Bill Belichick is one of the most successful coaches in the history of the National Football League. His illustrious career, almost entirely with the New England Patriots, includes six Super Bowl titles, as well as the most postseason wins ever as a head coach (31). His ability to win, an overall 304-139 record with the best win percentage in NFL history (.686), has led many to believe that he may very well be one of the greatest head coaches in the history of football. No coach seems to stand on the same level of overall success as Belichick has. Now entering his 26th season as an NFL head coach, and his 21st with the New England Patriots, many wonder just how many years this Hall of Famer has left in him. At 68 years old, surely retirement has to be in his near future.
Being a New England Patriots fan myself, I feel that my devoted following of this team has led me to a greater understanding of Belichick and his motivations. It has taught me about how badly the guy wants to win, and how badly he wants to be the very best of all time. There has long been one nagging argument that followed Belichick’s immense success: Is he really that good of a coach, or has he only been that good because Tom Brady made him look that way? Brady has been under Belichick’s wing since the very start of his career, back in 2001. Brady was the starting quarterback for the Patriots for all six of Belichick’s championships, and for the majority of Belichick’s historic number of wins (third of all-time). For as much success as Belichick has had, Brady has always been a major contributor to it.
What does this mean for Belichick’s legacy? Is he really that great of a coach, or is he a decent coach with a legendary quarterback? The debate among followers of the sport is endless. Who is more necessary, Belichick or Brady? I feel as though Belichick wants an answer to this question as well. That is why I believe he will coach the New England Patriots as long as Brady is a quarterback in this league. Just this past month, Brady left the Pats for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, which was a move that left Belichick with a new young quarterback in Jarrett Stidham. He has rarely been in a situation without Brady for the majority of his illustrious career, and now has something to prove. He will want to prove that he can shape this young kid into a star quarterback, like Brady. He wants to prove to the organization that he can win without his Hall of Fame help from Brady. He wants to prove to the world that he is among the greats, and that he can continue his winning ways under any circumstances.
Brady, of course, is going to work extremely hard to win without Belichick down in Tampa Bay. He, too, is part of this everlasting debate of true greatness. Both men are extremely competitive and highly driven to win and be the best. Both are going to want to come out on top. The fact of the matter is that Brady is going to be 43 years old by the time the 2020-21 NFL season begins. No matter how talented he is, he can’t keep playing forever. He may only have two or three seasons left in the tank. Belichick, on the other hand, may be able to coach for several years after Brady retires. I could see Belichick moving his career into his 70s. It is his incredible drive to win that keeps him going and motivates him to keep pushing forward. He is going to want to win more championships in order to prove to the world that he is more necessary than Brady was. The dynamic that was once a coexistence is now a heated rivalry, and one that Belichick will surely want to win.
Patriots nation is entering unprecedented times. It has been nearly 20 years since the Brady-Belichick dynasty began. Speaking just for myself, I have never seen a Patriots team without Brady as the starting quarterback. I have long been exposed to the great debate about Belichick versus Brady and who is more necessary to the Patriots’ great success. With Brady now in Florida, it is time for both men to try and prove that they are more necessary. Belichick, a head coaching legend of 25 years, will surely not miss the opportunity to prove himself. As long as Brady stays an active quarterback in the NFL, Belichick will stay the head coach of the New England Patriots. He will do whatever it takes to win, and whatever it takes to be the best. That is what Bill Belichick has always been about.