Voice Up: Brady v. Belichick

Hollis Tharpe and John Guerrera

For the first time in his career quarterback Tom Brady would not be playing as a part of the New England Patriots. His storied 20 year New England career saw Brady participate in nine Super Bowls and win six, both of which are the most of any player in NFL history. Alongside Brady, coach Bill Belichick played a fundamental role in building the Patriots “dynasty”. Involved in coaching positions since 1975, Belichick has won a total of eight Super Bowls, six with the Patriots, and two with the New York Giants. Since the duos split at the beginning of the 2020 National Football League (NFL) season, both the Patriots and Brady have significantly underperformed. This raises the question, who was the more impactful force, Brady or Belichick? Time to Voice up.


Tom Brady:

Beginning his career 19 years ago, the 199th pick of the 2000 draft has developed into one of the best quarterbacks the game of football has ever seen. In his sophomore season in the NFL Brady got his big break on October 28, 2001, when he served as substitute for then starter Drew Bledsoe. Brady’s performance in his interim period was strong enough to earn him the starting job in New England, and parlay a career which is abundant in both success and longevity.

Throughout the entirety of his career, Brady has demonstrated his ability to throw the football with accuracy and consistency. Achieving a pass completion rating of over 63 precent, Brady holds the 18 position on the all time list, ranking higher than Hall of Fame members Joe Montana, Brett Farve and Troy Aikman. Additionally, Brady ranks second all time in total passes completed. Throwing 6,700 completed passes throughout his career, Brady has clearly demonstrated his ability to get the ball into the receivers hands in a consistent manner. Arguably the most impressive statistic from Brady’s career, is his ability to complete fourth quarter comeback victories. Ranking second among the all time list, Brady is sure to surpass Peyton Manning’s benchmark of 43 by the time his career comes to a close.

When looking at the unparalleled success the Patriots have experienced throughout the past two decades, Brady can be attributed for making the largest impact. Any avid football fan can provide you with a “Brady” moment. Whether it was his first Super Bowl victory in 2007, where he made an impressive charge with 1:30 left in the fourth quarter to secure the winning field goal, or the staggering Super Bowl comeback in 2017 against the Atlanta Falcons. Brady seems to find himself in the most difficult of positions and elevate his game to the next level. It is this type of performance that can not be coached to a player. Sure, additional skill development and play-making work will help a player in the situation. However, no amount of work or coaching will allow a player to equal Brady’s performance when it matters most. Even if that coach is Belichick, Brady is a generational player that possesses an unrivaled amount of athletic talent.

Evidence of this can be found in the Patriots current situation. The quarterback position is currently occupied by Cam Newton, arguably an individual who possesses more raw athleticism than Brady. However, looking at both Newton’s individual performance and the performance of the Patriots there are significant disparities from the Brady era. Only being able to achieve a record of six wins and seven losses, Newton has thrown twice as many interceptions as he has touchdowns all under the tutelage of Belichick.

While it is a valid argument that New England no longer has the same depth in their roster as they did at the height of their power, shouldn’t Belichick’s prodigious coaching ability allow for more than the current level of success?

This is all the more reason to point to Brady as the “emperor” of the Patriots dynasty. Through both his strong statistics, unrivaled determination, and affinity for making clutch plays, Brady has cemented himself as the best quarterback of our generation and maybe the greatest of all time. Adding a player of his caliber to any roster creates a significant advantage and ability to achieve the highest level of success.


Bill Belichick:

Bill Belichick has been a coach in the NFL for 46 years. He has held a variety of positions, from tight end coach of the Detroit Lions, to his most famous role, head coach of the New England Patriots.

Belichick has coached the Patriots since 2000, tying an NFL record, winning six super bowls to date. Belichick also led the team to nine super bowl appearances, 13 American Football Conference (AFC) championship games, and 19 consecutive winning seasons.

The Patriots will be remembered as one of the greatest dynasties in sports history, thanks to Belichick’s ability to develop average, or even below average players into stars.

For example, players like Julian Edelman and Chris Hogan were converted into wide receivers from a lacrosse player and a college quarterback, both of whom played key roles in Super Bowl victories. However the most prevalent example of this ability is with the greatest quarterback of all time, Tom Brady.

Brady was selected 199th overall in the 2000 NFL draft out of the University of Michigan. Brady was a starter in his junior and senior seasons, where the Wolverines had a record of 10-3 in 1998 and a record of 10-2 in 1999.

Drew Bledsoe had cemented himself as the starter in New England when Brady was drafted, but an ACL injury led to Brady taking over the starting role. Once Brady took over, a powerhouse was born, and the Patriots were a consistent contender for both the 2000s and the 2010s. Belichick was able to use Brady’s ability to read defenses to his advantage, by surrounding him with fast receivers who were capable of running quick routes, and separating themselves from defenders. Another key piece of the dynasty was tight end Rob Gronkowski. Gronkowski is arguably the most dominant tight end of all time, and used his size and strength to rack up 7,861 yards and 81 touchdowns while in New England.

With Brady’s departure in the 2020 offseason, Belichick and the Patriots looked to start a new era, and a new dynasty without their quarterback of 20 years. Brady left for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and the Patriots signed free agent, and former Most Valuable Player Cam Newton.

While the Patriots, and Brady are both underperforming so far, the Patriots appear to have a brighter future. Although comparing a 43 year old player to an entire franchise isn’t exactly fair, Brady still intends to play a few more seasons before retiring.

Belichick also acts as the General Manager for the Patriots, and with a 6-7 record, they are slated to receive a top 15 draft pick. This upcoming draft class is quarterback heavy, with several viable options that could bring the Patriots back towards contending in the next few years.

It is also possible that Belichick may look to trade for Clemson standout Trevor Lawrence, who is considered a generational talent, and would make an immediate positive impact on the Patriots roster. Belichick’s ability to both manage a team on the field as a Coach, and off the field as a General Manager prove that he is able to develop players into stars, and elevate his team to a consistent competitor year after year.