For years, if not decades, NFL fans debated whether Tom Brady or Bill Belichick was more more valuable to the New England Patriots.
Well, after winning Super Bowl LV on Sunday, Brady seems to have silenced that discussion.
Brady’s seventh Lombardi also reflects poorly on Belichick’s behavior leading up to Brady’s New England exit.
“It’s not like people are storming [Belichick’s] front door with pitchforks, but it has turned up the heat, no doubt,” Boston Globe senior NFL writer Ben Volin said on The DA Show. “This has been a bloodbath for him the last two weeks. As soon as Brady made the NFC Championship, even if it was Brady’s ultimate decision to leave New England, it’s because Belichick and the Patriots made it so Brady wanted to leave. They made him scratch and claw for his contract. They didn’t make Brady feel appreciated after he won them five – and then a sixth – Super Bowl.
“Even after he beat the Falcons in that incredible comeback, Belichick still wouldn’t trade away Jimmy Garoppolo until Robert Kraft basically forced him to at the trade deadline,” Volin continued. “Tom Brady said, ‘What the heck? How many Super Bowls do I have to win for you guys to get some appreciation around here?’ So yeah, the heat is on Belichick. Why couldn’t you have found a way to make the situation better for Brady and for Gronk?”
Indeed, while many fans and analysts will focus on Brady, Rob Gronkowski’s journey might say as much, or more, about Belichick and the culture he created.
“Gronk is this screaming indictment of Belichick,” Volin said. “Gronk couldn’t wait to get out of here and he retired instead of playing for $9 million. Then as soon as Brady goes to the Buccaneers, Gronk’s like, ‘Take me with you. I’ll play with you.’ And now he wants to keep playing. So this is absolutely a screaming indictment of Belichick. Does this program have to be so joyless and no days off? I think Belichick, sensing that, that’s why you heard so much positive reaction from him about Cam Newton this year, just going over the top and praising him.”
Ultimately, Belichick has still won six Super Bowls. He’s still considered by many the greatest coach in NFL history.
But with Brady winning a Super Bowl in Tampa Bay, Belichick’s legacy, at least for now, feels different.
“Look, I’m still a huge believer in Bill Belichick – and I think a lot of people in the area are,” Volin said. “But seeing Brady’s success with the Bucs, it does make you reevaluate everything that happened with the Patriots over the last 20 years. Maybe Belichick was along for the ride a little bit. I think this has really turned up the temperature on him and they can’t afford too many more 7-9 seasons. Belichick has got to prove his worth, basically, and prove that he can rebuild the Patriots into a championship contender again, and Brady winning the Super Bowl in Tampa Bay has just upped the stakes for Belichick.”