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Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots have struggled without Tom Brady. Since Brady bolted New England for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers before the 2020 season, the Patriots haven’t been able to find security at the quarterback position.

They replaced Brady with veteran and former MVP Cam Newton, but that didn’t quite work out. New England then selected quarterback Mac Jones in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft. That hasn’t quite panned out as expected. In three seasons without Brady, the Patriots are 25-25. Widely considered the greatest coach in NFL history, Belichick is 79-87 in his career without Brady under center.

Tom Brady made his legacy in the playoffs with the New England Patriots

Brady made his legacy in New England. Six of his seven Super Bowl rings came with the Patriots. Sure, he got one with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but the recently retired QB will always be remembered as a Patriot because of what he did in the postseason.

Brady and Belichick were unstoppable. There has never been a coach/quarterback combo like theirs, and there may never be one like it again. Even Bill Walsh and Joe Montana or Vince Lombardi and Bart Starr pale in comparison. Walsh and Montana won three championships together with the San Francisco 49ers. Lombardi and Starr won five in Green Bay.

It’s not just the Super Bowl wins, though they are the most important when it comes to examining a legacy. It’s the fact that once the Patriots made the playoffs, Brady seemingly took it to a different level.

He started 41 playoff games for the Patriots over 17 seasons, going 30-11 with an incredible nine Super Bowl appearances. He threw for 73 touchdowns in the playoffs for New England and 11,388 yards.

Just including his time with the Patriots, he holds Super Bowl records for total touchdown passes (18), passing yards (2,838), and Super Bowl MVPs (four). Those numbers only improve if you include the championship he won with the Buccaneers.

Nobody is better than Brady in the playoffs, but he developed that reputation with the Patriots.

When was the last time the Patriots played a playoff game without Brady?

Despite going .500 in the last three seasons without Brady as the quarterback, the Patriots managed to sneak in a playoff appearance, although it wasn’t pretty. As a rookie in 2021, Jones helped guide the Pats to a 10-7 mark that earned them a postseason date with the Buffalo Bills. New England made the trek to Buffalo, only to return with an embarrassing 47-17 loss.

Before that, you’d have to go back to Jan. 3, 1999, to find a playoff game in which Brady wasn’t a part of for New England. That was a Wild Card game that saw the Patriots lose 25-10 to the Jacksonville Jaguars.

It’s been a tough go for the Pats without Brady. After a promising rookie season from Jones, He injured his ankle in a Week 3 loss to the Baltimore Ravens. Rookie Bailey Zappe replaced him and more than held his own, creating a quarterback buzz in Foxborough.

After some controversy, Jones returned as the team’s starter but went 6-8 in his 14 starts as the Patriots finished the season 8-9. They missed the playoffs for the second time in three years.


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