Are We Watching Bill Belichick’s Legacy Crumble Right Before Our Eyes?

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New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick stands on the sideline.

The New England Patriots are in serious danger of missing the postseason for the third time in four years. It’s only Week 5 of the NFL season, but there isn’t enough evidence out there that shows the Pats are a good football team. Bill Belichick, widely considered by many as the greatest ever to coach in the NFL, hasn’t been able to figure out how to consistently put a winning product on the field in the post-Tom Brady era.

Ask most NFL fans five years ago where they’d rank Belichick on the all-time list of greatest coaches, and they’d have put him at No. 1. Based on his career without TB12 under center, he’s no longer the top dog.

Is Bill Belichick overrated?

Bill Belichick had one of the greatest runs any NFL coach has ever had. A six-time Super Bowl champion and three-time AP Coach of the Year, Belichick skippered a Patriots dynasty that spanned 17 years. He was considered by many (mostly Patriots fans) as the “genius” behind New England’s success.

Enter Tom Brady.

It’s no coincidence that the Patriots took off as soon as Brady became the team’s full-time starting quarterback in 2001. After New York Jets linebacker Mo Lewis delivered a blow to Drew Bledsoe during Week 2 of the 2001 season, Brady took over. The rest is history.

In the previous year, New England went 5-11 with Bledsoe at the helm. He went 0-2 in 2001 before his injury. Brady went 11-3 in his 14 starts in 2011 and led New England to a shocking upset of the St. Louis Rams in Super Bowl 36.

Brady won six Super Bowl titles in New England. When he left via free agency in 2020, he guided the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to another championship. Meanwhile, Belichick and the Patriots finished with a 7-9 record in their first season without Brady and missed the playoffs.

Are we watching Belichick’s legacy crumble?

The biggest question during New England’s run was whether Belichick or Brady was more responsible for the team’s success. That has definitively been answered.

Without Brady, Belichick has a sub-.500 record at 80-90. In the last three-plus years, the Patriots have put fear into nobody. Belichick is proving that a team will only go as far as its quarterback will take it.

Belichick has been called the greatest. Is he even great? The numbers don’t lie. Without the greatest quarterback to ever play in the NFL, Belichick is 10 games below .500.

He began his head-coaching career with the Cleveland Browns. He had one winning year in five seasons, going 36-44 in that span. In his first season in New England, he went 5-11 before Brady came along.

It’s clear Belichick’s success was intertwined with Brady. They were one heck of a combo, but that combo wasn’t 50/50. It’s evident Brady had much more to do with New England’s Super Bowl success than the coach.

Since Brady left for the Bucs, Belichick has zero playoff wins. He’s coached one playoff game since 2020 and lost 47-17. What makes a great coach? Success. Without Brady to fall back on, Belichick has had very little success.

Belichick got plenty of credit during the glory years in New England, but it appears he’s not quite as good as the resume says.