re right. It’s just the way we’re going to do it.” So when we had 51 players, people were like, “Why don’t they have 53 players on their roster?” Part of the narrative internally was we don’t know of 53 people right now who want to be Patriots.

That is some beautiful Gene Hackman "My team is on the court" sh*t right there.

Here endith the lesson.
 

sb1

Pro Bowl Player
I've said it before - the "5-11" record in 2000 was deceiving for that very reason even though the anti-Belichick folks like to talk about it a lot. If Pete had stayed it would have been no better, the team was ready to bottom out after declining since the SB appearance.

The Patriots weren't competitive against the Lions on Thanksgiving but against a very tough schedule they were very competitive in every other one of their games IIRC. That's coaching.
 
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Triumph

Hall of Fame Poster
The Super Bowls don't happen without Brady.

Same with Favre, Montana, Elway, Kelly, Bradshaw, Aikman, the Mannings. Whats happened is that NE fans have been living in a drunken stupor of always winning. 12 wins last season with a pile of horse$hit for a roster on offense.

I remember the Bledsoe years and his erratic play all so well. The main topic on Pats messageboards back in those days was getting rid of Bledsoe or keeping him.

Reality is about to pay Pats nation a visit.
 

sb1

Pro Bowl Player
The Super Bowls don't happen without Brady.

Same with Favre, Montana, Elway, Kelly, Bradshaw, Aikman, the Mannings. Whats happened is that NE fans have been living in a drunken stupor of always winning. 12 wins last season with a pile of horse$hit for a roster on offense.

I remember the Bledsoe years and his erratic play all so well. The main topic on Pats messageboards back in those days was getting rid of Bledsoe or keeping him.

Reality is about to pay Pats nation a visit.

6 wouldn’t happen but I think Belichick could win at least one with another good QB.
 

upstater1

Pro Bowl Player
I read the first post and wondered who really is the snowflake?

For one, I've never seen a post that said Brady made Belichick.
For two, the idea that there's a magical system here that is unreproduceable elsewhere is more than just a little magical thinking. So if it's the system, how come no one else has tried it elsewhere and had success with it?
 

sb1

Pro Bowl Player
So your ultimate conclusion is Belichick would have five less Super Bowls without Brady, maybe four less.

Dunno how many but I’m sure he could have won at least one without him. Same coach that is 14-6 without Brady in the last 15 years...
 

Triumph

Hall of Fame Poster
6 wouldn’t happen but I think Belichick could win at least one with another good QB.
Who would that QB be?

The best BB Pats draft pick of Brady was due to dumb luck. Cassel had his limits. Jimmy Baby is a fraud and choker. Klingsbury, Davey, Brisket, Mallet.

BB is not a great drafter. Look at his Cleveland drafts. I would trust the Candy Man's mock draft first.
 

sb1

Pro Bowl Player
Who would that QB be?

The best BB Pats draft pick of Brady was due to dumb luck. Cassel had his limits. Jimmy Baby is a fraud and choker. Klingsbury, Davey, Brisket, Mallet.

BB is not a great drafter. Look at his Cleveland drafts. I would trust the Candy Man's mock draft first.

That’s an odd thing to call a QB that took his team to a SB less than a year ago.

14-6 without Brady in the last 15 years.
 

upstater1

Pro Bowl Player
That’s an odd thing to call a QB that took his team to a SB less than a year ago.

14-6 without Brady in the last 15 years.

Do you really think this tells us much? Most of that entire record came in the Cassel year when the team was loaded (19-1) the year before. The rest of it was a couple years ago and it really didn't tell us much at all. As well as Brisset played in that win of his, we were also shut out by the Bills the very next week.

If you ask me, the 14-6 is really a record of mediocrity if extended over time the same way that last year was a mirage (with a great record).
 

TommyBrady12

Hall of Fame Poster
2020 Weekly NFL Picks Winner
You're in a for a shock.

If the Chiefs-Texans game is any indication of what the first month of the season will be like for teams, I think the Tampa offense will struggle with chemistry issues early on. The Texans added David Johnson and Brandin Cooks and lost DeAndre Hopkins, and last night showed they need more time to get on the same page. I'd be shocked if Tampa plays as well on offense this Sunday as the Chiefs did last night.
 
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