This Former Patriots Rival Wasn’t Suprised Tom Brady-Less Pats Missed Playoffs

'When (Brady) leaves that team, they will not be the same'

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February 18, 2021

While Tom Brady won a Super Bowl in his first season outside New England, the Patriots slumped, enduring their worst season in 20 years and missing the playoffs.

LeSean McCoy wasn’t surprised.

Before he joined Brady in Tampa Bay last summer, McCoy’s NFL career included four seasons with the Buffalo Bills, facing Brady’s former team twice each year as a member of the AFC East. Speaking Wednesday on “The Pat McAfee Show,” the veteran running back said he always predicted the Patriots would struggle once they lost their superstar quarterback.

“Real talk, I played in Buffalo and I would play this dude every year, twice a year,” McCoy told McAfee. “I’d say, ‘When Brady leaves, the Patriots, they will not be as good.’ Everybody talks about (Bill) Belichick — and I respect Belichick, he’s a great coach — but c’mon, let’s stop that. When (Brady) leaves that team, they will not be the same. The guy is different. You feed off of him, his energy.”

The Buccaneers endured some growing pains following Brady’s arrival, losing three home games in four weeks in November and finishing second in the NFC South behind the New Orleans Saints at 11-5.

They found their groove following a Week 12 loss to the Chiefs, however, finishing the season with eight consecutive victories, including three road playoff wins and a resounding 31-9 rout of Kansas City in Super Bowl LV.

The Patriots finished 7-9, their first sub-.500 season since 2000.

“The regular season, he was so serious,” McCoy said of Brady. “And then the playoffs, it was like the Terminator. He was even more serious. And then the championship week, he was even more serious. Like, even the coaches have to be on their A-game because the dude demands so much respect.

“When he’s there, it’s like the championship habits pick up. The championship DNA picks up. And I think when you have a guy like that, you have a chance to win. And I love Belichick, but they’re not the same team without (No.) 12 over there.”

McCoy said he wouldn’t be surprised if Brady, who turns 44 in August, plays “another five years.”

“He’s the only player that I’ve ever been around that, when he speaks, when he talks, I believe him,” he told McAfee. “He could tell me, ‘Shady, go walk on that water. You won’t drown.’ I’m going to be like, ‘OK.’ He has that type of thing about him.”

Thumbnail photo via Robert Hanashiro/USA TODAY Sports Images
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