As we are writing this at the beginning of the week, there is rampant speculation that the Patriots are going to fire Bill Belichick, who undeniably is the greatest football coach of all time.
Yes, he had a great quarterback in Tom Brady, but Belichick’s genius was in taking players such as Brady (who, after all, was the 200th pick in the draft) and turning them into pros who could fill a niche (Teddy Bruschi, Julian Edelman, and Kevin Faulk being prime examples) on his teams. Belichick’s Patriots were a classic case of the sum of the whole being greater than the sum of the parts in much the same way that Red Auerbach, another coaching genius, did for the Celtics.
Belichick’s attention to detail was unparalleled, which explains why he routinely could allow great players to leave — think Lawyer Milloy, Ty Law, Richard Seymour, Vince Wilfork, etc. — and still be able to turn unheralded replacements into top-notch players.
To be sure, Bill Belichick wasn’t perfect — we still have never heard a logical explanation for why he did not play Malcolm Butler in that Super Bowl with Philly — but when you look around at all of the so-called “new wave” of football coaches, there is a lot of mediocrity, and even the best are not in his league. (The only current coach who comes close to Belichick is an old school guy, Andy Reid of Kansas City.)
The Patriots need to rebuild and if there’s anyone who knows how to do that, it is Bill Beliichick (although even he will have a hard time unless the Pats can draft a quarterback who can compete with Ryan Allen, Mahomes, Tua, Joe Burrow, Lamar Jackson, Justin Herbert, and C.J. Stroud).
Our prediction is this: If Belichick goes, whoever is his replacement will last about three years — and the Pats and their fans will realize that there was only one Bill Belichick, the G.O.A.T.