A lot has been made about Tom Brady’s longevity, and deservedly so. But arguably even more impressive has been the New England Patriots’ ability to withstand as a perennial Super Bowl contender.
The Patriots won their first championship in franchise history in the 2001 season and have been on a dynastic run ever since. New England’s success largely has been on the backs of its two stalwarts: Brady and head coach Bill Belichick. The Patriots likely will be in the mix for the Lombardi Trophy as long as the duo remains intact, but Cris Carter believes their reign has a chance to continue even after it breaks apart.
During Monday’s edition of “First Things First” on FOX Sports 1, Carter explained why New England’s championship window will be open as long as Belichick is calling the shots.
“As long as Belichick is coaching football, they’re going to have a good football team out there,” Carter said. “He understands pro football and the way it can be played. No one has the encyclopedia, football information — man, he went back to the 80s and 90s and got that Super Bowl gameplan for the Rams. Sean McVay was like, ‘Where’d that stuff come from?’ No one does it better than him (Belichick) and you give him more time to prepare — which the bye weeks become very important, that’s why they’ve been so effective — yes, it’s going to be open. I believe in his ability to be able to coach even beyond what Tom Brady’s ability is, because I think he can get a team in the playoffs even if they didn’t have Tom Brady. Now, he’s been in this unique window with the G.O.A.T. at quarterback, but they’ve had several different styles. They’ve had all different types of coaches move, all different types of players move. The only constant has been Brady and Belichick, and you’ve seen last year when they couldn’t throw the ball, they went to a more physical attack. Running the football, playing to their defense. He will coach to the roster that he has. So as long as he’s there, I believe the window will be open to win a championship.”
Although it’s a small sample size, there is a bit of evidence suggesting Carter might be correct. A Matt Cassel-led Patriots squad in 2008 collected an 11-5 record, which typically garners a spot in the postseason. Belichick also found a level of success in 2016 with Jimmy Garoppolo and Jacoby Brissett under center, both of whom had little-to-no league experience at the time.
Belichick likely will be the first to tell you he owes a lot of his career successes to Brady. But the Patriots pride themselves on their ability to adapt, and that should be no different when the six-time Super Bowl champion eventually decides to hang ’em up.
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