Did Rex Ryan Make Valid Point About Tom Brady, Bill Belichick?

Was Brady or Belichick the bigger draw in New England?

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It’s been debated all season.

Even more so now that Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are playing in Super Bowl LV, while Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots are sitting at home after an underwhelming 2020 campaign.

Who’s more responsible for the Patriots’ dynasty: Brady or Belichick?

One could argue Brady has settled the argument with his stellar performance as Tampa Bay’s quarterback. But let’s look at the Brady-Belichick connection through a different lens, namely as it relates to the allure of playing for New England, still coached by Belichick.

For years, players across the NFL wanted to play for the Patriots, the league’s most successful franchise. Now, that trend might come to a screeching halt with Brady no longer in New England.

Rex Ryan, former head coach of the New York Jets and Buffalo Bills, argued Sunday before the Bucs’ NFC Championship Game win over the Green Bay Packers that Brady, not Belichick, always was the big draw in Foxboro.

“I just gotta say this: You guys are missing it. Nobody wanted to go to New England to be coached by Bill Belichick. They wanted to play with Tom Brady,” Ryan said on ESPN’s “NFL Countdown.” “I mean, part of it is Belichick, but to play with Tom Brady. Why? That’s why you’re gonna win! And no quarterback was wanting to go to New England, I can assure you that.”

Does Rex have a point?

Brady’s arrival in Tampa Bay sure signaled a positive culture shift for the Bucs organization. Suddenly, the once-lousy franchise became a desirable destination. Call it the TB12 effect.

The question is whether the opposite ultimately will be said for New England, where Brady’s exit leaves Belichick as the team’s primary attraction.

The Patriots’ roster desperately needs a facelift, especially at the quarterback position, and playing for Belichick might not seem as appealing to free agents and potential trade targets as it once did.

Thumbnail photo via Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports Images

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