The New England Patriots (led by head coach Bill Belichick) and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (led by quarterback Tom Brady) seemingly are going in opposite directions.
Skip Bayless thinks this is evidence of what he’s always believed to be true: that Brady was more important to the Patriots’ dynasty than Belichick.
“The man is at it again,” Bayless said Tuesday on FS1’s “Undisputed.” “Right before your very eyes, Tom Brady is exposing Bill Belichick for what he is and always was. He was always a pretty good football coach — very good on defense but overall just pretty good.”
It’s unfair to take anything away from either Brady or Belichick based on whatever happens in wake of the former’s departure from New England this past offseason. They formed the greatest QB-coach duo in NFL history, responsible for six Super Bowl titles with the Patriots, and it’s unlikely either would have enjoyed the same amount of success alone.
Still, the optics aren’t great for Belichick right now with the Patriots struggling. And Bayless therefore is using the opportunity to sing Brady’s praises while downplaying Belichick’s greatness.
“When Tom Brady took over that year in 2001 in Week 3, Bill Belichick’s record as a head coach to that point was 41-57. That’s 16 games under .500,” Bayless said. “I’m not saying that’s exactly who he is now, but that gives you a pretty good idea of what Tom Brady did for him.”
The “Patriot Way” long has been the subject of envy, with Belichick and Co. able to shuffle through new players without ever really skipping a beat.
Have those days officially passed? Bayless sure thinks so, largely because Brady no longer is around to keep the good times rolling.
“There is one man in sports I do not bet against, and now I told you going into this year, I definitely am not betting against a Tom Brady who has got his mad on for Bill Belichick, who is driven to prove Bill Belichick wrong. And is he ever off to the races,” Bayless said. “Because he is not only proving that he was by far more valuable than Bill Belichick through those 20 years in New England — I’ve always put 75 percent on it, I’m creeping up toward 80 percent now.
“If you look at what happened, the dynasty was created and sustained in the largest part by Tom Brady, who slowly but surely after taking over as a very young player became the leader, the face of that franchise. I think he became the greatest leader in the history of sports, because he had to become the buffer in that locker room, for really about 18 years, between the players and a Coach Belichick who led the league in negativity toward players.”
This is when we note that we’re only seven weeks into Brady’s first season with the Bucs and that perceptions can change in a hurry, even though it’s abundantly clear where Bayless stands in the debate.