New England Patriots

Jan 20, 2019; Kansas City, MO: New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady celebrate the win over the Kansas City Chiefs during overtime in the AFC Championship game at Arrowhead Stadium. (Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports)

By Matt Dolloff,

The central topic of this week’s SideLines podcast with myself and Ty Anderson: the whole Tom BradyBill Belichick debate is simply getting out of hand.

Any honest person who paid attention to the Patriots from 2001-19 would acknowledge that it took the partnership of Brady and Belichick to reach the heights that they did. Brady absolutely does not win seven rings if he spends his whole career in Tampa Bay – although, he and Warren Sapp and prime Jon Gruden on the same team might’ve been somethin’. But I digress.

It’s clear, now, that Brady is the clear No. 1 reason for the Patriots’ success. Every fan should be able to admit that the quarterback is generally the most important piece to a championship operation. But now that Brady has won without Belichick and the Patriots are coming off a 7-9 season, the takes have started to spiral out of control. As is tradition in today’s internet and sports media climate.

You may have heard our own Michael Felger say multiple times this week on Felger and Mazz that the Bucs looked like the Patriots in Super Bowl LV. He’s not wrong. They played their best football at the end of the season, they had a great gameplan on both sides of the ball, they were disciplined, they minimized their own mistakes while capitalizing on the Chiefs’.

But where did that overall approach originate? Because the implication is that Brady brought all those things to New England, and not Belichick. Which is … are we really going there? Are we about to go down that road?

Oct 4, 2018; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick looks on from the sidelines during the second quarter against the Indianapolis Colts at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

The whole Bill Belichick-Tom Brady debate is getting out of hand. (Winslow Townson-USA TODAY)

Are people really going to start believing that it was Brady who taught Belichick all those Patriot-like qualities, and not the other way around? Are we supposed to believe this doughy 24-year-old sixth-round pick from Michigan waltzed into Belichick’s office with a pizza box and taught him the ways of winning in the NFL? That Brady said “Hey Bill you should change your defensive strategy based on the opponent” and Belichick said “Whoa thanks kid never thought of that”?

I don’t believe Felger in particular is saying that. He has said many times that Brady and Belichick’s combination led to the Patriots’ level of success. But it got me thinking … there are probably people out there who are ready to take it too far. I’m looking at you, Mr. Straw Man.

Brady bought into Belichick’s operation from the beginning, and happened to be a great player. That’s the main reason why the team ended up winning so much so consistently during his time in New England. He’s now brought all those winning qualities to Tampa Bay, along with his supreme talent. He instantly made them a champion.

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It’s no surprise to anyone who’s watched Brady over his career. But it’s also a credit to Belichick for teaching him a lot in the first place. It’s silly that people are starting to get that part of it backward. There are definitely people willing to go so far as to say Brady was the whole thing (Danny?). Brady wasn’t just the quarterback, he was the head coach, too. Just dumb.

Time to stop. Question Belichick’s ability to win without Brady all you want, because he still needs to prove that. But we’re now going to take away his own coaching and attribute it all to Brady? Insanity. It’s just as crazy as Matt Patricia talking like he intercepted that ball against the Seahawks. Belichick didn’t throw the ball, but he did have a hand in teaching the Patriots how to win. Don’t take that away now.

Anyway, we ranted a lot about this topic in the newest episode of the SideLines podcast, which you can listen to below. Here are the main topics:

13:39: Super Bowl LV
39:20: The Brady-Belichick debate
1:16:53: Bruins

Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Yell at him on Twitter @mattdolloff or send him a nasty email at