Simply put, this hasn't been the best week for Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots. With each passing turn comes a kick in the nether regions as they get back to the drawing board after a 7-9 season. Their former quarterback Tom Brady -- the one who departed the franchise last spring -- is proving that New England was likely better served to keep the six-time Super Bowl champion, as he's about to make a bid for his seventh title in just his first season in Tampa Bay.
Not only that, but Brady's immediate success with the Bucs has armed the peanut gallery with a few extra stones to try to dent Belichick's impact on New England's dynastic run over the previous two decades, while elevating Brady to even higher heights. Look no further than Danny Amendola's comments from earlier in the week on FS1.
"When you see the 'Patriot Way' in the dictionary, it's got Tom Brady's picture next to it," he said. "None of those coaches caught any passes. None of those coaches made any tackles. They got guys in the right positions because they watched a lot of film and spent a lot of time at the facility. Tom Brady is the 'Patriot Way.' That's why he's in the Super Bowl & the Patriots aren't."
Not only was that a gut punch, but Super Bowl week started off with a blockbuster trade that saw Matthew Stafford land with the Rams. I bring that up only because the quarterback specifically pointed out the Patriots as the only club he didn't want to be traded to, serving as another hit in the onslaught Belichick and the Pats have been going through over the past few weeks.
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While this topic is already firing on all cylinders, it'll jump to a fever pitch if Brady ends up defeating the Kansas City Chiefs for his latest Super Bowl title. That type of accomplishment certainly continues to solidify Brady as the greatest player in the history of the NFL and quite possibly elevates him to the greatest athlete in North American sports history.
What a win won't immediately do, however, is prove that Brady has won the divorce between him and Belichick.
Once Brady made the decision to leave New England and head to Tampa Bay, it was pretty clear by looking at both rosters that the quarterback was going to come out of the gate hot while Belichick would need to perform miracles to get his club -- ravished by opt-outs and free agent departures -- wins. That proved true once the 2020 season kicked off.
As Brady was playing with all the weapons he could ever dream of and now one win away from his seventh title, Belichick's Patriots were drastically undermanned and the talent level across the depth chart was subpar. With that in mind, it's no surprise to anyone paying attention that Brady has gained an early lead in the split. However, Belichick gets more than one season to fix his roster.
The answer to who enjoyed more success after the separation won't truly be answered until four or five years from now.
With the Patriots owning tremendous cap space (fourth-most in the league this offseason) and a large amount of draft capital (including No. 15 overall), there's a path to a quick rebuild and an opportunity for Belichick to narrow Brady's lead.
Let me pose this hypothetical -- but potentially realistic -- scenario: What happens if Belichick trades for Jimmy Garoppolo this offseason? If the head coach is able to reacquire the quarterback he originally tapped to be Brady's heir apparent and turns New England back into a year-in, year-out playoff team, doesn't that tremendously help him fix the dents that are being placed on his standing in the league? Not only would the Patriots get back to their winning ways, but Belichick would have proved that he had the proper transition in place but Brady defeating Father Time simply crashed the party. Again, that's just one scenario, but one that could very well play out this offseason that gets this race back to even or close to it.
No matter if he wins the Super Bowl or not, there's no debating that Brady is currently enjoying a strong lead and has himself in a great post-Patriots situation with the Bucs. But let's not be too quick to pull the trigger on hot takes that he's gotten the better of Belichick. The jury is still out on that.