Brady and Belichick: A lesson for us all
Together, New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and head coach Bill Belichick have enjoyed exceptional success together. Over their 18 years with the New England Patriots, they have won five Super Bowls and have achieved many other astounding accomplishments. Brady is considered by many experts to be the greatest quarterback of all time. Similarly, Coach Belichick’s status as one of the greatest professional football coaches of all time has been established; he is as strong legendary coaches such as Don Shula of the Miami Dolphins and Vince Lombardi of the Green Bay Packers. Belichick and Brady have enjoyed and benefited from their uniquely symbiotic relationship as they strove for success. However, the path for both to reach their respective peaks was uncertain.
Brady, despite completing an excellent career as the quarterback for the University of Michigan, was not a highly sought-after prospect for the National Football League. In the 2001 NFL draft, Brady was picked in the sixth round, 199th overall. Six quarterbacks were chosen ahead of Brady: Chad Pennington, Giovanni Carmazzi, Chris Redman, Tee Martin, Marc Bulger and Spergon Wynn. Although Pennington and Bulger had respectable careers, none approached Brady’s success, even remotely. According to a , together, these six quarterbacks started 191 games and threw 246 touchdown passes. Brady himself has won 207 games and thrown 450 touchdown passes.
Brady began his NFL career as Drew Bledsoe’s backup. In his second year, due to an injury to Bledsoe, Brady took over and began his immediate rise to stardom. With Brady as the starting quarterback in his second year, the Patriots won the AFC East title and upset the favored Los Angeles Rams in Super Bowl XXXVI. This was just the beginning.
During his 19-year career, Brady has won five Super Bowls and 28 playoff games and has thrown for 70,514 yards (approximately 40 miles)! He has been League MVP three times. His records are numerous and he is known for his fiercely competitive nature. Not bad for a sixth-round draft pick!
Bill Belichick grew up surrounded by the game of football. His father was an assistant football coach at the United States Naval Academy, and Belichick became a “student of the game” early on in life. He played football at Wesleyan University and then started his coaching career as an assistant with the Baltimore Colts. He rose to become the defensive coordinator for the New York Giants in the 1980s, leading their ferocious defense featuring Hall of Fame Linebackers Lawrence Taylor and Harry Carson.
However, Belichick’s first experience as a head coach was only mediocre. He spent five seasons as the coach of the Cleveland Browns, with a combined record of 36 wins and 44 losses during this time. Ultimately, Belichick was fired in 1996.
Belichick was given a second chance to be a head coach by Robert Kraft, the owner of the Patriots, who hired Belichick for the 2000 season. In the past 19 years, he has risen to legendary status as a coach. Among his accomplishments are 13 first-place finishes in 19 seasons in the AFC East, 225 wins (an average of nearly 12 per season), a 0.740 regular season winning percentage, and five Super Bowl wins during his time as head coach. His only losing season with the Patriots was his first.
The success enjoyed by Brady and Belichick has been beyond extraordinary. They started out without the fanfare of others who did not ultimately come close to matching their success.