Sport Who was more responsible for Patriots' dynasty: Bill Belichick or Tom Brady? The debate rages on.
Patriots coach Bill Belichick backs NFL's emphasis on taunting penalties: 'I think that's poor sportsmanship'
Though many NFL fans have decried the emphasis on taunting penalties to start the 2021 NFL season, Patriots coach Bill Belichick supports it."In general, I don’t really think there’s a place for taunting in the game," Belichick said Monday morning in a radio interview on WEEI Boston. "I think that’s poor sportsmanship and it leads to other things. It leads to retaliation, and then where do you draw the line? I think the whole idea of the rule is to kind of nip it in the bud and not let it get started.
It's become the quintessential sports debate, a question that promises to fuel national talk radio shows and be bandied about in Boston-area sports bars for decades to come.
Who is more responsible for the New England Patriots' dynasty: Bill Belichick, or Tom Brady?
"I’ll start off," NBC commentator Rodney Harrison said on a teleconference this week. "I think it’s stupid, OK?"
will mark the first head-to-head matchup between the two men on the field, but the debate over their respective legacies has long since taken on a life of its own.
Alex Guerrero: Bill Belichick treated Tom Brady like a 20-year-old kid, not a 40-year-old man
Guerrero has traveled with Brady from New England to Tampa Bay. He said everything about the Buccaneers organization is perfect for the signal-caller at this point in his career. "This place, we have so much fun here. We have a great time," said Guerrero. "They're great here. Ownership is great. The coaching is great, the management is great."In New England, Belichick prevented Guerrero from entering the team facility. In Tampa Bay, Guerrero says he's been welcomed at the club's facility and that a lot of Brady's current teammates join him for additional workouts at the TB12 training facility near Raymond James Stadium.
Together, Belichick and Brady won six Super Bowl rings between 2001 and 2019. Since they split, the Patriots (1-2) have missed the playoffs, and the Buccaneers (2-1) have won a Super Bowl.
So did the coach make the quarterback, or the other way around?
Count Harrison, the ex-Patriots safety, as among those who are just sick of talking about it.
"I think it’s disrespectful," Harrison said. "Not only is it disrespectful to Tom and Bill, but it’s disrespectful to all those great players that came along that were part of those championship teams. Because, at the end of the day, it wasn’t Bill and Tom versus everybody else. It was an entire team.
Would the Patriots still have won big if Tom Brady didn’t take pay cuts?
The Tom Brady-Patriots marriage is one of the most complicated relationships in NFL history. One of the bigger fallacies surrounding the Patriots’ 20-season run with Brady, though, is the notion they needed their quarterback to consistently take pay cuts to be able to construct championship-contending teams. While Brady routinely took less money than his contemporaries — one analysis by Business Insider estimated he left $60 million-$100 million on the table — the effect it had on the Patriots’ ability to build a franchise that went 249-75 during his tenure is exaggerated. Brady’s discounts theoretically only added 1.62-2.
"Everyone wants to pit them together, put them against each other as opposed to celebrating success. ... You can give them props and call them the greatest of all time, and nobody would probably argue with that. But at the end of the day, it’s not, 'Tom's more responsible' or 'Bill's more responsible.' I just think it’s dumb."
Tedy Bruschi, another former Patriot, said that even framing the question as one person versus another indicates that outsiders "have no clue on how a football game's won."
"I understand the search for the answer to give people their satisfaction," Bruschi told The Providence Journal, which is part of the USA TODAY Network.
"Whether they're being agreed with or whether they're being disagreed with sparks the argument. So I understand all of that. But it takes a lot of people. And there's two people that know that, too – that's Tom and that’s Bill."
Bill Belichick surprises some people with comment about Tom Brady
Bill Belichick may feel he can rebuild the New England Patriots into a championship contender without Tom Brady, but that doesn’t mean the coach takes for granted everything that Brady helped him accomplish.With the New England Patriots set to host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this weekend, both Belichick and Brady have faced a barrage of questions about one another and the 20 seasons they spent together. Belichick was asked on Friday if he believes his résumé would look the same today had he not coached Brady. Some were surprised to hear him state the obvious.
Other current and former players, meanwhile, have sided with Brady.
Former Patriots running back LeGarrette Blount justified his argumentby noting that Brady is the one who actually made the plays on the field.
Asante Samuel, who played cornerback for New England,that Brady's success since leaving the Patriots has given credence to the argument that the quarterback played a more important role.
"(Belichick) hasn't showed that he is a great coach, to me, because he had the greatest player of all-time," Samuel said.
JC Tretter, the Cleveland Browns center and NFL Players Association president, said he would also go with Brady.
"Obviously they both are huge parts of it, but I think Tom's extremely special as a leader in the locker room, as somebody who brings the best out of the guys in the locker room," Tretter told The Akron Beacon Journal, which is part of the USA TODAY Network.
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"We've seen him in Super Bowls – no matter what the score is, no matter what the situation is, you feel like you've always got a chance playing with him."
Matt Cassel, who spent the first four years of his career as Brady's backup,. He said he thinks of it almost like a time-specific split – that Belichick deserves more credit for the Patriots' first three titles, while Brady played a more important role in the other three.
"If you look at the first three Super Bowls that they went out and played, they won those Super Bowls by playing great defense, they were opportunistic, they took care of the football," Cassel said on "Good Morning Football." "But then you go to the last three Super Bowls, and this is when you start to see him become the GOAT."
As one would expect, the two men at the center of the debate have shared the credit and praised one another when asked about their success.
Belichick, for instance, was asked by a reporter this week if he would've had as much success without Brady under center.
"Of course not," he replied.
Yet despite their own input, the debate rolls on – much to Harrison's chagrin.
"Nobody ever questions, 'Who’s more responsible for the Indianapolis Colts’ success: Coach (Tony) Dungy or Peyton Manning? And Peyton left, and he won another Super Bowl with a different team," Harrison said. "Like, it baffles me that people can sit back and actually say, 'Well, Tom’s more responsible or Coach is more responsible.'
When will Tom Brady retire? Here's what Buccaneers QB has said about playing until 50
Is Tom Brady going to retire soon or play until he's 50? Here's what the Buccaneers' quarterback has said about his NFL future.Not quite. Brady is still playing in the NFL seven seasons later. He is currently in the midst of his 22nd NFL season at the age of 44. That means he has spent half of his life playing in the league. And so far, he has shown no signs of slowing down.
"Coach gave Tom an opportunity to play. ... (Brady) had arguably the greatest coach of all time that believed in him, saw something that no one else saw in him. So I would just be careful with all those comparisons and 'who’s better' and this and that."
Contributing: Mark Daniels and Nate Ulrich
Contact Tom Schad at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY:
Opinion: Bill Belichick, Patriots must recalibrate to better support rookie QB Mac Jones .
The Patriots have put plenty on Mac Jones' plate in the quarterback's rookie year, but the signal-caller might need more help moving forward.For all the positives attached to the moral victory last weekend – rookie quarterback Mac Jones almost upstaged Tom Brady – came the throwback reality check: The New England Patriots rushed for minus-1 yard against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Talk about a night for records. It marked the franchise’s worst single-game output.