When we think about some of the NFL’s best coach/QB combos, our minds gravitate to Bill Walsh and Joe Montana, Tom Landry and Roger Staubach, Chuck Noll and Terry Bradshaw or maybe Vince Lombardi and Bart Starr.
When we think about some of the greatest dynasties, our minds gravitate to Alabama Football, Chicago Bulls, Los Angeles Lakers, Boston Celtics, Pittsburgh Steelers or the New York Yankees.
Maybe it is because I grew up watching them and all the old farts who disagree with me would obviously be wrong to do so, but the greatest dynasty is the New England Patriots. The greatest coach/QB combo is none other than Bill Belichick and Tom Freaking Brady, period.
Generally, dynasties in sports will span over the course of five or so years. They run their course within a decade, if that. Of course you have exceptions like the Boston Celtics who won 11 straight championships during the Bill Russell era.
I am sure those eras were great (insert fair noise here). But sports are so much more complex today than they used to be. There are more teams, more players, more technology, more parity and better athletes. Therefore, dynasties aren’t nearly as common place as they used to be. Tell old Uncle Remus to relax about the good ole days. They weren’t that fucking good.
The NFL epitomizes parity more so than most sports. With a strict salary cap burden, teams don’t have the luxury of keeping multiple stars. Nor do the major markets have a stranglehold to hoard the talent.
The Patriots have found a formula to beat the parity. Trade while the player is still a hot target and hoard draft selections and then find new guys to replace them. In other words, strike while the iron is hot so you don’t have to break the bank to keep said player.
Notable Players Traded Away
- LB Jamie Collins for (3rd round pick)
- DE Chandler Jones for (Guard Jonathan Cooper and 2nd Round Pick)
- G Logan Mankins for (Tight End Tim Wright and 4th Round Pick)
- WR Randy Moss and a 7th Round Pick for (3rd Round Pick)
- DE Richard Seymour for (1st Round Pick)
- LB Mike Vrabel and QB Matt Cassel for (2nd Round Pick)
- WR Deion Branch for (1st Round Pick)
- QB Drew Bledsoe for (1st Round Pick)
Over the course of the last 16 years, the Patriots have managed to hold 143 draft selections, which is about an average of 9 per year. Considering there are 7 rounds, they have a little extra to play with.
Now, make no mistake the Patriots will make splashes and go after talent via trades as well. Most of the time, they seem to hit gold with them and the payoff is worth it.
Notable Players Traded For
- (2nd and 7th Round Picks) for WR Wes Welker
- (4th Round Pick) for WR Randy Moss
- (2nd Round Pick) for RB Corey Dillon
- (4th Round Pick) for CB Aqib Talib and a 7th Round Pick
Welker became a stud in New England from day one. From 2007-2012, he failed to reach 110 receptions and 1,100 yards just once (2010).
Randy Moss revived his great career in his first season where he caught 23 touchdown passes (league record). In three seasons with the Pats, he finished with 57 touchdowns and 3,500+ receiving yards. His three seasons were historic, but it was only a matter of time before Moss became Moss again stirring the pot. Belichick eventually traded him to the Vikings and he was cut a month later from Minnesota.
Corey Dillon took a back seat to Rudi Johnson with the Bengals before being traded to the Patriots. He went on to have a career best season with 1,635 rushing yards and 12 touchdowns. Much like Moss, he failed to fall below double digit touchdowns in his three years in New England before hanging up the cleats. He also helped the Patriots win the Super Bowl in 2004.
The Patriots added Talib during the 2012 season after things went south in Tampa due a suspension. In 2013, Talib picked off 4 passes and played in 13 games for the boys of Boston and to some degree revamped his name as a dangerous corner.
The Common Denominator
As I rattle off all these names who came and went from New England, you may ask yourself why is this a true dynasty if they don’t maintain the same players? To answer, they have retained the two most important players of any NFL franchise…the quarterback and the head coach. I know they say defense wins championships. That, much like dear old Uncle Remus’ logic, is as outdated as wallpaper. A great quarterback and coach is the combo for sustainable success and it always has been.
As a head coach, Belichick is measured by the number of games he wins. Belichick has 196 regular season wins over the last 16 seasons. That is an average of over 12 wins per year. That is ridiculous. Then you take into account the playoff success, there is no one better.
Patriots Under Belichick
- 2001 – 11-5 (3-0) – Super Bowl Champions
- 2002 – 9-7 – Missed Playoffs
- 2003 – 14-2 (3-0) Super Bowl Champions
- 2004 – 14-2 (3-0) Super Bowl Champions
- 2005 – 10-6 (1-1) Lost Divisional Round
- 2006 – 12-4 (2-1) Lost AFC Championship
- 2007 – 16-0 (2-1) Lost Super Bowl
- 2008 – 11-5 – Missed Playoffs (Brady missed 15 games)
- 2009 – 10-6 (0-1) Lost Wildcard Round
- 2010 – 14-2 (0-1) Lost Divisional Round
- 2011 – 13-3 (2-1) Lost Super Bowl
- 2012 – 12-4 (1-1) Lost AFC Championship
- 2013 – 12-4 (1-1) Lost AFC Championship
- 2014 – 12-4 (3-0) Super Bowl Champions
- 2015 – 12-4 (1-1) Lost AFC Championship
- 2016 – 14-2 (2-0) Super Bowl TBD
If you are not impressed by what has happened in the last 16 seasons of the Patriots, you are without a doubt a stupid idiot. We are talking about a team who has won their division 14 out of 16 seasons. We are talking about a team who is 7-4 in AFC Championship games, which means 7 Super Bowl appearances in 16 years and 11 AFC Championship appearances in 16 years.
Here is the icing on the cake, they haven’t had one losing season. For God sake, they missed the playoffs with an 11-5 record when Matt Cassel started. That is a statistical anomaly. It has happened only twice in NFL history.
The Evolution of Belichick
The guy is a chameleon when it comes to his game plan. It can change mid-season. It can change week-to-week. He will do what is necessary to win. In doing so, he somehow finds guys who come to New England and just buy in.
The shift of offensive focus year to year is unbelievable.
When they got Moss and Welker, Belichick decided he was going to unleash the magical powers of Tom Brady and it was awesome. They literally just said we are going to throw the hell out of it, try and stop us. They finished 16-0 and went to the Super Bowl. I don’t want to talk about anything after that.
Before Aaron Hernandez decided to you know, kill a man. Fucking idiot. While every other team was looking for outside playmakers, Belichick started running a two tight end system that featured the murderer of man (again, fucking idiot…hope I don’t die for saying that) and the murderer of defenses, GROOOONK! He was building from the inside out. Teams struggled horribly trying to stop it. The league started trying to mimic what the Patriots were doing. You can’t do what the Patriots do, stop it.
Belichick has even used a hurry up approach to keep defenses from substituting and led the league in total plays, points and yards.
Two years later (2014), they went to a slow tempo where they just had long sustaining drives to keep opposing offenses from seeing the field. They finished the season with 39 drives of 10 or more plays.
Belichick changes offenses more than I change my underwear. For the record, that is once per day.
The Mythological God that is Tom Brady
When I look at Tom Brady, I don’t know that he is the most talented or gifted to ever grace a football field. I can rattle off several names who are more talented, guys like Aaron Rodgers, Peyton Manning, Brett Favre. But if there is one thing Brady is, he’s better.
What set Michael Jordan above the rest of the basketball world is the “killer instinct” and a strong desire to win. Brady possesses those same characteristics.
He will do whatever it takes. If that means attacking your defense in the middle, he will do it. If it means throwing 50 times, he will do it. If it means throwing 18, he will do it. In fact, he won his first Super Bowl and threw less than 20 passes.
We are talking about a guy who constantly battled for a starting spot at Michigan. He finished his college career 20-5 as a starter and got no love. When Brady declared for the draft, six QBs were taken over him. He was finally drafted by the Patriots in the sixth round in 2000.
An unfortunate injury to Drew Bledsoe in 2001 turned in to a fortunate opportunity to the guy who will go down as the greatest quarterback of all time.
Brady has the wins. He has the hardware. He has the numbers. It is truly amazing what Brady has accomplished in the 15 seasons he has been a starter (missed one year with injury and didn’t start rookie year). He is currently three regular season wins away from tying the record (186) held by both Peyton Manning and Brett Favre.
Now we don’t know how much longer Brady will stick around, but he is under contract until 2019. If he does in fact play three more years, that means he will have played 20 total seasons (starting 18 of them), all with the Patriots. I can almost guarantee he will own nearly every regular season record.
Brady is currently third in passing yards and touchdowns. The two in front are the same two QBs ahead in wins, Manning and Favre. Brady currently trails Manning by 74 touchdowns and 10,358 yards. That would mean he needs to average 3,500 yards and 24 touchdowns over the next three years. Considering Brady has not dipped below 24 touchdowns since 2006 and he has not had less than 3,500 yards since 2001, homie has that locked.
I want that to sink for all you people drinking the haterade. This man will likely own every major record for a starting QB if he plays out his contract. EVERY SINGLE ONE!
Do I really need to talk about Playoff Brady?
As good as Brady has been in the regular season, he has been that much better in the postseason. If there is any debate about who is the greatest postseason QB ever…allow me to list the records. Again, you’re a moron if you think otherwise.
- Wins – 24
- Super Bowl Appearances – 7
- Tied Super Bowl Wins – 4 (5th is coming in two weeks, take it to the bank)
- Touchdown Passes – 61
- Passing Yards – 8,628
- Super Bowl Career Record for completions, yards and touchdowns
Beyond the Statistics
One of the things I love about Brady is he can make anyone look like an all-pro. While the backbone of the Patriots in the early 2000s was defense, he certainly didn’t have the best receivers to make that offense go. He had Troy Brown, David Patten, David Givens and Deion Branch.
When he finally did get a true number one receiver and go-to-guy (Moss), he set the record for touchdown passes in a season at the time with 50. Moss caught 23 of them (also a record). Brady was a big reason Wes Welker became a household name and a very likely candidate for the Hall of Fame.
In 2016, when his best target in tight end Rob Gronkowski went down earlier this year, that didn’t phase him. He still has old reliable Julian Edelman, Chris Hogan, Danny Amendola and Martellus Bennett. Of course, they got running back Dion Lewis back as a great option out of the backfield. But come on, does that sound like a core who should be averaging 335 pass yards in the postseason? No, it doesn’t.
Trust the system of Brady and Belichick.
They are literally working with a group of white guys, all of which are under 6’2. How many teams have one starting white receiver let alone a whole group of them? Don’t worry, I’ll wait.
The bottom line is it doesn’t matter who he is throwing to, Brady will find ways to win.
Deflategate and Spygate
First and foremost…if you are a Saints or Falcons fan crying about this shit, go home you’re drunk. Bounty gate? Pumping artificial noise into your stadium? That is cheating too.
As the late great Eddie Guerrero said, “if you’re not cheating, you’re not trying.” If you don’t think other NFL teams, college teams or high school teams are bending the rules, you’re living under a rock.
You’re witnessing the greatest dynasty of all time. Drink it in maaaaaaaan!