You can despise the New England Patriots, their head coach Bill Belichick and QB Tom Brady if you want, but one thing is undeniable — they win. Belichick and Brady are the best NFL head coach-tandem in history. Their 148 wins are the most of all time (since the AFL/NFL merger in 1970), beating out Don Shula and Dan Marino of the Miami Dolphins (116 wins), Chuck Noll and Terry Bradshaw of the Pittsburgh Steelers (107 wins) and Marv Levy and Jim Kelly of the Buffalo Bills (99 wins). Belichick and Brady have played 191 games together, the most for any coach-QB combination. They also boast the highest winning percentage (.771). That’s crazy. They have played more games together than any other tandem (192) and still have the highest winning percentage, at a time when there is supposed to be more parity in the NFL.
As everyone knows, the Patriots selected Brady with the No. 199 overall pick in the 2000 draft. Brady was a relatively unknown QB at that time and he was fourth on the Patriots’ QB depth chart behind starter Drew Bledsoe, John Friesz and Michael Bishop. Brady worked hard and became Bledsoe’s backup by the end of the 2000 (his rookie) season. Then in the second game of the 2001 season, Bledsoe took a vicious hit from New York Jets LB Mo Lewis and ended up having to leave the game. Brady took over as the starter and never looked back. The Patriots won the Super Bowl in that 2001 season and ended up winning three in four years by winning the Super Bowl in the 2003 and 2004 seasons. Before all of the Super Bowl victories, Belichick put his career on the line by staying with Brady even though Patriots owner Robert Kraft considered Bledsoe part of his family and put Belichick on notice, telling him, “I expect you to be accountable for this decision.” It seems to have worked out for both coach and QB.
Belichick and Brady have three Super Bowls in five appearances (and are two ridiculous plays away from winning the two Super Bowl they lost), are 18-8 in the playoffs together and have been to eight conference championships (most of all time).
Don’t even bring up the “what have you done for me lately” question. True, the 2004 season was the last time the Patriots won the Super Bowl, but they have been to two Super Bowls since then (including completing a perfect 16-0 regular season) and came within an eyelash of winning both of those games. They have been to three straight AFC Championship games — three straight. Is it incredibly disappointing for Patriots fans that their team hasn’t won the Super Bowl since the 2004 season? Yes. Does that diminish what the Patriots, Belichick and Brady have done while in New England? No. So many fans and teams (even those who claim they hate Brady and Belichick) would take what the Patriots have accomplished in a heartbeat. What are the biggest reasons the Patriots have been this successful? Belichick and Brady.
Hopefully they can win at least one more Super Bowl before their time in New England eventually comes to end, but even if they don’t, they do not have anything left to prove. They are two of the best ever at what they do and are the best combination in the NFL history.