Let’s face it: Players are more important than coaches. Don’t get me wrong; coaches are a nice side piece, but they aren’t the ones who spend hours upon hours training to get in shape. Simply put, players have the onus of executing on the field.
In football, the quarterback is the most important player. The game revolves around that position, so the credit for a team’s success should go to the quarterback, not the coach. Therefore, Tom Brady, not head coach Bill Belichick, deserves most of the credit for the New England Patriots’ 20-year dynasty.
Generally speaking, Belichick is credited for the consistently solid defense he builds in New England. However, I would argue that good defense cannot simply exist on its own. The quarterback must lead his offense to aid the defense, and Brady has led his offense consistently.
The Patriots have had a top five offense in points per game 11 times in the 20 years Brady was the starting quarterback. In the other nine years where the Patriots were not top five in points, they had missed the playoffs twice, were bounced in the first round twice and won two Super Bowls. In the years Brady’s offense was ranked in the top five, the Patriots won four Super Bowls, made it there a total of seven times, not once had a first round exit in the playoffs and never missed the playoffs.
In fact, in Brady’s first Super Bowl run, he did not start until the second game of the season. So, I took the liberty of calculating the average of Brady’s offense in that first run, which was in 2001, when he was the starting quarterback, and the offense would’ve ranked fourth in points per game.
In summation, when the Patriots’ offense was great, they won four of their six Super Bowls. When the Patriots’ offense was not great, they missed the playoffs and only won two of their Super Bowls. It simply did not matter whether Belichick had a great defense or a bad defense when it came to bringing the Patriots to the football promised land.
There were years where the Patriots’ defense was barely above average yet still managed to hoist the Lombardi trophy by February. There were years where the defense was great, and the Patriots won Super Bowls. There’s no causation. It was Brady who determined New England’s success.
I almost forgot to mention that Brady did leave the Pats last year. He’s now leading the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Belichick went and got former MVP Cam Newton as his new quarterback in New England. Brady’s new team is now 7-3 and arguably a Super Bowl contender while facing bonafide talent in the National Football Conference South. So far, Belichick’s team is 4-5 and can barely keep up in a historically weak division that includes the 0-8 Jets.
With that, it looks like Brady was responsible for the Patriots’ offensive success and for most of Belichick’s success as well.