Winner Of Brady-Belichick Divorce Far From Settled

On second thought. . .maybe Bill Belichick is winning this divorce with Tom Brady after all.

Brady might get Tampa Bay into the playoffs and Belichick might not get New England there, but which one is having the better season? Whose legacy is improving? 

The Patriots will play the Los Angeles Rams tonight, and if they win, they’ll be firmly back in the playoff race. Belichick thought he had a quarterback in Cam Newton, but it turns out Newton can’t throw straight anymore. So it took a few weeks, but Belichick has figured out how to win with what he has. The Patriots have won four of their past five games. They beat the Chargers 45-0 last week, even though Newton threw for just 69 yards.

That seems impossible. 

Brady, meanwhile, has lost three of four. He left Belichick and New England to prove he could stand on his own, which should’ve been warning enough for us. Brady has been universally accepted as the greatest player of all time, yet he still felt underappreciated. We should have been able to figure out that he would come off as a whiny prima donna, blaming everything on everyone else, not shaking hands with opposing quarterbacks who beat him if he doesn’t think they’re at his level.

I mean, Tampa gave him everything he asked for, including Antonio Brown and Rob Gronkowski.

And it’s true that Brady and coach Bruce Arians are not a good fit. Arians likes to push the ball downfield, and Brady isn’t accurate enough throwing deep. Belichick and the Patriot Way protected Brady from that and kept him from having to move much in the pocket. 

Still, I get why Arians has been so critical of Brady. Brady is like a cocky kid who gets everything he wants and then still isn’t happy.

At least Belichick never bothered to pretend to be likable.

To be fair, he has done his share of whining this year, too. A few weeks ago when Brady was crushing him in this divorce, Belichick said on WEEI radio in Boston: “We sold out and won three Super Bowls, played in a fourth and played in an AFC Championship Game. This year, we have less to work with. It’s not an excuse.’’

It was an excuse. His point was that the Patriots, by going for it every year, would inevitably have a comeuppance under the salary cap. That day, he whined, had come. His implication: This isn’t my fault.

But now, Belichick is figuring out how to win with Newton. The Patriot Way is suddenly working again, this time with a quarterback who can run but can’t throw.

The Patriots were 2-5, having lost the GOAT and several defensive players who opted out in fear of COVID. Now they’re 6-6. By contrast, I sit here in Chicago where the Bears started 5-1 and are now 5-7. Matt Nagy, Coach of the Year in 2018, keeps stubbornly sticking to his style and ideas even though they don’t fit his personnel.

That is the coach’s job, to make the most of his players.

A few weeks ago, FoxSports’ Colin Cowherd said Belichick should leave New England, that jobs would be available for him. Of course they would with all those Super Bowls on his resume. But I don’t know. I never even thought of that. It just seems like Belichick is the Patriots, and the Patriots are Belichick.

But if he’s actually willing to leave. . .Chicago is a great town. Of course, we’d take a GOAT in his mid-40s, too.

Written by Greg Couch

Greg earned the 2007 Peter Lisagor Award as the best sports columnist in the Chicagoland area for his work with the Chicago Sun-Times, where he started as a college football writer in 1997 before becoming a general columnist in 2003. He also won a Lisagor in 2016 for his commentary in RollingStone.com and The Guardian.

Couch penned articles and columns for CNN.com/Bleacher Report, AOL Fanhouse, and The Sporting News and contributed as a writer and on-air analyst for FoxSports.com and Fox Sports 1 TV. In his journalistic roles, Couch has covered the grandest stages of tennis from Wimbledon to the Olympics, among numerous national and international sporting spectacles. He also won first place awards from the U.S. Tennis Writers Association for his event coverage and column writing on the sport in 2010.

3 Comments

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  1. Greg, you’d take a GOAT in his mid 40’s too?!? haha! that last line made me laugh. Yeah, Brady and Belichik are both GOATS, but I don’t think Brady would help Chicago. You need the coaching GOAT not the quarterback……But yeah, it is hard to tell who “won” the divorce. I honestly think there are neither winners and nor losers in this divorce. Brady still has a little left in the tank but it was time for Patriots to think about rebuilding. It was just time for each of them to move on.

  2. I never thought of it as a divorce, it was simply time for the Pats to think about the future, and Brady wanted to have a shot with a warm weather NFC team, that decision to join the NFC could still end up being the right one when you consider he’d have to get past the Chiefs to see another Super Bowl if he stayed in New England.

    So Belichick is reloading with a new QB in 2021, he never believed Cam Newton was anything more than a fun stop-gap. Like renting a jet-ski for 30 minutes, you’re far better off renting the jet ski than buying one.

    Coincidently, Arrians’ “Push the ball downfield” approach is the opposite of what the Colts are doing in Indy. They are dink and dunking their way with Rivers, that would be a far better fit for Brady. If anything the Colts need to trust Rivers’ arm more. He and TY were starting to create some real chemistry in the first half against Houston before Reich/Sirianni went back to their “2 yards and a cloud of dust” offense. Let the HOF’er throw it boys. QB’s need to get in rhythm and stay in rhythm. Don’t close down the offense until you are at least 2 scores up in the 4th Quarter.

  3. It’s shocks me that nobody, except Bears’ fans, know how inept the McCaskeys and Ted Phillips are. Unless they are gone from the picture, the cycle will never end. You could have Belichek, and Brady and still be looking up Aaron Rodgers and the Packers from a great distance.

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