The debate about who was more responsible for the Patriots’ dominance — Brady or Belichick — ended pretty quickly when Brady won a Super Bowl in his first season with Tampa Bay. Since Brady left New England, Belichick’s record is an even 24-24, and 0-1 in the playoffs, with that lone postseason game being an embarrassing blowout. Of course, things are never quite that simple, and this coach and quarterback pairing are inextricably linked for those six championships.
That being said, Bill Belichick’s stubbornness is coming back to bite him. His insistence on doing things differently just for the sake of doing them differently has proven to be a mistake, and now he doesn’t have the best quarterback of all time to help hide his shortcomings.
Not naming an offensive coordinator, but rather having two guys put their heads together to try and figure it out has left Mac Jones visibly frustrated. Not only is Belichick employing an offensive coaching system that no other team in the league is using, but he’s doing it with Matt Patricia, who was recently a defensive coordinator, and Joe Judge, who was recently a special teams coordinator. The last time one of these guys was solely an offensive coach was when Patricia was the Patriots’ assistant offensive line coach in 2005. Judge was also the team’s wide receivers coach in 2019 in addition to his special teams coordinator role, but has no other experience as an offensive assistant on his resume.
Many are ready to jump ship on Mac Jones being their quarterback moving forward, but it’s tough to say whether or not he will be a viable starter because he hasn’t really been given a chance to succeed. He’s dropped more F-bombs than dimes on the field this season and it isn’t hard to see why.
Now with their most recent loss, the Patriots are most likely out of playoff contention. In case you’ve been living under a rock, on the last play of a tied game against the Raiders, Patriots running back Rhomandre Stevenson ran a draw play and lateraled to Jakobi Meyers, who then threw it backward to Raiders defender Chandler Jones, who ran it back for the game-winning TD.
Ironically, the Patriots lost to their offensive coordinator from last year, Josh McDaniels, who has otherwise shown himself to be a largely incapable head coach for the Raiders. The last play of that game is justifiably getting all the attention, but it’s also distracting from the fact that Belichick was about to go to overtime against a bad team coached by his former assistant whose seat in Las Vegas has been hot since the minute he sat down.
Both Stevenson and Meyers have said that the call was to run a simple draw play and let the last seconds of regulation run out. Obviously, Belichick didn’t tell any of his players to throw the ball ten yards backward, but it’s difficult to see how a once-in-a-lifetime mistake is anything other than an indictment on the coaching staff.
And now, everyone is asking, “Can you believe a Belichick-coached team did this?” It’s hard to believe that any team would do this, but a team coached by a guy who lost a game because he played Gronk at safety for the final play wouldn’t exactly be low on my list.
The point is that Belichick is not infallible. He is not the keeper of the Xs and Os. He’s a coach who’s imperfect just like any other, but it seems like he’s built up enough of a reputation that no one in the building can challenge him. It wasn’t that long ago that Gronk retired until the opportunity to play for a different team presented itself. Maybe a militant coaching style that makes players want to leave isn’t the best after all.