Tom Brady ends the Patriots debate in opposition to Invoice Belichick with Buccaneers’ Tremendous Bowl 55 run

Since Tom Brady decided to quit the Patriots for the Buccaneers after winning six Super Bowls in 20 NFL seasons, the debate has been endless. Who was more important to the New England dynasty, the definitive GOAT quarterback or the possible GOAT coach Bill Belichick?

There’s no reason to wait until after the Super Bowl 55 result against the Chiefs to respond. Brady put the tired argument to bed with the Bucs before kick-off on Sunday with a dream season while the Patriots disappeared into the night.

Experts and patriots, past and present, have expressed all sorts of opinions about the nature of Brady and Belichick’s relationship after their hard breakup. Regardless of their true feelings for one another, they are fiery veteran competitors looking to achieve high levels of success.

Brady joined a 7-9 Buccaneers team and helped turn it into an 11-5 NFC wildcard squad. In Belichick without Brady, a 12-4 Patriots team fell to a 7-9 AFC East third place. Tampa Bay had other talent spurts that resulted in an improvement in the Super Bowl level. New England had other outflows ending its division title reign. But the bottom line is Brady’s game raised a team a lot more than Belichick’s coaching in 2020.

MORE: Why did Tom Brady leave the Patriots?

Belichick is the plotter and schemer in New England as well as the leader. But there’s no way the Patriots could become a two-decade dynasty without Brady and someone else at quarterback. Belichick made the first defensive thinking lift to bring her to a championship level. But after Brady quickly became an elite passer-by of all time, the Patriots were able to operate knowing he was giving them a huge profit every season.

The Patriots could hook anyone into the skill positions, and because of Brady, the offense would still produce. Also because of Brady, Belichick’s defense was less stressful and could be a more versatile, complementary unit.

After Super Bowl 36, when it was the Patriots defense that upset the Rams, Brady was the main reason the Patriots added five more rings in eight more chances. Every bit of Brady’s excellence was in demand with those narrow wins, whether it was a back and forth shootout or a fourth quarter comeback. Belichick and his staff brought the strong fixtures with them, but none of them would have worked if Brady hadn’t been the main executor.

If Brady and Belichick had stayed together, the answer to who was more important to the Patriots’ success might have remained murky. But it shouldn’t be.

IYER: Tom Brady who brings Buccaneers to Super Bowl 55 is better than all of his Patriots playoff runs

As great as Phil Jackson was in Chicago, six rings don’t happen without Michael Jordan. Glen Sather needed Wayne Gretzky in Edmonton. Bill Walsh needed Joe Montana in San Francisco. Andy Reid was a great coach in the NFL for a long time, but he didn’t become the Super Bowl champion without Patrick Mahomes in Kansas City.

Another great athlete of all time in modern times, LeBron James didn’t have to worry about that debate when he won championships with Erik Spoelstra, Tyronn Lue and Frank Vogel. Everyone knows he’s the common dominant denominator.

The NBA and NHL have been havens of individual excellence, which translates into ultimate team success as the smaller squad nature of their sports is designed to make one player make a difference in the championship. The NFL is, by definition, a more collective team effort, but that’s changing as the most important position in the game has never been more important in a high-scoring, passing era.

During the Patriots’ run, the feeling that “defense wins championships” has gradually waned in the NFL. Without elite quarterbacks it becomes increasingly difficult to win. That is why everyone is always trying to upgrade until they find a transcendent talent. Brady raised the standard and Mahomes raised the bar even higher.

MORE: Tom Brady compared to other athletes after age 40

At a time when young guns keep popping up, Brady is the last old man to duel Mahomes with another ring on the line. In one season in the NFC, he took his team further than three other Super Bowl Hall of Famers winners – Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, and Russell Wilson.

Belichick tried to replace Brady with Cam Newton. Everyone jumped up to believe Belichick and Josh McDaniels would prove their genius by flipping Newton back into an MVP-level QB. Or that Belichick could use a magical mix of defense and specialty teams to keep the Patriots in the AFC. Neither happened.

Brady, meanwhile, picked a supporting cast he could get the most out of. He recruited some friends like Rob Gronkowski and Antonio Brown to come along. He made the Bucs play better and train better. He urged her to put the finishing touches on the complementary staff.

Brady proved in a LeBron-like manner that he could be as powerful as Belichick with his influence on a team, while reminding everyone that at the age of 43 he could still perform at the GOAT level. What happened in New England grew old in a hurry while Brady was rejuvenated in Tampa Bay.

Former team-mate Danny Amendola went so far as to say that the “Patriot Way” was all about Brady’s game. While this may be a bit extreme, it says something about how many of Brady’s patriots have come out in the past and said they want him to get another ring – almost out of gratitude that they won a lot more because of him .

While the Patriots looked restless with Belichick and without Brady, the buccaneers grew in a rush and became more disciplined with Brady. The Patriots didn’t look like much fun, while Brady, along with Gronkowski, found his youthful joy among the buccaneers.

This is not about this year either, this 10th shot on a ring. Brady may not be helping his new team win the Super Bowl, but he has to return to give the Bucs another championship chance next season. It’s harder to believe that Belichick will come up with quick answers to get his team back to the top of the AFC instead of getting closer to the bottom of the AFC East, and still chasing a QB who can challenge Mahomes – or what Brady still is.

Brady v Belichick was an interesting case, maybe a year ago, when they split. Now that Brady has settled down and the Patriots have been put down, it’s open and closed.

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