Whenever the topic of “The Chicken or the Egg” comes up, it’s safe to say that if you really get into it, you can spin your wheels for literally hours trying to make cases for both sides.
At the end of the day, you’re still dealing with an unknown. You can argue both ways until you’re blue in the face, but you’re still stuck accepting that it could go either way and you’ll never really know the true answer.
Here in New England, a similar topic has more or less reached the same result. Given the divorce of Tom Brady and Bill Belichick last offseason, a similar discussion started. Of course, it’s a similar circular subject that is just impossible to answer.
Tom Brady winning a Lombardi trophy two weeks ago started the, “Who was more important to New England’s success?” argument. On the surface, the answer seems easy enough, especially with Brady adding yet another championship to his Hall of Fame resume. The veteran QB winning a title would make you believe it was Brady who was more important.
But, at the same time, you have to look at the big picture. Anyone who followed the postseason is probably aware of the multitude of bad coaching decisions and quarterbacks who couldn’t make big plays when it mattered most, which cost quite a few teams a trip to Tampa.
There were untimely turnovers. There was bad clock management. There were players who couldn’t make the necessary throws in key moments. All of those factors become magnified in January when, unlike during the regular season, the margin for error is so much smaller.
Here in New England, that used to not be a problem we ever had to deal with. We didn’t worry about Brady turning the ball over with the game on the line. We didn’t worry about Belichick mismanaging the clock down the stretch. The two together were a perfect pair and when you’ve got two guys who are that good, that’s how you dominate the NFL for as long as they did.
Granted, you can have a great QB and a decent coach and win. Just like you can have a great coach and a decent QB and win. It’s happened quite a bit over the years. You can go back and look at all the other NFL teams who have won and none of the coach/QB tandems are anywhere close to the level of who Belichick and Brady were together.
The end result? It’s typically a different set of names each year and very rarely do they ever come close to getting back on top of the toughest mountain to climb in the NFL.
That’s essentially what makes it so special. These guys dominated a league for two decades. That’s unprecedented and it’s historic. You’ll never see it again in your lifetime. Your kids probably won’t either. Neither will their kids.
And let’s be honest. When it comes to a quarterback changing teams and winning a championship, that’s much easier to do than for a Hall of Fame coach to rebuild a franchise back into a contender. It takes a little bit of trial and error and it also takes time and a little bit of luck. So it’s not exactly a fair comparison. Either way, the 2020 postseason should have been a big reminder how important both coaches and quarterbacks are when it comes to winning, and it generally takes two pretty good ones to become a champion.
Brady has credited a lot of his success, and rightfully so, to his time with Belichick. Like plenty of other players, it’s a coach like Belichick who taught Brady what it took to be a winner. Let’s face it, that sounds easy on paper but plenty of guys have come through New England over the last 20+ years. Only a few of them were able to understand and do what that statement really required.
At the same time, Belichick is likely fully-aware that it also takes having a player like Brady who could thrive in key moments as the reason he won six championships in New England. This past season was a key example. Cam Newton talked each week about what needed to be done. Actually going out and doing it was another story.
Dynasties are never built without a great coach and they’re never built without a great quarterback. With both, you can be consistently great.
That’s the reason this team dominated for two decades. In the end, while they were better together, it doesn’t change the fact that it took both of them to make the Patriots a team who we’ll look back on decades from now as the benchmark that no one else, including likely themselves, will ever reach again.
Posted Under: Patriots Commentary
Tags: Bill Belichick Cam Newton New England Patriots Tampa Bay Buccaneers Tom Brady