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Was it Belichick’s coaching skill, or Tom Brady?

Bruce Penton looks at what's next for Bill Belichick
bruce penton sports

Generally regarded around the National Football League as one of the — if not THE — greatest ever coach ever, Bill Belichick today stands outside with his faced pressed against the window and waits for another coaching opportunity.

While he’s only 27 wins away from becoming the NFL’s all-time winningest coach, Belichick is finding out the hard way that team owners and general managers are more interested in future success than past accomplishments.’

The question is: Was Belichick’s overwhelming success in New England, where he racked up 266 wins in 24 years, due to superior coaching skill or was it because he had the NFL’s greatest quarterback ever, Tom Brady, at the helm of his offence? It’s a legitimate question, because from 2001 to 2019, Brady guided the Patriots to nine Super Bowl appearances, winning six. Belichick’s Patriots posted a 5-11 record in 2000, the year before Brady took over as quarterback and then racked up 19 consecutive winning seasons with Brady at QB. After his star quarterback quit the Patriots and signed with Tampa Bay — where he won his seventh Super Bowl in his first year — Belichick’s Patriots had losing seasons in three of four years. The stats are stark: With Brady, Belichick has a head-coaching record of 232-72. In the four post-Brady seasons, his coaching record is a miserable 29-39.

With eight coaching vacancies needing to be filled in this off-season, only one team took the time to interview Belichick, and that was Atlanta Falcons, who eventually hired Raheem Morris. So are NFL teams wary of Belichick's talent as a coach, given his mediocre record without Brady? Are they concerned that at age 7, that the game has passed him by? Is his poor draft record a factor? Do they think Belichick’s interest in coaching is solely for the opportunity to surpass Don Shula as the coach with the most wins in NFL history?

The NFL rumour mill said if a coaching job is not in Belichick’s future, then he might be able to land a broadcasting position, which might seem strange given his monosyllabic and unenthusiastic tone of voice in post-game interviews. Columnist Peter King of NBC Sports said Belichick almost certainly has to give his image a makeover if he wishes to coach again. “America, and NFL owners, know him as dour, sour and imperious," wrote King. “Not great traits in modern-day coaching, particularly with a 29-39 record in his last four seasons.” King also said Belichick’s reluctance to embrace analytics might work against him finding a new job too, since so many teams use analytics as a major tool in their operations.

All good things must come to an end. Sandy Koufax's left arm failed him and he retired early. Bobby Orr's knee gave out and he had to quit hockey at age 30. Belichick had the misfortune to be unable to clone Tom Brady and he’s unemployed.

  • Mike Bianchi of the Orlando Sentinel: “If NFL teams won’t hire 71-year-old Bill Belichick because he’s too old, then maybe he should run for president. Compared to Donald Trump and Joe Biden, Belichick is Justin Bieber.”
  • Janice Hough of leftcoastsportsbabe.vom: “So now that SI has fired all their staff, are they going to use AI to computer generate swimsuit models?”
  • Peter King in his Football Morning in America column on “Aaron Rodgers got a hole-in-one in his first round of golf since Achilles surgery? Next thing you’ll tell me is Dr. Fauci caddied for him.”
  • Super 70s Sports: “One of the absolute best baseball stats is that father and son Cecil Fielder and Prince Fielder are tied on the all-time home run list with 319 dingers apiece.”
  • RJ Currie of “Boston signed free agent defenceman Kevin Shattenkirk to a one-year, $1.05 million contract in July. It’s nice to see the Bruins adding some depth for their eventual playoff collapse.”
  • Headline at “Frail, Emaciated MLB Players Still A Few Weeks Away From Regaining Strength To Lift Single Baseball”
  • Scott Ostler of the San Francisco Chronicle: “Why do the TV people keep going away from Taylor Swift to show us shots of her boyfriend?”
  • Late night funnyman Jimmy Fallon, on the cost of tickets to the Super Bowl: “Ten grand’s a lot for a football game, but it’s dirt cheap to see Taylor Swift live, I will say that.” 
  • Greg Cote of the Miami Herald: “Chiefs-49ers is OK. But Detroit in it is the Super Bowl America wanted, the one that got away.”
  • Scott Ostler again, on Taylor Swift flying directly from her concert in Tokyo Feb. 10 to get to Vegas in time for the Feb. 11 Super Bowl: “But if she has a middle seat on that flight, she'll be fried when she arrives.”
  • Another one from Ostler: “Whose fault is it that the Ravens don't have any cool girlfriends?”
  • RJ Currie of “At the Manitoba Scotties, Team Kaitlyn Lawes won the women's curling title. A lot of good Manitoba ladies fought the Lawes, and the Lawes won.”                                                                          

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The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the position of this publication. 







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