On Monday, Bayless’ former colleague, Stephen A. Smith, made a similar declaration on ESPN’s “First Take” in wake of Tampa Bay’s NFC Championship Game victory over the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field.
Basically, Smith believes Brady deserved better in New England, where the quarterback’s greatness oftentimes masked Belichick’s missteps as Patriots general manager.
“Tom Brady proved that he deserved far more respect, adulation and deference from Bill Belichick than he received, and gratitude,” Smith said. “Because he disguised Bill Belichick’s deficiency as a GM.
“Not a coach. I’ll never question the greatness of Bill Belichick as a coach. There’s too many responsibilities that come with being a coach, and he didn’t get there to nine Super Bowls and win six by himself. But when you consider that last year you — meaning Tom Brady — had to work with (Jakobi Meyers) and you’ve got N’Keal Harry instead of A.J. Brown and DK Metcalf, and (Belichick) drafted Sony Michel instead of Lamar Jackson. These are some glaringly flagrant errors made by Bill Belichick, the general manager.”
Brady spent 20 seasons with the Patriots, winning six Super Bowl titles alongside Belichick. They formed the greatest quarterback-coach duo in NFL history. Each greatly benefited from the other.
But it’s hard not to wonder as Brady leads the Bucs into Super Bowl LV against the Kansas City Chiefs whether Belichick’s stubbornness ultimately cost the tandem an opportunity to continue their fruitful partnership in New England.
“For me, Tom Brady never departs from New England if he had the personnel in place — the love that he has for (Patriots owner) Robert Kraft and New England and the Foxboro area and what have you,” Smith said. “He never leaves. Never leaves New England if you make sure he has the weapons that he needs. But by not having the weapons that he needed, you had people talking and bringing up ‘the cliff’ and ‘the ravine’ and about how he couldn’t get it done and how he was done and he was over the hill and all of this other stuff. And as a result, he heard all of that noise and he’s like, ‘These people don’t know what the hell I’m working with. I have nothing.’
“If Bill Belichick had given him weapons, Tom Brady would still be in Foxboro and Tampa wouldn’t be going to the Super Bowl for the first time since 2003.”
Brady winning his seventh Super Bowl ring — this time in a different uniform sans Belichick — definitely will be a tough pill for the Patriots to swallow, especially with New England posting a 7-9 record in 2020.